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Singing Lessons: A Memoir of Love, Loss, Hope, and Healing (with CD) Hardcover – October 1, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The sad truth about Collins's memoir is that the person for whom she seems to have written the book will never read it. The singer's son, Clark, committed suicide in 1992 after a long bout with depression and substance abuse, and every chapter ends with a Collins-composed prayer directly relating to his death. Otherwise, given her image as a confessional, heart-on-the-sleeve folkie, Collins tells her life story with vigor, candor and a surprising lack of sentimentality. She describes her alcoholism without apology, with a degree of forgiveness that seems to encompass not only herself but the memory of her addiction-tormented son. Collins's lack of self-absorption brings poignancy to her tales of growing up the daughter of a blind Seattle radio host, her interest in her seagoing ancestors and her fears that she contributed to her son's intense despair, while the tension between celebrity autobiography and letter to a lost loved one makes the book a disarming read. Perhaps her grave manner in discussing her son led Collins to the tasteful restraint with which she recounts her early glory days in Greenwich Village, when the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Jim Morrison were among her drinking buddies. Her reticence only adds to the dignity of this moving memoir. 16 b&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Collins's singing career made her a voice for civil rights and won her an Academy Award, but her success couldn't shield her from heartache. Her first autobiographical account, Trust Your Heart (LJ 11/1/87), ended with the wedding of her son, Clark. Similarly, this second account ends with a weddingACollins's own, to long-time companion LouisAbut, sadly, the book begins with Clark's suicide. Both books cover some of the same ground, such as Clark's problems with drugs and Judy's with alcohol, except that Judy recovers and Clark does not. The format is similar to the firstAdated entries as if taken directly from her journal, providing a sense of intimacy. Like the memoirs by George McGovern (Terry: My Daughter's Life and Death Struggle with Alcoholism, LJ 6/15/96) and Gloria Vanderbilt (A Mother's Story, LJ 5/1/96), this is more than a celebrity memoir; it is a deeply personal, gut-wrenching story of the loss of a child. Painful but important reading; highly recommended.ARosellen Brewer, Monterey Bay Area Cooperative Lib. System, CA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Har/Com edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671003976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671003975
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,499,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sasha VINE VOICE on November 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
The writting style is stunnigly beautiful and impressive,just as authour's music always had a certain healing power.Many singers/actors are not capable to remember anything more than their LP's and awards - celebrities memoirs are too often simply boasting about their career - but Collins have a perfect ballanced view on her past and she writtes about her inner life much more than her career,which is mentioned basically briefly. Portraits of her father and mentor Anthonia are described with affection and of course the book never stops reflecting on her son.This is a clear picture of Judy Collins life from her point of view - no celebrity gossip,no recording dates,what really matters here are feelings and precious memories she shares with reader.At times I thought her story about son sounds a bit obsessive - until it made me realise that I think about my mother every day and she died 12 years ago,so I guess we never really let go.Not only that second half of the book brings very helpful observations how to cope with depression,Collins also have sharp witt and she saved certain original sense of humour which must be life-saving quality (on her knees in the bathroom of the White House,she laughs at herself),the whole book is a warm,affectionate celebration of spirit still shining bright after tragedy and life downfalls.
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Format: Paperback
While listening to the current recordings of this remarkable performer, humanitarian, and personality, one is immediately struck by the warmth of her voice and its enduring stamina and honesty, the same can be said about, "Singing Lessons, A Memoir of Love, Loss, Hope, and Healing. If anyone wonders if it is possible to survive unbearable tragedy, and thrive, they only have to read this book. If anyone wonders about physical, spiritual, and emmotional vibrancy, beyond the age of 40, they have only to read this book! It has been said that to survive any great tragedy, you have to go through it and experience it honestly. For those of us who have gone through far less than the loss of an only child, this book is a triumphant road-map on how to grow and survive any of lifes unfathomable, unexpected, and unreal experiences. Judy Collins is a shinning example, not only for those trying to cope with an enormous tragedy, but many of the new comers in todays music and entertainment industry who could well learn a "lesson" from her tremendous example on how to be a "good" star, someone who is truly grateful for the position they have achieved, and seeks to give back to the world, a true sense of caring, a steady sense of responsibility, and most of all, an enduring sense of the "real" kind of love, that makes this book "sing," and the journey possible and worth the effort to continue.
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Format: Hardcover
We were all wondering how Judy could create a meaningful follow-on memoir and exceed the high expectations created by "Trust Your Heart." Since that book was published, Judy's son committed suicide and she married her long-time friend.
This book is a fantastic insight into the healing process--the healing that can be brought about by loving and caring people--the healing process that only you can do despite friends and caring supporters.
While this book brings you down to depths of despair the ultimate message is very uplifting and gives us all hope and lets us see the bright side of life -- all in all a very, very positive and uplifting book.
Oh, and as an aside, it provides another fascinating glimpse into Judy's exciting career. There are some good tidbits in there for the Collins fan.
Good job, Judy!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really loved reading all of Judy Collins's books, especially "Sweet Judy Blue Eyes." This particular book was well-written and very moving. She has suffered some terrible losses and continued on with grace and dignity. My copy was used, and without a CD, so I cannot speak to that.
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Format: Paperback
Read SINGING LESSONS by Judy Collins . . . this is a very
touching memoir of her life, her son's suicide and companion's
serious illness, and how she managed to survive these
events.
Judy Collins has always been one of my favorite performers . . . I also enjoyed reading about how her career evolved, as well as how she played with such other favorites of mine as Tom Paxton, Leonard Cohen, Joni, Mitchell, and Peter, Paul and Mary.
Best of all, the book came with a four-song CD (much to my
surprise) . . . what a treat to be reading her words at the
same time I was listening to her sing!
There were many memorable passages; ...P>[Andrew Weil confirms what I have learned through trial and
error about depression.] "The best single treatment (for
depression) is vigorous, regular aerobic exercise, at least
thirty minutes a day, five days a week." Most of the time, after I spend a half hour or more exercising, any cloud of depression lifts so completely that I feel a small miracle has been accomplished.
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Format: Hardcover
Judy Collin's latest memoir "Singing Lessons", brings to light the legendary singer's healing journey after the suicide of her only son, Clark. "Singing Lessons" showcases Collins signature writing style with journal entries and rare photos. Judy's unmistakable lyrical prose honestly and vividly details her personal tragedy and ultimate triumph of the heart. A very inspiring view into the life of one of America's most treasured artists. I highly recommend "Singing Lessons" as some of Collins finest writing to date. A spiritually uplifting read with a companion CD of new songs. Excellent!
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