FINDING MY VOICE by Diane Rehm

FINDING MY VOICE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A fetching, straightforward account of the struggles and successes of a respected radio personality. Rehm, host of an eponymous National Public Radio show, offers an intimate look into her childhood, marriage, career, and battle with a rare neurological disorder that has affected her speech and thus nearly destroyed her career. Scarred by a vitriolic mother who disciplined her both physically and with icy silence, Rehm suffered from low self-esteem and guilt. Raised in a traditional Arab-American household to be a dutiful mother and wife, she broke out of a brief, disappointing marriage and sought more independence in a second one. Motherhood besieged her with loneliness and overwhelming responsibility. While her husband was absorbed in his State Department work, Rehm found solace in playing the piano, sewing, and gardening. It was only when she volunteered at a local radio station that she blossomed and filled the intellectual void in her life. Eventually landing a job as a talk-show host, Rehm both found her voice and got to interview major figures like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Carl Sagan. Ironically, at the height of her career, she had to flit from doctor to doctor desperately seeking to identify the mysterious affliction ruining her voice. When it was finally diagnosed and treated, heroic rehabilitation work was required. Returning to host her show after months of absence, Rehm became a national spokesperson for spasmodic dysphonia, contending that her disability has given added meaning to her life. Now 62, she anticipates that an aging population “will welcome more mature voices on the air.” Though Rehm attributes her present emotional well-being and professional success largely to years of therapy, credit must be given to her sheer determination and intellectual vigor, readily evident here. Told with honesty and simplicity. An articulate and inspirational travelogue of one woman’s remarkable journey. (8 pages photos) (First printing of 50,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1999
ISBN: 0-375-40163-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1999




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