I WILL SURVIVE by Gloria Gaynor


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 A tired and preachy autobiography from one of the first queens of disco. This is the kind of celebrity autobiography that serious readers have come to dread--the ``become famous, hit bottom, find God'' kind. We're told all about Gaynor's ``dark'' past, which included two abortions, drug use, and marital problems, but all this has become rather trite. Gaynor's tendency toward clichÇ is only compounded by the extremely poor detail that is given about any of these experiences. The abortions are mentioned without anything about the discovery of pregnancy; the drug use seems limited completely to marijuana--rather minor in an age in which cocaine and especially crack have taken a much more serious toll. Gaynor is also unable to turn the camera outward, with her analysis of disco music and its impact on popular music in general limited to a few pages. What hampers this autobiography beyond anything else, however, is Gaynor's relentless proselytizing for her newly found Christianity. While normally a reader might feel happy that a person who had suffered had found solace through religion, Gaynor's endless insistence that only through Jesus can one find salvation is egregiously offensive. Even her own brother, one of two of her siblings to join the Nation of Islam, is depicted in the book as being brushed off by her for rejecting Christianity. How this jibes with Gaynor's admission that her own husband is not yet born again is unclear. All of this, on top of the conversations that she claims to regularly have with God (in which the Almighty is an active participant), seems just a little too crackpot for believability. It's ironic that Gaynor states, ``There's been a lot of interest in a seventies revival in recent years''; if there were not, this book might never have been published. (16 pages photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-16869-1
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1997