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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

A Natural Woman: A Memoir

A Natural Woman: A Memoir - Carole King Even leaving out her entertainment career, Carole King has led a fascinating, full life. In her personable and engaging new book she references the many current events, societal shifts and pervasive memes that have had an effect on her, so besides being the memoir of someone at the heart of the music business, A Natural Woman is an absorbing cultural history of the last 60-some years. I couldn’t put it down.Carole King has a lot to recount about her long love of music. She began making up songs when she was three and had her first public performance on the Horn and Hardart Children’s Hour television show at eight. As a young adolescent, her ability to compose and sing helped her begin to make the move from nerdy toward cool. Barely out of high school, she and her young husband got jobs writing popular, highly acclaimed songs, many of which are still covered, including Loco-motion and the at the time risqué Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. By the early 1970s her album Tapestry added multiple Grammy winning recording star to her list of accomplishments, and she’s still creating and performing today. But Carole King’s career in music is only part of what makes her wide ranging story so interesting. She married and had her first children while not much more than a child herself, just before the free-love era of the later 1960s, and there were three other marriages, two more children, and several long term relationships, all of which she writes about in a reasonably candid manner. One husband became a drug addict, another was physically abusive, and she explores the reasons why she stayed with them as long as she did, and offers advice to women in similar situations. Carole grew up in the New York City area, moved with her children to the hip Laurel Canyon section of Los Angeles when her first marriage ended, where she jammed with other famous and soon-to-be-famous musicians, and then lived a rugged, off-the-grid, back-to-the-land life in Idaho where she fought a multi-year legal battle to retain property rights to a road through her homestead. Because she had children while she was still young, all her musical and peripatetic adventures had to not compromise what she thought would be best for her offspring, though she admits to making mistakes. Carole’s life and her capacities for engagement and reinvention are remarkable enough to make for captivating reading, but she’s ordinary and everywoman enough to make it feel like she’s one of us.