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Book Review: A Natural Woman

Author: Carole King

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, April 2012

Format: Audiobook, Read by the author

Genre: Memoir

My Rating: A

Summary from the publisher:

Carole King takes us from her early beginnings in Brooklyn, to her remarkable success as one of the world’s most acclaimed songwriting and performing talents of all time. A NATURAL WOMAN chronicles King’s extraordinary life, drawing readers into her musical world, including her phenomenally successful #1 album Tapestry, and into her journey as a performer, mother, wife and present-day activist. Deeply personal, King’s long-awaited memoir offers readers a front-row seat to the woman behind the legend.


My thoughts:

This was a wonderfully detailed look at the life of a woman just a little over a year younger than me. As she took me step by step, year by year through her life, she also talked about the culture and history of the time period. (She was born in 1942.)

Of course, the most enjoyable part was her description of the songs she has written. I already knew almost all of the songs. I found myself saying, over and over, “Wow, I didn’t know she wrote that!!”

A couple of things surprised me. For example, did you know that she wrote, and then she and her daughter sang, the theme song for The Gilmore Girls’ show. I had to watch a dvd from my collection just to check it out. It’s amazing!

Carole was unbelievably open and honest about her personal life. Except for the most intimate details, I don’t think she left out a thing. She was careful about sharing too much about her children, which I appreciated. But, she was very open about her four husbands and her boyfriend. No need to read the gossip mags. She tells all in this book.

Although her professional life has been very successful, she was honest about the mistakes she made in her personal life. Most of us get to this stage in our lives and look back and start listing the regrets. Carole refused to call them regrets. She said that practice only brings shame and guilt. Instead, she believes it’s best to learn from those things.

I listened to the audio version of this book. It was a delight to hear Carole King read her writing in her classic Brooklyn accent. Sometimes when she was talking about various songs she would break out into the vocals of the song or, with her voice, give me the rhythm. The audiobook was by far the best way to read this book.

The book includes lots of photos from Carole’s “childhood, her own family, and behind-the-scenes images from her performances.” She talked about the photos but that was the only part missing from the audiobook. Since both versions of the book were in great demand at the library, I found the book at the local bookstore and indulged myself in all the photo memories.

I highly recommend this book in either paper or audio.

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