Read Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story by Jewel Online


New York Times best-selling poet and multiplatinum singer-songwriter Jewel explores her unconventional upbringing and extraordinary life in an inspirational memoir that covers her childhood, rise to fame, marriage, and motherhood.When Jewel's first album, Pieces of You, topped the charts in 1995, her emotional voice and vulnerable performance were groundbreaking. In the trNew York Times best-selling poet and multiplatinum singer-songwriter Jewel explores her unconventional upbringing and extraordinary life in an inspirational memoir that covers her childhood, rise to fame, marriage, and motherhood.When Jewel's first album, Pieces of You, topped the charts in 1995, her emotional voice and vulnerable performance were groundbreaking. In the tradition of Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell (she has been compared to both), a singer-songwriter of her kind had not emerged in decades. Now, with over 30 million albums sold worldwide, Jewel tells the story of her life and the lessons learned from her experience and her music.Living on a homestead in Alaska, Jewel learned to yodel at age three and joined her parents' act, working in hotels, honky-tonks, and biker bars. Behind a strong-willed and independent family life, with an emphasis on music and artistic talent, was also instability, abuse, and trauma.At age 15 Jewel was accepted into the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where she began writing her own songs as a means of expression. She was 18, homeless, and living out of her car in San Diego when a radio DJ aired a bootleg version of one of her songs. It was requested in the top-10 countdown, something unheard of for an unsigned artist. By age 21, her debut album went multiplatinum.There is so much more to Jewel's story, one complicated by family and financial woes, by crippling fear and insecurity, by parents who forced a child to grow up far too quickly, and by the extraordinary circumstances in which she became a world-famous singer and songwriter. Here Jewel reflects on how she survived and how writing songs, poetry, and prose have saved her life many times over. She writes beautifully about the natural wonders of Alaska, about pain and childhood trauma, and about discovering her own identity years after the entire world had discovered the beauty of her songs....

Title : Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780399174339
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 387 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story Reviews

  • Lucille Zimmerman
    2019-01-20 12:09

    After a best selling author/English teacher said this was the best book she's ever read, I ordered it and devoured in two sittings. I also mailed my hard copy to my twin sister who has been begging me to listen to Jewel for a dozen years. I then ordered another copy on Kindle so I could refer back to it.I'm a Licensed Professional Counselor and mom of two grown children. I found myself alternating between shock and anger most of the first half of the book. I felt so badly for Jewel and her siblings who did not get the kind of parenting they needed. Not only did they miss out on nurture, they experienced physical and emotional abuse. Most people would have turned to drugs, promiscuity, or alcohol. Not Jewel. She was raised in a bar and saw how alcohol poured on top of pain made people worse off, so she turned to her journals. Her written words became songs.Amazingingly Jewel has been able to sort through the parts of her life that were worth keeping. She repaired relationships where she could, acknowledged severe personality disorders in others and let go for her own sanity, valued her rich Alaskan upbringing, etc. She is a perfect example of what researcher/author Brene Brown calls "wholehearted & courageous." In spite of life's pain, Jewel keeps connecting, growing, and making wisdom out of horrible life events.

  • Mahlon
    2019-01-10 06:59

    Jewel has written a deep and revealing book. Part memoir and part self-help manual, Never Broken chronicles her life, and never ending journey of self-discovery. Along the way she relates lessons from her childhood in Alaska, and cautionary tales from her 20 years in the music business. She shares how she overcame an abusive childhood, homelessness, and a bankruptcy brought on by her wacko mothers excessive spending. She also discusses marriage, motherhood, and divorce, and shares the self reflection techniques that have gotten her through each, and have helped her emerge bruised, but never broken. Hard-core fans will really enjoy the audible experience with this title because she uses several of her songs and poems to illustrate lessons she's learned. The occasions where the author chose to go off on a self-reflective tangent were sometimes too long for me, but I think a lot of people will find this book inspiring, and hopefully helpful.

