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Ordinary Girl: The Journey Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 7, 2003

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 7, 2003
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From the Inside Flap

Ordinary Girl is legendary singer-songwriter Donna Summer?s delightfully candid memoir about her journey from singing in a Boston church to her unexpected reign as the Queen of Disco?and the tragedy and spiritual rebirth that followed.

Donna Summer was born on New Year?s Eve in Boston. Her childhood was filled with music. Inspired by Mahalia Jackson, she began singing in church choirs at the age of ten. A few years later she joined a Boston rock group, and by the end of the 1960s she was living the life of an artist in New York City?s Greenwich Village.

Soon after, Donna left the United States to join the German cast of Hair. She was still in her teens, a shy, ordinary girl who was suddenly feeling the jolt of the sexual revolution. She lived in Germany for seven and a half years, modeling, acting, falling in love, getting married, and giving birth to a daughter. She met a producer named Giorgio Moroder, and together they created a song called ?Love to Love You Baby.? It became one of the world?s premier disco hits.

Donna Summer returned to America as a star, a ?sex goddess? who bore little resemblance to her own sense of who she was. She describes what that personal transformation felt like from the white-hot center of the disco era, and how, over the next two decades, it contributed to a sometimes harrowing spiritual journey.

With heart and humor, Donna Summer relives the decadent days of disco and shows how she transcended them. This is the inspiring tale of an ?ordinary girl? on an extraordinary journey. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Donna Summer is an internationally known singer-songwriter whose music has earned five Grammy Awards, three consecutive number one platinum albums (she is the only artist, male or female, ever to have accomplished this), eleven gold albums, four number one singles, two platinum singles, and twelve gold singles. Considered the voice that ignited the disco generation, she has been an enormously popular and enduring performer and recording artist for more than a quarter of a century. Her website is

Marc Eliot is the New York Times bestselling author or coauthor of several biographies and books about popular culture, including Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen, Barry White’s Love Unlimited, and Erin Brockovich’s Take It from Me. He divides his time between New York and Los Angeles.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1 edition (October 7, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 1400060311
  • ASIN: B001G8W602
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,423,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By D M Joll on February 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
With the recent passing of Whitney Houston, this book came to mind. While we're all asking ourselves how in the world could such a gifted and successful artist like Whitney succumb to the drugs and seemingly non-nrealities of fame, this is a book of a certified superstar who was able to extract herself from the spiral of meaningless attention and find peace and joy in normalcy. It's a great read with this frame of mind.

Take this simple excerpt from the book and you'll begin to see what I mean, "The public life of a singer who is on the charts, as I was at the time, becomes all-consuming and eventually takes everything out of you. If you're not extremely careful, if you don't keep a tight inventory on your own self-worth, you will wind up in some very strange places mentally and physically. That's why so many people in music take drugs or drink. It's their only way to cope, and it either kills them or forces them to look at the reality of their lives. The only way to survive the fame is get control of your perspective on reality, and to do that you have to have a fairly strong frame of reference to the real world. Often it is extremely difficult to know who you ca trust."

To everyone who is trying to come to terms with Whitney's death, or the deaths of other stars such as Michael Jackson or Kurt Cobain, I highly recommend this book. It's not a preachy self-help, but that's sort of the whole point. It's a basic story of someone who was at the top, yet chose to step down to live a real life.

Kudos to Donna Summer. Not only did she save her own life by choosing normalcy, she also preserved her own God-given gift, and still continues to share it with her fans many years later. She's always been my favorite diva, but not because she is a "Bad Girl." It's simply because she's extraordinarily gifted, yet ordinary at heart.
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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
For people who are even nominally familiar with her name, Donna Summer is the Queen of Disco. Critically acclaimed as the only true artist from that musical genre, she left behind the many one-hit wonders and continued a career for the next couple of decades.
So how disappointing is this book that is a highly personal look at her faith but says little about her music. The first couple of chapters are interesting, outlining her family background and her almost hippie past in German stage productions like HAIR, but she gives her biggest collaborator, Giorgio Moroder a light dust-over. This is the man who produced and co-wrote many of her biggest hits. This is also the guy who said that in disco, the producer is the absolute dictator! Surely there are stories to be told about working with him and Pete Bellotte for so many years. Surely there were stories when she split with Moroder to work with other producers.
It becomes very clear that Summer has avoided dissing the living. She spends some interesting chapters looking at her love/hate relationship with Casablanca Records president, Neil Bogart, but he's dead. Meanwhile, she carefully and diplomatically mentions David Geffen but she glances over her well-documented turbulent years with Geffen Records. That omission is testament to Geffen's continued clout. (Summer fans may recall her thank-you notes in CATS WITHOUT CLAWS which thanked Geffen for 'staying out of the kitchen this time'.)
Like other reviewers have noted, she also barely mentions the urban legend that she became homophobic when she became a Born-Again Christian. True or false?
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By N. Bunning on February 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What a missed opportunity this book has turned out to be! Although it contains a few (not many) insights into Donna's personal life and beliefs, fans hoping for an examination of her music, creative processes, and working relationships with her collaborators like Giorgio Moroder, will find virtually nothing to satisfy their curiosity. Much of her career, the hits, the good and bad times and the controversies, are only touched on lightly or not even mentioned. With masses of pictures filling out the sparse 246 pages or so, the content of this book is so light I feared it would fly away if I wasn't holding on to it! I guess this is all Donna wants her fans to know about her, but frankly, it just isn't interesting reading. Hopefully some other biographer will write a more informative book about Donna and her music some day.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ingrid Waldron on October 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the reviews of many posters that this is an extremely disappointing book. As I began reading it, I wondered why she was spending an exponential amount of time in the beginning of the book discussing very mundane and insignificant events in her childhood. It would make sense to do this if these accounts offered meaningful insights about the impact that these events had on her later in life, but they do not. As I continued reading the book, I was struck by Donna's omission of important events in her career and life, most importantly her feelings about her place in the disco era, her struggles to maintain a place at the top of the charts, as well as more details on the impact of fame on her life during the disco days. Instead she spent a lot of time talking about cooking with Sophia Loren, her garden, moving to Nashville, and her struggles with her boyfriends and husband. Although these accounts may be the kinds of things Martha Stewart's fans may want to read, they certainly are not what the fans of the Queen of Disco want to read. The book, quite simply, left me feeling hungry, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and empty.
What I really wanted from this book, and what I did not get, was a detailed account of the disco era that defined the 70's and Donna's place in it, her experiences during that time, her feelings about her successes and winning Grammy awards, her relationships with other artists during that exciting time, her feelings about the challenges she faced staying at the top of the charts, her experiences with record companies, her musical experiences during the 80's and 90's when she was no longer on top, and the resurgence she is experiencing now.
Many of these important issues are touched on in only a few lines.
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