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Comment: Ex-Library Copy. Slight Wear to Cover/Corners. Minimal signs of writing/marking.
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Grace Notes Hardcover – February 25, 2004

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hart's lyrical memoir shifts seamlessly back and forth through time as she traces her often-tortuous path toward spiritual grace. Raised and married in the Mormon faith, she found herself becoming more and more a reflection of her own mother, a woman of many gifts and talents but no individual voice. As she became increasingly disillusioned with the direction of her own marriage and with the male-dominated and male-oriented Church of the Latter-day Saints, she found comfort and solace in the diary of an early-nineteenth-century kinswoman rendered virtually mute by a debilitating disease. Drawing strength from her cross-century communion with Catharine Seeley, Hart was able to honestly evaluate her own past and find the strength and inspiration to leave the church of her childhood and become a member of the community of Quakers. Thoughtful readers will be captivated. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"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


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 238 pages
  • Publisher: University of Utah Press; 1st Edition edition (February 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874807875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874807875
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,689,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. This book is a memoir from a woman who has thoroughly examined her life, her passions, and her spirituality. Reading her story has reawakened my desire to make music and to become more aware of how I'm leading my own life.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the most interesting things about memoirs as splendid as this one is the way they act as a looking glass for their readers. In gazing into such a book, readers often see a reflection of themselves and their lives that awakens and stimulates (as _Grace Notes_ did for me) a deeper, compassionate, and enlightened "reflection" upon themselves and on the human condition. Other readers unfortunately (such as some reviewing Hart's book on this website) see a less pleasing reflection of themselves and then project their discomfort outward, blaming the book for causing them to see (or to feel or to encounter) what they may not wish to or be ready to. Indeed, in my opinion, what seems most apparent in violently negative reviews of brilliantly wrought memoirs like _Grace Notes_ is the rocky psychological terrain of the reader-reviewers themselves; an internal emotional landscape that I have to assume is characterized by a good deal of fear, insecurity, shame, and anger. The most we can do with reviews of this "projective" kind, really, is send their writers (usually anonymous, no surprise) thoughts of lovingkindness.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
I started reading this book thinking that I wouldn't enjoy it. (This book isn't what I normally read.) But I really got into this book! I wouldn't be able to put it down until I'd look at the clock and force myself to stop reading.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
In Grace Notes we are invited to view the painful but ultimately healing journey that Hart has taken to find her voice, reclaim her body, and to live a more authentic spiritual life. She carefully traces the personal history of each of her spiritual and emotional maladies, sometimes tracking its roots back several generations. She finds healing by coming to terms with the constraining voices of authority, tradition, religion, and family.

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.
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