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Follow Your Dreams
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From the Back Cover
In her deeply personal and intimate autobiography, Yorkshire-born singer Jane McDonald describes how she was able to cope with dizzy overnight success because of her no-nonsense roots as the daughter of a miner. Home was a two-up, two-down terrace in a poor estate; like many shy girls, at schools she was bullied. But music was an escape and a comfort, taking her through years of grinding slog on the northern club circuit and then into the glamorous world the great cruise liners, where fate led her to the man of her dreams – now her husband – Henrik Brixen, and television producer, Chris Terrill.
As we follow the story of how Jane was plucked from the relative obscurity of singing on a cruise ship to international fame and fortune after being discovered by the BBC, we are caught up in an emotional roller coaster that grips from the start. Such true-life, rags-to-riches stories are rare, and in Jane's case is the epitome of the 'girl-next-door' who has experienced the same hardship, pain and moments of joy that most of us know in our everyday lives.
Jane's success has been extraordinary. Her debut album went straight to platinum, an achievement that won her place in the 'Guinness Book of Records'. Each of the documentary programmes featuring Jane has been seen by over 400 million viewers worldwide, with videos, concert tours and her own peak-time television series following in quick succession. Throughout her meteoric rise to the top, with endearing honesty, Jane shows us her true self, revealing her laughter and her tears, her disappointments and her triumphs.
About the Author
Rosemary Kingsland is working on the book with Jane. Her last book was the best-selling autobiography of snooker player Jimmy White, which was shortlisted as Sports Book of the Year.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Born in Bognor and raised in a portable toilet, Jane began her career on various flee markets selling pre-used marital love aids to unsuspecting members of the public. Whilst not the most successful of ventures it gave her exposure to both public attention and TB. She fled to the big city in her early 20's and held down a variety of jobs including several months as a hostess at London's infamous night spot `Stringfellows' with such luminaries as Patricia Routledge, Edwina Currie and Heather `Stumpy' Mills-(McCartney). But by the mid 80's the sea air was calling Jane and keen to escape charges for sending photos of her matted rat to Newsreader and former black and white minstrel, Trevor McDonald, she took cabaret employment on one of the UK's more downmarket cruise liners performing celebrated songs from the 60's as well as several obscene acts with a ping pong ball. By chance a TV film crew were on board hoping to capture the magic of the Cruise experience, (they didn't), but broadcast on BBC1 in the mid 1990's Jane instantly stood out from the crowd (drawing heavy comparison's to Tanita Tikaram and Sonia), she quickly signed a record deal and a star was born!
Platinum selling albums followed (in Kazakhstan) and she launched her nationwide tour which was particularly well received by both the down syndrome community and the over 95's. A regular in the gossip magazines, Jane quickly found her-self embroiled in the Michael Barrymore pool scandal, (Jane was said to be in the shallow end at the time of the infamous drowning doing hand stands). Several romances were ignited, including secret liasons's with the future star of the Go Compare adverts and a lesbian dalliance with the world's first comedienne to be born with no neck; Sandy Toksvig.
In 2011, Jane continues to go from strength to strength, amongst her recent achievements she lists the completion of the 2011 London Marathon (in a taxi), the rebuilding of the Berlin Wall and the launch of her own range of suppositories. Bigger and brighter things are expected from Jane as she is to set foot into the Celebrity Big Brother house with Kate McCann, Dennis Nielson, Eddy Grant, Jeremy `Airport' Spake and Judith Chalmers.
Readers will be interested to hear that this autobiography was submitted for the National Book Critics Circle Award for non-fiction; it was quickly returned.
It's love at first sight when Jane meets Henrik, who turns out to be the man of her dreams - but does he love her back? Shades of As You Like It as the story rollercoasts along in an almost Shakespearian way - with Jane wondering if he loves her and he wondering if she loves him..Wonderful, deeply satisfying stuff. Why read Mills & Boon when you can read poignant TRUE stories like this? I loved it and can see the shelves emptying fast with that Word of Mouth factor.
Jabe McDonald has succeeded in sharing with her literary audience the emotional roller coaster which has been, and probably still is, her life so far. I say 'still is' because I am sure the fun loving, caring, self critical and extremely amusing person that shines through the words of this book is still the same today.
The main thing I liked about this book was its honesty. Ironically, it was also the thing I became most annoyed about, specifically Jane's attitude towards southerners. This was the only reason I rated the book with four stars and not five! Obviously, and quite rightly, proud of her Yorkshire routes, I did feel some of Jane's comments about southerners were not only unnecessary but also ignorant and could only serve to widen the north/south divide. So, if you're reading this Jane, please note that Southern England does only consist of London - there are many other counties, all with their own unique people, countryside, traditions, histories and communities with as much pride in their southern routes and northerners have in theirs. Additionally, I felt that Jane's honesty was sometimes far more apparent than intended, and to me at least she sometimes came across as rather selfish and ruthless. This is in no way a criticism - after all a sickly sweet, perfect character would never have got to where Jane is today. In certain areas, though, I did feel Jane's attempts at hiding her imperfections only served to highlight them - the phrase 'the lady doth protest too much' comes to mind!
Despite my critisisms, I still feel that Follow Your Dreams is an excellent insight into both the entertainment business and the mind of an ordinary Yorkshire lass made good. Keep up the good work Jane, and remember: worse things happen at sea!!
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