One of my greatest heroines, Jann Arden, is a true-blooded Canadian prairie girl with innumerable talents. To sum up: she has released 11 highly-acclaimed albums; has had 17 Top Ten singles, including the concert favourites, I Would Die for You, Could I Be Your Girl and Insensitive; and has won 8 Juno Awards.
She is also the author of If I Knew, Don’t You Think I’d Tell You?, I’ll Tell You One Damn Thing, and That’s All I Know! She is also the host of the popular national summer radio program, Being Jann broadcast by CBC-Radio and Sirius Satellite.
I recently read her latest book Falling Backwards, and loved every minute of it. I strongly urge you to run out and buy a copy- you won’t be disappointed. Firstly, I’d like to comment on the title. In my younger therapist-in-training years, a wise mentor and teacher told us eager students that human beings have two universal fears based on our biological wiring: fear of falling backwards and fear of loud noises. Thus, I thought Jann’s book title was incredibly appropriate.
As you read about her childhood especially, you are left with a feeling that the author is, indeed, falling backwards most of the time as she tries to circumnavigate the often complex world around her such as: gender differences and dynamics between the sexes, moving from urban to rural life, alcoholism and the scary effects it has on families (especially children), working with one’s own unique temperament and trying to fit in to the world around you, and finding one’s passions.
Without giving too much away, I would sum up the book by saying that it demonstrates incredible courage. As a therapist, I am constantly encouraging clients to muster up as much courage as they can to face their fears head-on in order to triumph over them and move in a forward direction. One of the greatest acts of courage, in my opinion, is in telling our story, openly, honestly, and not sugar-coating it in order to protect other people who may have played a role in its creation. I think that this is exactly what Jann Arden accomplished in this memoir- she’s honest, open, and tells it like she saw it back then and how she sees it from an adult perspective in the present. Plus, it’s often knee-slappingly hilarious and makes the reader laugh at almost every page. I choked on my tea on numerous occasions while reading it because I couldn’t stop laughing.
Jann, I love your style, your veracious wit, your warmth and connectedness with everything and everyone around you, and most of all, your wisdom. Thanks for being a role model for girls and women everywhere of a woman who is comfortable in her own skin, who owns and uses her voice, and doesn’t take herself (or life) too seriously.