GET TO THE HEART: My Story by Barbara with George Vecsey Mandrell


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This syrupy, two-dimensional autobiography, written with New York Times sportswriter Vecsey (Coal Miner's Daughter with Loretta Lynn; Martina with Martina Navratilova), will appeal to only the most die-hard fans of gifted country-music singer Mandrell. At the height of her career, Mandrell was almost fatally injured in a car wreck, and her book alternates chapters about her long convalescence with chapters about her life, past and present. She was a child star playing the steel guitar, and she toured for many years on a bus with her family before being accepted into Grand or Opry. We are treated to separate chapters for each of her children, her mother, her father, her grandmother, and her fan club. We are made privy to Mandrell's political opinions--handguns (pro), nuclear weapons (pro), corporal punishment (pro), abortion (anti)--and also to long discussions thanking everybody she knows, including her make-up woman and hair-stylist. Liberal dollops of her fundamentalist religious beliefs are larded throughout the narrative. According to Mandrell, the worst thing she ever did in her life was to use curse words toward the medical personnel in the hospital after her car wreck. Unlike some biographies of country singers, such as Your Cheatin' Heart by Chet Flippo (Hank Williams) or Hellfire by Nick Tosches (Jerry Lee Lewis), in which the subjects are so compellingly human they rise above their profession to universal interest, this book has too much empty mass and too little character content. Those interested in Mandrell would be well advised to appreciate her in her own mÉtier, where she is outstanding--on her records or tapes.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1990
ISBN: 0553292439
Publisher: Bantam