  • Melody
    2019-01-14 11:10

    "We are not in the business of fighting darkness. We are farmers of light."This is quite simply one of the greatest books I have ever read (or listened to, in this case, as I usually do these days with non-fiction if it's read by the author). I was looking forward to it as I do anything Jewel puts out but I feel almost ashamed now to admit that I wasn't expecting anything earth shattering. But the opening simply blew my head open and the feeling never let up for the whole 10hrs+. What a life - what a mind. Jewel turns autobiography into poetry, covering the history of her family, her rise in the music industry and the events that have seen her disappear somewhat from the limelight in fascinating detail. I had no idea about so much of this and haven't been the heaviest of fans when it comes to her music - it's always just been nice to see that she has something new out and there's usually at least a song or two per album that really hits home for me - but reading this (and then revisiting her catalogue afterwards, as I've just begun - I can't believe how long it's been since I listened to Pieces of You…) I felt like the guy in that story about Jesus on the beach and the footprints in the sand… it's like Jewel's been there for me all my adult life, feeding me all this wisdom, teaching me how to feel, often speaking my mind before I knew it myself, and quite often I didn't even know it, and the book just clarified so much about those years and made me feel like I have always been on the right path. I just know that this book is going to help so many people.

  • Allison Barilone
    2019-01-02 09:07

    I remember 1995.I remember hearing Jewel’s voice on the radio for the first time. I was only 8 years old, and I didn’t understand many things: her voice, her words, her songs. I was too young to appreciate the magnitude behind the radio hit “Who Will Save Your Soul,” or why anyone needed to sing about souls in the first place. It was beyond me. But now I understand.I finished her wonderful memoir “Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story” about a week ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it. What’s more, I don’t want to stop thinking about it. This book does not follow the usual “celebrity memoir” trajectory. This book is not your typical…well, anything. In fact, even calling this book a “celebrity memoir” feels wrong because quite frankly, celebrities just aren’t this retrospective or this transparently convenient. They’re not this human.Few books–least of all nonfiction–have this impact on me. This book actually shut off the bothersome noise of the outside world, and brought me to a good place. I took the better part of 5 months to read this book. I am so glad I did, because this manuscript is meant for savoring.This book has so much to offer and reflect upon, I don’t know where to start. I could start with many things: the music, the rough upbringing, the continuing hardships, the poetry, the conquering of fears, the pleasure and pain, all of which find full, satisfying expression in this memoir. After all, these are the reflections of a battered but unbroken soul. But to lay it all out would deny you the pleasure of reading it for yourself. And I want you to have this pleasure.Jewel Kilcher is an amazing artist who has endured more than her fair share of turmoil and tribulation. She puts it all out there in this book, and reveals the truth of her character on every page. She does not wipe away the bad bits or hold back any emotion; she embraces her roots and makes peace with her past so convincingly that you see she’s really the whole person. Not just an entertainer or artist. But someone you might actually know, or want to know. Someone who’s trying and struggling and searching, but never ceasing.Jewel Kilcher is a true creative, and the book discusses every major turning point in her life up until this point, creatively and personally. She covers the good, the bad, the ugly, and does not hide from her imperfections and past mistakes. She flavors this memoir with bits of lyrics and full-length poems that she’s so clearly written from the bottom of her heart. She weaves in motivational sections and chapter titles describing how she’s trying to live her best life and her personal convictions. She inspires with every page. She breaks her life story down with such honesty and grit, how can you walk away not knowing and appreciating this side of Jewel?What I most appreciate about this book is that it’s so very accessible. While it reminds me that she carries many labels (artist, writer, musician, actor, author, etc.), it also reveals the reality of these labels and the life titles that carry so much more weight for her: (daughter, friend, mother, woman, etc.) I think the word I’m looking for is: perspective. Jewel seems to have perspective.I never knew she had it so rough. I never knew she was so complex. I never knew how inspirational her story was. I never knew how much I needed Jewel’s wisdom in my life. Read this book, if you want to learn more about the artist, the woman, the human. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Louise
    2019-01-24 11:01

    Jewel tells her story. Parts are painful to read. Fortunately, when you are a child, you are too short on experience to know how bad it is or its implications. The problems come later. Many either perpetuate the cycle or live with demons. Jewel shows how she has dealt with emotional and physical abuse in this memoir that can be very helpful for others.Despite the abuse and the cold, Jewel had her talent. She also had performance experience, an extended family and the support of the town of Homer. Later encouragement came from faculty at Interlochen and then from big named stars who supported her work and/or gave her encouragement when she needed it. She guided her career in a way that was right for her. She had to make tough decisions along the way and she made them. She made the most impossible rise. The writing is simple and from the heart. She says what up to now I have never seen in print: not all parents (in this case a mother, for whom there is a lot of contrary mythology) love their children. She shares her poetry. There are a lot of photos. No index.The publication of this book made me realize that Jewel is the daughter of Atz Kilcher of the Alaskan reality show. I knew this was a very large extended family, but never considered the connection.

