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Grace Notes Hardcover – February 25, 2004
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"This memoir stands above the rest by reason of its unexpected virtues—its winding path and rejection of easy conclusion....her writing has candor and charm and should engage the hearts and minds of many readers. Highly recommended."—Library Journal
"The human voice, lifted in song and poetry, runs through this deeply engaging memoir in startling leitmotif. From the bright cascade of her mother's trained voice to the echoing harmonies of friendship, revelation, history, and insight to (at last) the author's own freed, lyrical speech: we find ourselves reading as the angels must read—in wonder at what is most strange, filled with longing, and fiercely passionate in the human heart."—Carol Muske-Dukes, author of Sparrow
"Heidi Hart explores women’s interior landscapes of marriage and religion. Like Anne LaMott, Hart unmasks her own cultural demons....Exposing the taboo realities of physical and mental illness, disbelief, and meanness, Hart negotiates with family, community, God, and self to create that most frightening and precious thing—her own imperfect life."—Linda Sillitoe, coauthor of Salamander: The Story of the Mormon Forgery
"This book is the essaying of a personal journey toward being able to breathe, to not be owned or censured by one’s fear and timidity...subtle, as well as dramatic."—Phyllis Barber, author of How I Got Cultured: A Nevada Memoir
"Like other great memoirs of our age such as Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Terry Tempest Williams's Refuge, and Judy Blunt's Breaking Clean, this is the story of a woman's journey toward personal strength, independence, and authenticity. Hart's search to find her own voice, to 'word [her] way back to her body,' is so deeply and elegantly rendered that it serves as both instruction and gift for the reader."—Teresa Jordan, author of Riding the White Horse Home: A Western Family Album
Top Customer Reviews
Before I go further, I want to tell you that it is not a chronological memoir. I heard the author speak in a panel here in Salt Lake City, and she told us why she wrote non-chronologically: to show what memories were brought back to her at different times and how they helped her on her journey. Knowing that helped me forget about timelines and really enjoy experiencing the author's thought process as she describes her search for her voice.
Although this book is in prose, the writing reads like poetry or music, both of which are passions of the author. She sets scenes, goes backward to memories and forward to the future, and speaks in metaphor to guide us through the process that took her on her journey from a Mormon wife and mother, questioning her religion, lost and alone, with no voice (literally and figuratively) to a vibrant, questioning, alive woman who sings with a genuine voice, repairs broken relationships, and reconciles her need to leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with her family's need to remain in it.
Along the way, Ms Hart provides us music nerds with all sorts of tantalizing tidbits of trivia. For extra credit, watch Cold Mountain, or at least listen to the soundtrack.
This book touched me on many levels. It'll touch you, too.
In this luminous memoir we meet a woman on the verge of several passaggi--"passaggio," being a term drawn from the formal training of the voice, the place where a singer moves from one register to another--a pivotal place, a place of difficulty, challenge, and potential growth.Read more ›
The author really makes you feel and understand her emotions and experiences. I would recommend this book to anyone who has no real feel for their own voice. Or even for someone who's voice has no problems being heard.
Grace Notes explores a variety of themes and weaves them together masterfully. For example, Hart struggles with accepting her body. She traces the source of her ambivalent and sometimes hateful attitude towards her body back to her grandmother, who hides her "disgusting" body under perfumes, and to her mother, whose "body was a diary of shame and fear" and who taught her daughter to hide her body under a thick mask of makeup. She uses her newfound voice to reclaim her body: "I could 'word' my way back to my body. I could try to see from inside my own skin, not as I'd viewed it from the outside since I was ten, as a bleeding burden or as church property or as my husband's private treasure...[then] I came to the poem I knew I had to write. Revisit the moment of your most passive silence, came a whisper inside of me. Give the girl you were a voice." Hart then launches into a harrowing account of her pre-marriage hymenotomy, the violent taking of her virginity by a patronizing physician. By giving voice to this girl, long silent and long silenced, Hart grants others a voice-she says the things that others may lack the courage to say.
Grace Notes poses important questions to those who find security in a structured, hierarchical religion like Mormonism.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The two one-star reviews by Julius and Natasha are ridiculous. I'm surprised they haven't been removed. Read morePublished on February 2, 2008 by Fridrix
This is a waste of time. Going through all the psychological defects of a backwards girl are not that appealing to me. Read morePublished on November 29, 2004 by Natasha