In April 2009, a modest middle-aged woman from a village in Scotland was catapulted to global fame when the YouTube video of her audition for "Britain's Got Talent" touched the hearts of millions all over the world. From singing karaoke in local pubs to live performance with an eighty-piece orchestra in Japan's legendary Budokan arena and a record ...
In April 2009, a modest middle-aged woman from a village in Scotland was catapulted to global fame when the YouTube video of her audition for "Britain's Got Talent" touched the hearts of millions all over the world. From singing karaoke in local pubs to live performance with an eighty-piece orchestra in Japan's legendary Budokan arena and a record-breaking debut album, Susan Boyle has become an international superstar. This astonishing transformation has not always been easy for Susan, faced with all the trappings of celebrity, but in the whirlwind of attention and expectation, she has always found calm and clarity in music. Susan was born to sing. Now, for the first time, Susan tells the story of her life and the challenges she has struggled to overcome with faith, fortitude and an unfailing sense of humour. 'When I strutted onto the stage for that audition, I was a scared wee lassie, still grieving for my mother, not caring how I looked. I think I've grown up a lot in the last year, become more of a lady, and I'm not so frightened anymore. I'm telling my story to try and show that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, that you shouldn't just look at the label - you must look at the whole person, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. I hope that it will show that dreams are not impossible, if you've got courage and a willingness to go on no matter what the circumstances.'
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I've been a fan of Susan's singing since the first time I saw her on Britain's Got Talent back in 2009. I was really looking forward to reading this book. To say I was disappointed by it, would be an understatement. Read my full review at my new review blog:
Susan Boyle's book 'The Woman I Was Born to Be: My Story' is a wonderful autobigraphy and should disappoint no one who undertakes to read it. That goes for people who are already 'fans' of this incredible singer, people who moderately 'like some of her music but kind of wonder about her personally', anyone who happens to find this woman a bit 'odd', virtually all women, those to whom their Catholic upbringing has lent strength to grinding adversity, anyone at all who was born with so-called 'developmental disorders/learning disabilities' which are really nothing more than the need to learn differently, and also anyone who has undergone a plethora of both childhood school bullying as well as ill treatment later in Life from cruel older youth who 'should have known better'.
In short, it's a story of tremendous courage, unflinching truth in the face of agonizing disappointment time and again, and ultimately, triumph when it was not really expected in the extreme form it took. I laughed hard and teared up many times, because Susan's words are so descriptive that they formed pictures in my brain and I experienced it all as though I were viewing a gripping movie! Once begun, I truly could not put the book down until I was done reading it.
It's not often that I finish a book and begin reading it again immediately, but this is just such a book. Overall, it's a feel-good triumph of the human spirit over tremendous adversity. And I have never recommended that anyone read a book more than I do this one; if ever an autobiography were written which was a lesson in needed empathy virtually made for these troubling ages, this is just such an offering.
Oct 24, 2010
A Must Read!!
Susan's journey is frank, honest, warm, funny, heart-breaking, and triumphant, just like Susan herself. I could not put her book, "The Woman I Was Born To Be", down once I started reading. I felt just like Susan was in a chair next to me herself telling me this story. Her message to never give up on your dreams, your abilities, yourself, and that talent has no expiration date come shining through. Also her determination to never let bullies define you, and if you are bullied to tell someone and not let them get power over you. We have all followed along with Susan from that mind-blowing day of her audiition on BGT, her continued thriumphs throughout the world as she has become a much loved international superstar, yet has remained true to herself and grounded in her roots an beliefs. Susan is one of a kind and what is good in a person. Susan is Susan. Thank God! We've never seen anyone like her, and will not see another in this lifetime. I loved the book and am sure I will reread it. Like Susan's singing, time stands still during this great read!
Oct 22, 2010
A Portrait of Courage
Here at last we have the unadorned true account of how a shy and sheltered Scottish woman was propelled in April 2009, within the space of a few hours, from obscurity to global fame. And even more relevant for the reader, we discover what happened in her life during the first twelve months following this extraordinary event. In this book she has reclaimed her own story - her memories, her heartaches and her hopes - so that it will no longer be open to inventive interpretation by that breed of hack journalist who have until now considered her fair game.
From the beginning, Susan Boyle struggled with a learning disability, caused by oxygen-deprivation during birth. Over-protected by elderly parents and rejected and cruelly bullied by other children, she spent much of her childhood alone, listening to records of her favourite popular singers and practising in her bedroom to be a popstar. Although entering many talent contests, and doing everything possible within her limited means to prepare herself for a professional singing career, it was 48 years before her dream suddenly became reality. We are told here of the challenges which she had to face in pursuing that dream.
After she became well-known, the publicity and the scrutiny were invasive and relentless. The tabloids, which at first had supported her, then viciously turned upon her. Despite the deep hurt and distress which this must have caused to an innocent and sensitive woman who had no experience of the fickleness of the press, she overcame this too by dint of determination and sheer grit. But other obstacles she must face and overcome repeatedly, particularly her personal demon of stage fright, which means that every glorious and triumphant performance is preceded by hours of crippling anxiety.
Today, the "fifteen minutes of fame" originally predicted for Susan Boyle have become eighteen months of success and acclaim, which show no signs of abating. She has performed in concert and on television across the globe and her debut album has sold ten million copies worldwide. Her Christmas album "The Gift" is due out on 9th November, and it is rumoured that this will be followed in early 2011 by a third, more adventurous, album.
The most astonishing thing about this extraordinary book is the honesty and the generosity with which the author is willing to reveal so much of her very soul to the world. The reader will feel that he/she is having an intimate conversation with Susan. Her story is one of deep and steadfast faith in God, together with unprecedented courage, determination, honesty, and self-deprecating good humour. Yes, there is laughter in this book as well as tears. Be prepared for both.
Oct 22, 2010
A Must Read Unforgettable Story
On April 1, 2009, Susan Boyle's 48th birthday came and went without notice. Susan had no money, there was no party, no cards, no anything. It was just another day.
On April 1, 2010 Susan Boyle stood in the Famous Nippon Budokan in Tokyo Japan, in front of an 80 piece orchestra with which she had just sung several songs. She was wearing a diamond and gold bracelet, a gift from Simon Cowell and a beautiful gown designed especially for her. Susan stood there and listened as the 10,000 strong audience sang Happy Birthday while the orchestra played. In the audience were members from her fan site that had travelled from all over the globe just to hear her sing.
The difference a year makes! With humor, humility, wit and great honesty, Susan Boyle shares her incredible journey. The tears and the fears are there - but so too are the joys and the triumphs.
Reading Susan's story, one finally understands how her world was turned so upside down in one brief moment. Instant worldwide fame. The reader can't help but suffer with her as the press beseiges her unrelentingly and then turns on her at the most challenging time in her life - the week leading up to the BGT Final.
In the book, perhaps her former singing teacher and now long-time friend, Fred O'Neil says it best: "Susan Boyle is not an 'ordinary woman'. She is an extraordinary person who's got a different kind of voice and a different personality. She is not like any other person in the world."
I laughed out loud. And I wept. Courage is not being without fear. Courage is being afraid but going on anyway.
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