  • Christopher
    2019-01-07 07:01

    In her memoir, as in her songwriting, Jewel is an excellent storyteller, with a gift for finely drawn characters and for weaving her own worldview into the narrative. Towards the end of NEVER BROKEN, however, the life lessons and motivational self-helpisms (which up to this point had been organically integrated into her prose) take over, and the book suffers for it.The writing of this book was clearly therapeutic for Jewel, and the well-disseminated stories about her youth in the Alaskan wilderness and time spent living out of her car in San Diego are made newly compelling in her retelling, elaborating, and contextualizing of them. She's selectively vague at times however, especially when discussing the dissolution of her marriage to Ty Murray, which makes the final stretch of the book a bit frustrating. It's a must-read for fans, but the recapitulation and reassertion of motivational platitudes -- even though they are well intentioned and clearly worked for her -- cheapens the book a bit in my eyes; Jewel's story is sufficiently compelling, and inspirational, on its own.

  • Heather H.
    2018-12-30 06:02

    I'm usually not always compelled to write reviews on this site, but this book struck a chord with me that I didn't expect it to. I originally picked it up because when I was growing up, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing a Jewel song. I was curious about her life, and while I knew some of her story, I didn't quite realize the extent of just how hard she worked to get where she is. Never Broken is honest and open in a way that I only wish I could convey. My only issue was that sometimes the stories got a little redundant for me, but otherwise, this book is one of the most honest I've read in a long time.

  • Suzie Shatarevyan
    2019-01-22 08:19

    I was in high school when Jewel's first album came out and it was my first CD purchase. I listened to her music on repeat. I also bought sheet music and played her songs on the piano. So I picked out this title because I've been a fan of her music. After reading her memoir, I love her even more. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this book. She's open, raw, vulnerable and honest. I'm amazed at her ability to survive so much hardship yet thrive. She's pure love. And that love is her weapon. I recommend this book highly!

  • Christina
    2018-12-24 07:07

    This is a beneficent cleansing for the singer-songwriter it seems.Jewel is clear: she chose not to drink alcohol or use street drugs. I get the image of tentacles: of other people hooking into the singer to grab her and use her for their own purposes.Jewel took her life into her own hands. Her self-confessional voice might rub other readers the wrong way. Yet I was taken by her honesty and courage in recounting her backwards childhood. We must remember that she writes with the clarity of an adult looking in the rear-view mirror of what happened: with the confident eye of a woman visualizing a vulnerable girl.Simply reading the foreword should prompt you to buy the book, for it gives hope to those of us scaled over in pain. You see: Jewel–a multi-million selling artist; a blonde girl that gets attacked because she’s blonde–lived in pain.This is a different kind of memoir though–it transcends her misery. The motto she gives us all could be: tune in to your feelings. Turn on your gifts to use them to heal.Most of all:Where you’ve been doesn’t have to be where you remain.Kudos, Jewel!

  • Linda
    2019-01-02 08:07

    "Reality TV" impession of circumstances and experiencesReading this book was a challenge. I hate to buy something and abandon it . I slogged through it hoping to find redeemming content. There is none. Just another episode of the current trend of tv reality shows Alaskan style. Look at me....look at me...... Just not believeable. I really wanted this book to be a great read. Just too many unrealistic happenings.......always some hero steps in to save the day. Even stories of possible stress related kleptomania were over the top. Jewel did not steal one bathing suit......she took four. Every instance was over the top. Sour grapes here? I don't want to complain just sharing my personal thoughts on my interpretation of this book.

  • Erika
    2019-01-03 10:17

    You don't have to be a fan of Jewel's music to appreciate this beautifully written memoir. I was fascinated by her childhood stories of growing up homesteading in Alaska. She has had an amazing life full of adventures- the good, the bad, and the ugly, which she shares so poetically. I am a fan of her folk albums Pieces of You and Spirit so I loved reading about how those albums came to be and the meaning behind many of the songs. I took a musical journey stopping after each chapter to listen to the songs mentioned and found a new respect for many of them. I would recommend doing that for anyone reading this book. I found that I share many of the same life philosophies with Jewel- the power of positive thought, the importance of practicing gratitude, the healing powers of nature, treating others the way you want to be treated, and the belief that we each control our own happiness. One of the best books I read this year!

