Books in Review
by Adrienne Petterson 2005   About Me

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Learning to Sing - Hearing the Music in Your Life
by Clay Aiken
Random House
ISBN 1-4000-6392-2
Published November 2004 - Hardcover - 259 pages - $21.95

Clay Aiken, the charming and devastatingly talented singer and runner-up to Ruben Studdard on American Idol, delivers his moving life story in this book.  Gently written, it reflects so much of what we came to see this man was all about.  Honest, kind, gentle, open, and the voice of an angel.  From the moment he opened his mouth on the show, he sent shivers down my arms and legs, and in my heart I knew he could win.  His book is the story of his poor upbringing, his birth father's abandonment and abuse of Clay's mother, his large family, and his self-described geekiness and nerd-like qualities.  He says he was "dodgeball bait" in school.  No one is perfect Clay, and with your incredible transformation and exceptional singing ability, gone are the awkwardness and nerdy days.  He talks about being teased at school, how he grew up around strong southern women, his values, and the lessons he learned from his mother.  Faye Parker, his mom, has been a constant in his life and by all accounts, seems to be a smart woman despite her "mistakes" with abusive men.  Her quotes are scattered throughout the book giving us a little insight as to the woman she is.  Clay also talks about how happy he was working with children with disabilities and about his competing in American Idol - an inside scoop.  As a bonus, he's given us some of his favorite recipes at the end of the book.  If anyone deserves the riches and blessings fame brings you, it's Clay Aiken.  I hope you enjoy all you've achieved.  I was hoping he'd put out an album of the songs he sang on the show, especially "Unchained Melody".  Visit Clay at his website for more information or details about his Foundation.
Conclusion - An inspiring story about how we're not how we look and that looks and appearances should not be what makes or breaks a person in life.  Look deeper.

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.

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