Exactly one week ago, I had the amazing privilege of getting to meet the iconic and Canadian sweetheart, Shania Twain (courtesy of Twitter and Indigo). Might I just say that if you aren’t following @indigogreenroom you’re missing out on great updates about books and contest opportunities, so be sure to head over to Twitter and follow them 😉 Before my review of her book which I spent the majority of this afternoon reading, I thought I’d share with you my brief, but exciting encounter with the talented Shania.
My friend Penny was my partner in crime and we waited about 1.5 hours in line, which was a minor feat compared to some people who had been camped out for over 24 hours. I love Shania as much as the next person, but I don’t know if I could lay out on payment all night to talk to her for 30 seconds. Now if it was Justin Timberlake, there are no boundaries I wouldn’t cross…. I digress. We had our fancy yellow bracelets attached and our copies of her new autobiography “From this Moment On” safely tucked away in our purses to be signed. Once we got closer to Shania, our excitement kept rising and rising. Although they wouldn’t let you have posed photography with her, you were able to take pictures of her while waiting in line right up until the point when you met her in fact. When it came time to meet her, I went first and I panicked as I approached her and didn’t know what to say, so here’s how it went down:
Reeder: “HI!!!!!!!” ~ Picture this being said in the most hyper and scary way you can imagine
Shania: “Hi” ~ Looks up from signing my book slightly terrified and pulls back in fear that I might jump over the table in hopes of getting to know her better
I now know that I’ve scared her and I’ve come off as slightly neurotic, so I feel that I need to explain myself
Reeder: “I’m just really excited”
Shania: “That’s so nice”
Now stumbling over what else to say, I feel that it’s best to introduce my friend
Reeder: “This is my friend Penny”
Shania now kindly talks to Penny. Penny, who is much more normal than I am and says how nice it is to meet her and gets her book signed by Shania and that’s it. It was short, but so exciting and I now have a book signed by her! I’m still on cloud nine about the whole experience! With all the excitement, Penny pulled it together and got a great shot of her (see below)
Shania Twain’s story is the kind of story that is meant to be told. She’s had such an interesting life; however, the majority of her career she has led a very quiet and low key existence when it comes to media attention. However, after being thrust into the spotlight after her husband Mutt Lange and had an affair with her best friend, she had no choice but to have media following her every move. Rather than avoiding the papers like the plague, she decided it would be a cathartic way to let go off the past, by telling her story in the brilliant autobiography “From this Moment On”.
I’m sure many of you have seen her recently on some sort of media outlet, whether it be Oprah, her new show on the OWN network or Ellen, she seems to have an extensive book tour/publicity lineup where she’s forced to discuss her failed marriage, her hate on for her former best friend and her rough upbringing. I’ve seen many of her recent interviews on television and I’m surprised by her candid and raw point of view. I respect it 100%, but it’s quite shocking to hear her be so open about how she feels about custody arrangement and her strong animosity towards her former BFF (understandably so). Her autobiography is no different, it’s filled with a tell-all likeability that makes me respect her more as an artist (and an author in this case) that she’s willing to put everything out there. Especially when it comes to her feelings about her parents abusive relationship. She always pictured her Mother dying by the hands of her Father, who was never violent towards her or her siblings (to an extent). Reading sections in this novel made me cringe and are quite disturbing, however, she makes sure to emphasize that her Father was a loving and caring man and his behavior is a direct reflection of the hard times the Twain gang faced on a daily basis.
She shares her story of trying to make it as an artist, often visiting/living in Toronto from Timmons, Ontario to write and perform music. She’d travel back in the summers to work at her Father’s tree plant to make some money. However, tragedy strikes when both her parents are killed in a car accident that forces her to become a surrogate parent to her younger siblings. The struggle they all face without their parents is many and they lived in a home that required her to have to wash her clothes in a river by the home. Despite the hard times, Eilleen (her real name) is forced to move her family to a location closer to her work, where she performs in a musical theatre/ showgirl performance of sorts. It is while performing at this location that she was discovered and she was miraculously signed by Mercury Nashville Records.
From here, her life really began to transform and as I’m sure you’re all aware, her music and talent needed little explanation. She collaborated in writing and arranging tracks with Mutt Lange (her ex husband) and fell in love, only later to be deceived. The stories of her experiences in Nashville were interesting, but it wasn’t until I hit the last 60 pages of the novel that it really hit its stride in discussing some serious personal details about how her marriage fell apart. She even goes as far to share emails between she and her former best friend Marie-Anne just to prove what kind of snake she really thinks she is. This pages are a clear indication that she was devastated by the betrayal and goes as far as screaming hateful words about her ex friend to find some kind of pain relief. She doesn’t put much blame on her husband at the time, which I find very surprising (and annoying).
All in all, it was a great memoir and it was nice to get to actually hear Shania’s voice and not just in the format of song. She’s a woman that has travelled a long and twisty path, but has overcome horrible blows and has come out of all of it with her head held high (which is what we both observed upon meeting her). I feel like this is a book I’ll be recommending to all my friends that are Shania fans or friends that are looking for a book that takes you on a wild ride with a hopeful and enlightening ending.