  • Sue K H
    2019-01-05 05:11

    3.5 Stars. I don't usually give autobiography and memoirs more than three stars. They just aren't my favorite thing. I liked this one a lot. I was drawn by the good reviews and the fact that I've seen Jewel live and heard parts of her story at her shows. She had talked about being homeless for a bit but I had no idea how much hardship she really went through. What an amazing women. This book was very well written. It chronicles her life of poverty, abuse and emotional neglect, and her journey towards learning to love herself and forgive others enough to become a parent who brakes the cycle. I listened to the audio book and there are parts were she sings her songs. Some of her song lyrics are scattered through in a way that you see exactly how she came up with them. It's really beautiful.

  • Ashley Scott
    2018-12-28 11:22

    "It is a great fallacy to operate under the illusion that there is not enough love and so we must hoard, hang on, or somehow administer it like a limited resource. Giving love is not about the worthiness of the receiver. It's about the truth you wish to live by." In no big surprise, Jewel continues to rule the world. I am so impressed and humbled by her honesty, courage, tenacity, and hardworking spirit. I read this book so slowly, and purposely so - I really wanted to soak in all that she had to share. Her ideas about personal enlightenment and growth are unparalleled, and her life story is fascinating. 5 very well deserved stars.

  • Sonia Reppe
    2019-01-20 06:56

    This was given to me by Penguin and I don't know if I would have picked this up on my own but I'm glad it fell into my hands because it was really good. Jewel's mom is wacko! That was interesting, but also sad. Jewel is very introspective and I admit I didn't read all of the poems, but since I own the book I could go back and read them at any time.

  • Robin
    2019-01-18 11:12

    3.5 starsI enjoyed her story on what she went through to become a well-known singer/songwriter but the detailed self-examination and introspection sections were not quite my cups of tea. However, do read it if the self-help aspects of this appeal and you want to know more about the obstacles Jewel overcame. It would also be best in audio format as the narrator is the author.

  • Rachel
    2019-01-11 05:04

    Wow. Well, if there's any way to dive into memoir reading (or listening), why. It with your first "idol"? Maybe the proper phrase would be "role model," and after this book, I feel like Jewel can be as much of a role model to me in adulthood as she was when I was a teenager.She chooses to write her memoir at 40, 20 years into a music career that seems to have reached an even keel, shortly after the birth of her son and divorce from her husband. The book is, in large part, inspirational and motivational, and it's also a largely linear accounting of her life, from early childhood onward. Honestly, I feel like I should read it again, and with fewer breaks, to get the entire feel. But it really got to me, too. I found myself listening to her full albums for the first time in years. I also texted my mother about her latest album, which is a return to folk and a sort of play-on-words/full circle with her first one from 1995.I'm sure I can't call myself an "everyday angel," one of her hardcore fans that got her career off the ground and stuck with her (I sort of bowed out pre-country, after "Goodbye Alice in Wonderland," a painstaking song she wrote about the disillusion of her relationship with her mother). But I still call Jewel my favorite singer. I remember, back in the mid-90s, waiting for "Who Will Save Your Soul?" and her other early music to come on the radio. It's some of the first contemporary music I listened to as a teen, branching out from my mother's taste, I think. When I was in 8th grade, I remember coming home and laying with my mom on my bed, listening to "Foolish Games" on my oh-so-90s stereo system. I also listened to Jewel and similar artists to calm myself during exam weeks, carting my CD cases and turquoise player to school."Barcelona," a lesser-known number from her second album, "Spirit," is still my favorite song to date. I hoped without expecting it that she might explain some of the inspiration behind that one, like she did with many others I grew up with. Hearing something in lurid detail is so much more amazing than vaguely knowing it offhand; I knew, for example, that she wrote "Who Will Save Your Soul?" after hitchhiking to Mexico in high school, but now she went through all of the specific interactions. I'm always in awe of memoir writers, for how much they remember.Jewel narrated her audiobook and even sang some of her songs, as well as read them like poetry. I'm also partial to the inflection she used when she got to meeting Bob Dylan. :p. Her life is almost too bizarre to believe, from growing up without plumbing in a homestead in Alaska, to talking, briefly, with Tupac, weeks before his death. A real rags to riches phenomenon, and sometimes, it feels like she saw herself as a little too unique. To be fair, not everyone could fund tuition to a prestigious arts high school by organizing a concert for their hometown, and even fewer people could break into the entertainment biz. Jewel has this sense of herself in the '90s as a rare artist who wasn't cynical and into grunge, but then she also mentioned similar contemporaries--other of my favorite artists, though I wasn't trying to curate my tastes at the time--Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Sheryl Crow. She also referenced herself as generally inspired/thought to be the next generation of the Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell ilk, two of my mother's favorites.Like many young women, I'm somewhat centered on my relationship with my mother, and I privately credit Jewel for playing a large part. My mom and I, I believe, have similar outlooks on life and core goals that we strive for, but specifically, we don't have much in common. Judaism and female folk music is my usual fallback, and that's why I cherished sharing Jewel's music with her. I think that played a role into how moved, negatively, I was by Jewel's tumultuous relationship with her own mother. Although Jewel faced a lot of physical and emotional abuse in her life, particularly from her father with whom she now has a good relationship, it was that final meeting with her mom that had me in tears. And it's something I knew was coming, maybe even the most melodramatic and repetitive foreshadowing in the book. But I guess if someone had such a huge impact on your life for so long, you tend to focus on her and the mental exercises of what the hell happened there.There's a lot of valuable lessons in this book, but I think the one that stuck with me the most was something Jewel first picked up as a child when riding her horse and looking to nature for release--hardwood grows slowly. It means not to take the quick fixes in life, and to make choices that support long term sustainability. It's how Jewel claims to have lived her life--from suffering PTSD as a teenager, all the way to her exploding celebrity as a folk singer.There's also so many beautiful descriptions in here, particularly of Alaska's physical beauty, that belies Jewel's talent as a poet. She's even more multi varied than I thought--apparently, in high school, she took sculpting and other art classes, and she took to feeling people's noses for inspiration. :p. She was also well read as a teen, and took as her own role models such varied voices as Plato to Flannery O'Connor. I loved hearing her brief, literary commentary. There's just so much in here that it's a little overwhelming. But I step away from this memoir, named for some lyrics in her popular song, "Hands," and I feel moved by a complex, multi-layered person, striving for meaning. Though our lives are very different, that's always what I took from her songs, too.

