Personal Book Review: Honky Tonk Girl


My Life In Lyrics

By Loretta Lynn

“She’d smile in Mommy’s understanding way.” The song, the 1976 best-selling memoir and the Oscar-winning bio picture, The Coal Miner’s Daughter, made Loretta known world-wide. She was the first woman to be named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association and she continues to play to full houses today. This book is filled with her stories, lyrics and personal pictures that tell her rags-to-riches story.

She became famous to me when I was young. My mom would raise the volume on the car radio when her songs came on. We once packed into the family car to travel hours to see Ms. Lynn perform, and I was lucky to see her face to face when she walked by to shake the hands of her fans. I was mesmerized by her larger than life persona. The music bounced off the walls with her passion for singing her story of how she pushed the boundaries in music and life.

Ever since my mom died, when I hear Coal Miner’s Daughter I recall the warmth I felt back then. She represents a time in my life when I still had a childhood. Despite her own childhood in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, she empowered herself to get more out of life. Loretta writes fondly about her time as a child, and more so on writing about her marriage to becoming a mother.

“My mommy used to say I wasn’t afraid of anything. To tell me I couldn’t do something was like daring me to do it.” That drove Loretta to write Mountain Climber. “The higher the mountain the better I like ‘em.”

Whether it’s tears or laughter that moves you as you read about her, you cannot help but feel appreciative of your own life. It is moving and motivating. I miss my mom terribly and feel connection to her when I read this or hear a Loretta tune.