Truth comes out. Shania Twain's autobiography, titled "From This Moment On," has little in common with the promotional bios that came out in the late 90s. The fairytale is over. I was impressed that Shania wrote this book by herself, without help from a seasoned author. She is articulate. Wordy. It is almost as if she is writing to and for no one, just putting down her life as it happened. To begin with, her real name is Eileen Edwards. Not Shania Twain. Her mother married an Indian named Jerry Twain after she and Eileen's father divorced. One thing that irked me was how Shania (Eileen) kept referring to Jerry as her dad. She beat it like a drum as if trying to convince herself. "My dad. My dad. My dad." "My father, My father. My father." I felt like throwing the book across the room and screaming, "He's not your father!" I found myself talking to the picture on the cover. She does not look like that, but it is a beautiful image. Shania paints a different picture of family life from the ones in previous bios. Her "family" was dysfunctional. There was not enough money to pay bills. There was never enough food, and Shania was jealous of kids who were well fed. Jerry and Shania's mother argued. They fought. And the fights got physical. Jerry was abusive both to Shania and her mother. He would drag her mother out of bed by her arm while she was in the throes of depression. At age 14, Shania insisted that they leave Jerry. Shania and her mother fled to Toronto without letting Jerry know where they were. Shania met her first love and went on the pill. She matured early, performing in bars and living in an adult world. Sex, alcohol and drugs were everywhere. Finally, she and her mother went home to Timmins.
Shania writes about the frustration with her first album for Mercury. The songs were no good, and she knew it. The fairytale began when Mutt Lange showed up. The Woman In Me, Come On Over & Up! were a phenomenon. Their success exceeded her dreams. It was also hectic. A blur! Shania got what she wanted but attests to the loneliness and isolation of fame. Shania and Mutt ran out of songs after Up! and since their marriage was based on music, it had to end. With her autobiography, Shania reverted back to doing what her idol Dolly Parton does, selling the poverty of her youth.
Shania knew she and Mutt were drifting apart. He made the first move. If he had not, she would have. Of course it hurt her pride, something she has plenty of. Shania did not blame Mutt. She blamed Marie-Anne. Traitor! Backstabber! Truth be told, Shania and Mutt left each other. Their era ended in an affair for him and in hatred and confusion for Shania. There was only one road ahead for her. She had to rework her catalog of classic hits and head for Las Vegas in a 90s revival. Shania was the female Elvis and had to re-assume that role. She had to marry Fred, Marie-Anne's jilted husband. The two were cemented by fate and mutual pain. Shania, Mutt, Fred and Marie-Anne switched partners! It was bizarre!
There are better singers, dancers and better-looking women. Shania has just enough in all these areas to qualify as a total package. What adjectives describe Shania? Ambitious. Hard-working. Self-absorbed. Strong-willed. Driven. Emotional. Insecure. She is an opportunist. She is impatient, stubborn and wants it her way. Maybe we are all like that. Shania is willing to leave people behind to go to the next level, be it a boy friend of 6 years or manager/friend Mary Bailey. She gave up Mutt for their son Eja. She may eventually move on from second husband Fred.
Shania is smart, insightful. She is open and honest. She sees herself as a "surviver." At least, to this point. Sadly, no one is really a survivor.
Shania wrote that she had the body of a 25-year-old until she was 42. She will be 47 when she hits the stage at Caesar's Palace.
MY SHANIA http://jimcolyer.com/papers/entry?id=46