  • Jamie T
    2019-01-10 06:15

    This might just be one of my favorite books. Jewel is a simple girl with a deep big heart. I followed her music when she first came out years ago. I felt a connection to her lyrics, as most people do... I grew to love her. Years later I was floored when I realized that the Alaskan family I had fallen in love with on TV was her family! I recently saw her in concert for her handmade tour and the peace, elegance, grace and fire Jewel carries with her is contagious. My husband bought her book for me at the concert ( I didn't even know she had a book).. and I was hooked. I hated when I had to put it down to tend to "life".Jewel is a fantastic singer, writer, mother and lover. I found myself highlighting parts of the book that I wanted to be able to find quickly. This book is full of tender emotion, and of course - "grit"

  • Olivia
    2019-01-23 04:02

    Must read this in audio! Please do yourself a favor and do not read the actual book, but listen to it on audible or CD or download.Jewel recites the book exactly was it was meant to be heard when she wrote it, she also sings some of her songs in certain chapters. The whole book feels more like an intimate conversation than a read. I loved it.The stories of her youth were by far, the most interesting part of the book. I could relate to much of what she went through, since I also grew up very poor, only lived with my mom for a few years of my life, and experienced homelessness (though I was in 6th grade, while Jewel was in her teens). Her struggles as a child and going into early adulthood were thoroughly fascinating. But it was difficult to read about what her mother did to her. Seriously. What an awful disgusting person. There are, as others mentioned, some self-helpy passages in the book. But I didn't really mind it, something about her delivery and rhythm made it pleasant.In high school Jewel was my favorite artist. I read her book of poems so many times, I had some of them burned to memory. Her songs and poetry played such a big part of my life during my high school years, so when she came out with this book I was intrigued, but had no expectations (since I hadn't heard a song from her in over a decade). I realized within the very first chapter that it was like becoming acquainted again with a long lost friend.

  • Decomposing Jaime
    2018-12-24 03:56

    When I chose this book I was expecting an autobiography about a woman I admire. What I got was scattered pieces of her story and a whole lot of nonsensical preaching. It was torture to finish it. I gave it two stars for two reasons and neither have anything to do with the writing of this book. 1- Jewel's story of overcoming her childhood is an inspiring one, no matter how poorly written. 2- I respect her as an artist. She is a phenomenally talented poet and song writer. This format, however, did not work for her. The book was vague on details that were important and then would get lost down rabbit holes. Most annoying was the over abundance of advice. I wasn't interested in a self help book. With some more edits, I believe she could have condensed this ten hour story into a highly enjoyable and inspiring sixty minutes. As it is, it's torture.

