Saturday, March 28, 2009

Still Woman Enough (2002)

I just love Loretta Lynn. Her 2002 autobiography, Still Woman Enough a sort-of sequel to the wildly popular Coal Miner's Daughter (1976), is a little silly in the way that all celebrity autobiographies are silly, but Lynn's sincerity shines through and makes this a very readable look into her life.

In Still Woman Enough, Lynn goes back through parts of her life that she wrote about in her first autobiography, picking up stories that she forgot to tell the first time around, and adding details that she didn't feel she could write about before when her mother, husband, and other friends and family were still alive. Lynn then takes us to the point in the movie-version of Coal Miner's Daughter when she and her husband, Doo, "walk off into the sunset" and lets us know what happened after that. Lynn comes off as a women with a lot of love for the people around her, and a huge capacity for forgiveness, particularly for her husband -- often abusive, often drunk, often cheating, but never dropped by Loretta. It's kind of like a country song...

The book is often humorous, telling funny stories about Lynn's family, her celebrity fans, and most of all, Lynn herself, who she often casts as the butt of a "country bumpkin in the big city" joke. When the jokes stop and tragedy begins to hit -- including the drowning death of Lynn's adult son out at their ranch, and the long illness and death of her husband -- Lynn almost falls apart completely, but is held together by her strong will and her good friends.

The folksy diction used throughout the book is occasionally distracting, but if you have ever heard a recording of Loretta Lynn telling a story (like the "Little Red Shoes" track on her 2004 album Van Lear Rose, a story which she also tells in this book), the narrative voice fits right in.

My two criticisms of the book: 1) Loretta Lynn, why do you like the Bush family so much? 2) There should have been more pictures in the middle. Otherwise, this is fun read for anyone who is a fan of this legendary country music star.

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