Monday 1 December 2014

Book ~ "Falling Backwards" (2011) Jann Arden

From Goodreads ~ This long-time darling of the music industry and singer-songwriter of international renown will capture your heart - and keep you in stitches - with her powerful stories about coming of age as an artist and as a human being. 

 Jann's legions of fans are drawn to her sincerity, wit, humour and that infectious sparkle she brings to everything she does. Oh, and did we mention her sense of humour? Jann's natural comedic talents translate seamlessly into her writing, and her dedicated fans will delight in the details of this memoir--where there is no such thing as too much information. 

Readers will learn about how her brother used to steal her maxi pads to repurpose as GI Joe bunk beds and how she once got gum stuck in her hair so badly that when she woke up her head was glued to the pillow. But with the good times come the bad and Jann opens up about the darker side of her so-called prairie-perfect nuclear family and the first signs that her brother was a uniquely troubled young man. Jann's readable prose keeps the reader tuned in as she reminds us of the inestimable value of having a teacher who believes in you, wide-open spaces to play and be a child and a good mother. 

Though I like Jann Arden's music, I was drawn to read her book because of her appearances on the Rick Mercer Report.  I liked her interactions with Rick Mercer and she's seemed like a hoot.  I enjoyed this book and her personality comes through.

Jann tells her story of the family's beginnings in Calgary and her early years there.  The family moved outside Calgary to the country when she was young.  While initially devastated, she quickly adapted by becoming friends with Leonard and Dale who taught her how to shoot a gun and a bow and arrow and they would take rides around the countryside on Snoopy, their big horse.

She tells of trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life.  She realized that she wanted to be a singer and moved to Vancouver to make that happen.  Except it didn't and she ended up working a variety of jobs including busking in a touristy part of Vancouver and on a salmon fishing boat.  Miserable she moved back home a couple years later and eventually made the right connections and became the recording artist she is today.

I liked the writing style ... it was funny and sarcastic.  But it was also honest as she talks about her older brother's problems with the law, her father's alcoholism, the abuse she put herself through as she was trying to find herself, etc.

Jann and I were born the same year so I could relate to a lot of what she talked about.  Like Jann, we thought nothing of riding our bikes wherever we wanted and be gone all day, walking to school on our own, etc.  She tells the story of her mom making lunches for school.  She opened her thermos one day and there was a cooked wiener inside.  Because it had sat in hot water all morning, it was huge.  I can dig it as my mother did that when I was a kid too ... I thought I was the only one!  My mother would also wrap up a bun or a piece of bread with ketchup and mustard to make it a hot dog ... except the ketchup and mustard became glue and I wouldn't be able to pry it apart so I'd eat them separately.

1 comment:

John Mutford said...

I'm glad her sense of humour translated to the page!