  • Amy
    2018-12-27 10:13

    I really enjoyed listening to the audio version of this book. I'm not sure I would've enjoyed reading it as much as listening to it.Jewel narrates the audio version & her voice is soooo soothing & relaxing. She would be a great narrator for guided meditations. I appreciated the sections where she sings her songs rather than just reading the lyrics.This woman has done the hard work that leads to personal growth.She's reflective, introspective & attuned...and as a result...she's aware of her flaws and tries to be a better person & grow in positive directions each day.She understands how important and necessary an attitude of gratitude & personal responsibility are to truly being a happy person.Plus...she's a fan of Loretta Lynn & Brene Brown...which is only further evidence that she's on the right path to enlightenment. ;-)

  • Tiffany
    2019-01-06 06:18

    This was unexpected.. This book delves into a forty year journey of adventure, life, abuses, neglect in such an interesting way. Instead of focusing on the actual abuse , neglect, etc. Jewel sets her reader on the path of healing with her and the deep emotional changes required. This reads part memoir/part self-help, while remaining extremely gracious to everyone who ever hurt her and there was a sense of not wanting to rehash the past but face it briefly in order to write about it so that she could expand upon the philosophies and tools gained that she could overcome those hurts. Impressive life and impressive writing.

  • Jay Schutt
    2018-12-31 04:20

    Jewel is my favorite performer of them all, so my 5 star rating is a little biased that way. I should really have rated her memoir 4.5 stars. She did an excellent job of pouring out her heart and soul into her life story (5 stars), but she went a little overboard on her ideas as to overcome some of her hardships -which were many- and relate that to our everyday life situations (4 stars). I have seen Jewel 10 times in concert and met her once personally and thought I knew her story, but she really went in depth to give us the real story behind her courageous and incredible career.

  • Susan
    2019-01-07 07:18

    I was able to listen to this book as an audiotape, and would say that is the best way to experience her story. Jewel herself narrates, and at times even sings, which for a fan of hers was a huge treat. I knew very little about her personal life, and am left in shock and awe of what she managed to accomplish. This is a book for fans of Jewel and also for anyone looking for a new start or new inspiration.

  • Laura
    2019-01-12 04:19

    Jewel is of course an amazing storyteller and poet. This book is like her songs: honest, funny, and emotional. She had a rough go of it early in life and worked hard to become a self-made musician. She is wise and will give you the confidence to live your own life in a sincere and open-minded way. Preach on, woman.

  • Kara
    2018-12-29 11:09

    Maybe because i'm a 90s child or maybe because i'm getting in touch with my inner-Jewel or maybe because i watch too much alaska the last frontier, but i really, really liked this. i would almost buy it so i can highlight and have it to refer to often.

  • BookChic Club
    2018-12-26 06:09

    It's no surprise that Jewel would write an extremely well-written memoir, but it's so much more than that- poignant, emotional, inspirational, funny at times, and so very insightful. This is definitely one of the best celebrity memoirs out there to read, and one of the best books period.

  • Samantha
    2019-01-20 11:58

    Honest and raw - a true gem of a book.

  • Darlena
    2019-01-15 08:19

    An inspiration to allBest autobiography ever read. Jewel inspires us to be better people. Enjoyed the audio/video included throughout the book. 10 stars **********

