Thursday, August 18, 2011

Books I Wouldn't Usually Read VOL I: From This Moment On by Shania Twain

In this, the first edition of Books I Wouldn't Usually Read, I speak to From This Moment On, Shania Twain's autobiography which I (score!) borrowed from the Toronto Public Library

Oh Shania Twain: you're like Canada's Cinderella!

I must confess to having never been a fan of her music; but having been appreciative of her background and the fact that she seemingly remembers her roots.
Truth be told, you aren't going to pick up this autobiography for earth-shattering statements on the state of the world; nor sparkling of literary merit. However, if you, like I, are beguiled by human interest pieces that frame a rags-to-riches journey, then this book is worth a go.

Shania blatantly speaks to the severe poverty her family endured during her formative years. Indeed, this experience fills half of the book ( which is largely devoted to her family, her upbringing and her memories of coldness and malnutrition). The other half is devoted to her role in the music industry and her climb to incredible success. I was more attuned to the steps that led her to the top.

Shania is at her strongest when writing about childhood memories like playing with blades of grass, walking home from school with her siblings in the harsh Canadian winter, or singing for relatives at holidays. Her shards of memory paint a sharp contrast between the life she led as a youngster (descriptions include a maggot-invested basement carpet and her father making mustard sandwiches on account of their being nothing else for the packed school lunches) and the life she leads as one of the most successful recording artists in the world. The sublimely humane recollections of the past help ground her successful future. Though at the opposite end of the social spectrum, her upbringing and the tragic early death of her parents informs even the latter part of her story.

For those hoping that her autobiography will colour in the blanks of her well-publicized divorce and personal love life, I found that Twain wisely stayed minimal when speaking to the circumstances surrounding the break-up of her marriage. We all know that I am not a celebrity gossip girl and one of the greatest attributes of Twain's tale is that it speaks largely to human experience and emotion and doesn't prey as heftily on celebrity.

The book did not contribute to my opinion of Shania Twain as an artist and I must say I am as disinterested in her creative output musically as before. However, like all Canadians, I recognize her contribution to our presence on a national front and as such respect her as an individual--- more so now that I have heard first-hand some of the travails she overcome to fulfill her lifelong passion.


Kailana said...

Oh, I like the template change. :)

I will probably read this at some point. Like you, it isn't so much for the music as what she has contributed to Canada.

Unknown said...

I really want to read this at some point. I have fond memories of enjoying her music - it was part of my "late '90s" soundtrack - but more than that I have been increasingly impressed with how she's handled herself in the public eye. A class act, it seems!