Monday 30 November 2020

Book ~ "If I Knew Then: Finding Wisdom in Failure and Power in Aging" (2020) Jann Arden

From Goodreads ~ Digging deep into her strengths, her failures and her losses, Jann Arden brings us an inspiring account of how she has surprised herself, in her fifties, by at last becoming completely her own person. Like many women, it took Jann a long time to realize that trying to be pleasing and likeable and beautiful in the eyes of others was a loser's game. Letting it rip, and damning the consequences, is not only liberating, it's a hell of a lot of fun: "Being the age I am - that so many women are  - is just the best time of my life."

Jann weaves her own story together with tales of her mother, grandmother and great grandmother, and the father she came close to hating, to show her younger self - and all of us - that fear and avoidance is no way to live. "What I'm thinking about now aren't all the ways I can try to hang on to my youth or all the seconds ticking by in some kind of morbid countdown to death," she writes, "but rather how I keep becoming someone I always hoped I could be. If I'm lucky one day a very old face will look back at me from the mirror, a face I once shied away from. I will love that old woman ferociously, because she has finally figured out how to live a life of purpose - not in spite of but because of all her mistakes and failures." 

Jann Arden is Canadian singer, songwriter, broadcaster, actor and author, who is now in her late 50s.  Her parents passed away in the last five years ... her father spent years being ill, including dementia, and her mother battled Alzheimer's.  

Jann talks about her family dynamic including the difficult relationship she had with her father, who was an alcoholic and not a happy man.  She loved her mother, who stayed and took care of her father for over 60 years.  Jann tells of the lessons she has learned over the years, of not being happy with her body but being more at peace with it as she gets older, of giving up alcohol and liking the person she has become without it, and how the crazy childhood she had of hiding in the basement to escape her father led her to become a musician because in the dreary basement she had records to keep her company.

This is the third book of Jann's I've read and I liked it.  Her personality comes through and I felt like she was sitting with me and chatting. I liked the writing style ... it was amusing at times and honest.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

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