Book Review- Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline by Margaret Jones

My obsession with Patsy Cline began almost seven years ago. My seventh grade English teacher wanted us to make pop-up books on a historical figure, and after asking my parents and grandparents for ideas, I decided on Patsy Cline. The only song I’d ever heard by Patsy was “Crazy,” but that pop-up book English project sparked a love for her voice and her music that I still carry as a college student, and I doubt that obsession will ever fade. She’s a classic sound and her story is one of both tragedy and triumph. I could go on forever about the woman herself, but let’s get down to business about the book that bears her name.

I spotted Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline on a store shelf when I was in Nashville, and due to my previously mentioned obsession, I knew I had to read it. The description and reviews sounded promising, so I started reading the same day.

The book starts out with a detailed account of Patsy’s family history as far back as her grandparents, and then launches into the even more detailed stories of Patsy’s childhood. Jones tells about every aspect of Patsy’s early life in quite a few wordy (and at times almost off-topic) passages, and continues into Patsy’s teenage years and the start of her musical career. Quite honestly, the book was difficult for me to read when I first started out because there isn’t much personality in the tone.

Jones gives ample information about all of the happenings of Patsy’s musical career and about her marriages and personal life along the way, but she also presents quite a bit of background information about many of the people Patsy encountered. For someone who only wants the straight facts about Patsy and Patsy alone, that would get irritating. But because I’m pursuing a career in the country music industry, I didn’t mind the chapters that contained history lessons and mini-biographies on the industry and its key players during Patsy’s time.

Some chapters were devoted almost entirely to people other than Patsy, and I did get a little impatient because I felt that the book was getting off-topic. Most readers might skip all of those extraneous details and back stories, and I was tempted to do just that; however, I’m glad I read them because it made me aware that I know little about the history of the business side of the country music industry. Seeing as how that’s exactly the area in which I’m chasing a career, I find it important to know the history from a business-based perspective as well as from the more common perspective of an audience member and listener. Some of the anecdotes piqued my interest, and it’s led me to do some enjoyable research of my own on people such as Owen Bradley and Connie B. Gay.

Overall, the book is merely a chronological information dump. I enjoyed seeing big names in country music in the book as they shared their own personal memories of Patsy, but the parts told in the author’s words lack personality and emotion. After reading this book, I feel like I know quite a bit about Patsy’s life and what happened to her, but I’m left wanting to know Patsy herself and her personality more intimately, and unfortunately that is where this book doesn’t quite hit the mark.

I would recommend this book to anyone who– like me– has a passion for Patsy Cline’s music but also wants some extra knowledge about the country music industry’s history, but if you’re looking for a compelling and sincere account that will give you insight into who Patsy was, you should probably look elsewhere.

For more information, you can find Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline on Amazon.com here.

 

Book Review- Breaking In: The Formula for Success in Entertainment by Evan Farmer

As evidenced by my creation of this blog, I love being involved in all things country music. Country Music Television is practically the only channel I watch on TV, so of course I’m a big fan of CMT’s Top 20 Countdown host, Evan Farmer. I came insanely close to meeting him in downtown Nashville before the Miranda Lambert concert last month… I’ll say something sooner the next time I spot him in Merchants!

I wasn’t aware that he had written a book until I saw it in his Twitter description a few days after my almost-encounter with him, but I knew immediately that I had to read it. He’s been one of my favorite hosts on both While You Were Out and Top 20 Countdown, so I scurried over to Amazon and had that puppy shipped to my house the next day!

The book, Breaking In: The Formula for Success in Entertainment, is written for anyone who has dreams of making a career and a life for themselves in the entertainment industry. Personally, I’m chasing dreams on the business side of the country music industry rather than the performing side, but I still found the book to be packed full of helpful information, personal anecdotes, challenges, and advice that directly applied to my own journey toward my aspirations.

The thing that I’ve most taken away from Breaking In is that true success—in anything, not just the entertainment industry—requires not simply a certain mindset, but rather a certain all-encompassing lifestyle. It requires taking control of your vocabulary, your perceptions, your thoughts, your emotions, and your interactions with every situation and every person in your life. Farmer repeatedly asserts that you have to be solidly rooted in who you are, what you truly want, and what you believe in—things that are so easily lost in some people’s quest for fame and fortune in today’s world of hype-seekers.

The book also touches on the efficient organizational and life management habits that every successful person must have, and seeing as how I go bonkers for anything of that sort, I was particularly fond of that section. He even shared some tips for staying in control of your finances once you reach the successful place you’re aiming for.

It took me about three days’ time to read it, and as I finished it, a re-energized flow of motivation and drive was running through my veins. By means of conversationally written Breaking In, Evan Farmer succeeded in inspiring me to take some immediate action toward my own dreams of working in Nashville, and I’ll most likely read the book again so I can fully soak in everything he has to say.

For more information about Evan Farmer and Breaking In: The Formula for Success in Entertainment, mosey on over to these places:

Breaking In: The Formula for Success in Entertainment on Amazon.com

Evan Farmer on Twitter

Evan Farmer on Facebook

Keep talkin’ twangy!

-Allie