  • Stephanie A.
    2018-12-24 06:18

    Jewel was one of my earliest favorite singers, and forms a cornerstone of the musical foundation I built on female singer-songwriters that stands to this day. Our paths diverged around 2006 when she switched to country, and from that point on I was only ever able to find a maximum of 4 songs I liked on any given album, but I've still held her in high esteem. So her life story to age 40? Amazing. She has enough adventures and wild life plot twists by age 18 alone to qualify as a book in their own right, but I'm glad we got to come along on the story of her whole musical career as well. I'm sure I've read plenty of articles about her roots and her career in my lifetime, but I've never really had a full and complete picture of how it all came together and played out. The best parts are when she, not infrequently, references what inspired certain songs or lyrics. I didn't recognize all of them, but I'm definitely more motivated to give some of her more recent stuff another try. Honestly, her life is so fascinating that at one point I spent at least half an hour telling my mom stories from it, even though her knowledge of Jewel is limited to "I bought you some of her CDs, right?" and "She has that one song Hands, and what else?" For instance, how she refused to accept that artists in coffee shops don't get to keep the door money and found a coffee shop where she could, building a following from there that eventually led to her being on the radio. Or the part about how she ended up on non-speaking terms with her unbelievably self absorbed and manipulative mother -- heartbreaking, but not as heartbreaking as when you go back and read the liner notes on "Spirit," which includes a thank you to "my mom and manager...who is also my mentor and best friend." Goodbye Alice in Wonderland has always been a favorite song of mine, but viewing it in this context takes it to a whole new plane of heartbreak.I wish I had been close enough to a computer to do status updates as I read; I probably would have flagged 40 parts. I still kind of want a copy that I can take a highlighter to. Other random things that were news to me: she had a role in an Ang Lee Western I've never heard of all the way back in the 90s, and the song "Emily" (which I've loved for years as a stray MP3 with no idea where it came from) was written for a Sean Penn movie. Per his personal request. I also loved reading her reasoning for making the dance-pop album "0304." And I paid little attention to Ty Murray beyond "hey cool, he's a cowboy," so it was sweet to read how all that started and developed.The book does take an inevitable downturn, because they got divorced, and the closer I got to the end the more I kept turning away like a shying horse, asking if it would still count as reading the book if I just never actually acknowledged it happening. I powered through, hoping I would come away better understanding of why something would fail after so much time. I'm not sure I do, but I appreciate her willingness to explore it beyond a pat "we are Different now; please respect our privacy" press release, and appreciate even more the fact that she doesn't dig too deep into the gritty details.In sum: while there are parts that get a little repetitive with their self-help-book tone, especially toward the end, this is a better bio than I could have dreamed of. More importantly, it did not disillusion me whatsoever about my musical idol. Jewel music is currently master and commander of my car and computer playlists, and I swear I'm finding new ways to love her first four albums all over again, even though I've been listening to most of them for over half my life. Because she's wonderful, and so is this book.

  • Behrooz Parhami
    2019-01-09 05:21

    This is the first audiobook I borrowed through OverDrive, the mobile app that links to my local library and allows me to check out books virtually. I recommend the app, which links to many local libraries. The user interface, however, needs improvement, as it is quite confusing and requires many functionally redundant steps. Perhaps it will improve in time. I was given 20 days to listen to the audiobook, and I did so on my cell phone, usually while walking to or from work. I can put holds on books that are not available to check out and I am notified when the book becomes available (libraries can loan out only the number of copies for which they have purchased licenses, similar to buying a certain number of hard copies).The following sentiment from the book (not an exact quote) explains the title: You can’t break someone’s spirit any more than you can break water. If our spirit seems broken, it’s because we consider it broken, not because it actually is. This is the sense in which Jewel considers herself not broken.To say that singer/songwriter Jewel Kilcher, a native of Alaska, had a difficult childhood would be an understatement. Her father was a musician with an explosive temper, who had a large repertoire of classic pop tunes he covered in style. He also wrote original songs on occasion. Her mother sang with the band. When Jewel’s parents divorced, her mom moved out and the kids were left with her father, who did his best to raise them, his emotional volatility (a result of his own very difficult childhood, which led him to routinely hit the kids) notwithstanding. At 8, Jewel found herself filling in for her absent mother, singing with the band. She sang tunes from Elvis, The Beatles, and other artists, never having heard them perform the original versions. Her point of reference was her father’s version of the tunes. She identified with the songs and found them interesting, without being concerned with the artists who wrote or performed them. Jewel never had a normal childhood. She began working and writing songs at a young age and by 21, she was a well-known singer with her first album going multi-platinum.The hardships she endured to attend a prestigious art-academy high school put her through some tough tests, but also increased her resolve to develop her talent and improve her skills. She was homeless for much of her youth, improvising to get by, even as she began to perform on stage. She loved her parents, but was not very close to her mother, who abandoned her as a child, but later returned to her life as a manager. Jewel used songwriting, poetry, and prose as refuges that would help her survive.Jewel drew inspiration for her songs from famous writers more than from songwriters. This might explain the poetic and inspirational tone of her book. It has the potential of helping many people who suffer from self-doubt, and is a good read/listen for all others as well. Several reviewers, who previously saw Jewel as a light-weight, admit to having been won over by this book.