A wild and witty musical memoir.

OFF THE CHARTS

WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY ALMOST FABULOUS LIFE IN MUSIC

Successful Canadian singer/songwriter Goldman offers a behind-the-scenes look at her life in the music industry.

The author has four albums, three Nashville competition wins, and 12 song placements in TV shows and movies under her belt, so she knows the ups and downs of the music industry—and what’s required to be a true “lifer” in the business. Goldman traces her career from her modest beginnings as a teenage singer in a Grateful Dead cover band to her songwriting successes in Toronto and New York City. She also tells the story behind her most popular 2002 song, “Annabel,” which was inspired by the memory of her grandmother, who died in 1997. Goldman’s narrative serves as a lively and entertaining compendium of music industry wisdom, with chapters featuring Goldman’s guidance on relevant topics, such as “How to Schmooze,” “Be Prepared to Improvise,” and “How Do You Know When You’ve Made It?” The author draws upon her personal journey in a relatable and heartfelt manner, and her anecdotes will educate and entertain readers in equal measure. She grounds her triumphs and tragedies in real-world advice to help readers navigate the complexities of an often mysterious industry. Goldman also pulls no punches regarding career disappointments, the pressure to succeed, and sexism in the music industry. However, readers will find hope in the example of Goldman’s success, which she achieved, in part, by being true to herself. Although the work has moments of gravity, Goldman also offers plenty of lighthearted humor: “Never mock a member of your audience…don’t yell, ‘Nice hairdo!’ at someone, I learned.” Overall, this is an excellent read for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of the music business, with advice on everything from songwriting to promotion, but it’s also an engaging narrative about self-definition and inner strength. Lively, music-themed black-and-white illustrations by Berkson are also included.

A wild and witty musical memoir.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-989555-32-3

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Sutherland House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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