A multiplatinum recording artist chronicles her life so far.
When Jewel (A Night Without Armor: Poems, 1999, etc.) first broke onto the scene in 1995, few probably looked upon the golden tresses and ethereal beauty staring back at them from the cover of “Pieces of You” and thought: “hard-assed Alaskan hick.” The cherubic voice on the recording suggested a rarified existence rather than the hardscrabbled reality the author actually endured growing up on the fringes of “the fishing village of Homer, Alaska.” Jewel was the product of an often cruel and dispassionate father and eccentric and absentee mother. Rather than just focusing on her rise as an artist, her career highlights, or music business machinations, Jewel renders an intimate portrait of a young woman who, although immensely talented, has spent her life “surviving and recovering and problem solving since being a toddler.” The autobiography is lushly descriptive, chronicling the author’s earliest days on the old “homestead,” singing in saloons, busking in Mexico, and later living out of broken-down automobiles while trying to make a living in the music business. The author mines her psyche for the benefit of both herself and anyone else embroiled in profound emotional crisis. Without being intrusive, selected lyrics and poems provide further insight into her worldview. Although critical of both parents, the author reserves the lion’s share of her unresolved heartbreak for her mother, who skittered on the periphery of her daughter's autonomous childhood before eventually returning again as the de facto business manager who swiftly plunged the wildly successful singer and songwriter into crushing debt. “I would never get an apology,” she writes. “I would never get a hug. And I would have killed for just a hug.”
A moving musical essay that should strike all the right notes with a wide selection of readers.