on 13 October 2000
This book is a lovely read. Warm, funny and emotionally satisfying, it tells what it's like to struggle for years - and how when you think that fame has eluded you it can come out of nowhere - as it did for Jane Mcdonald. There's a lot of spooky psychic stuff too - wish there was more (the last page sent shivers up my spine...).
If you're looking for a good read I can thoroughly recommend it - and if you're looking for a decent book as a Christmas present, you won't go wrong if you buy a couple of copies.
on 3 October 2003
I was inspired to read this biography having watched Jane on 'Star for a Night' and it has turned me into a huge fan! I was so touched by the down to earth stories of her childhood and her close family environment.
It's written in such a way that I feel like I'm actually there with her through all the rises and falls, it's nice to read about a star who's honest with her public and having seen her in concert 5 times since reading this fab book, it's that honesty that makes her shows so special and intimate.
Well done Jane, it's a great autobiography!
on 14 November 2001
Described my The Daily Mail as a 'superb rags to riches story', in Follow Your Dreams Jane McDonald opens her soul to the fans she adores and shares the wealth of experiences and memories that have formed the star we know today. Strikingly honest, this autobiography portays the reality of Jane's life, from childhood, through her early singing career incorporating hard work, long hours travelling, low pay and distracted audiences. She shares the death of her father, the moments she almost gave up and the overwhelming reality of stardom after 'The Cruise' including the sometimes, maybe surprisingly, rockly relationship with her husband Henrik Brixen.
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!!
on 7 October 2000
This book reads like Cinderella, with Jane as Cinders and Henrik as her Prince Charming. The scene is set with us getting to know Jane's warm and funny working class Yorkshire family, her famed psychic grandmother and Jane's early life as a club singer from the age of sixteen. Then Jane runs off to sea to seek her fortune (in fairy tales she'd have the spotted handkerchief on a stick) with many adventures along the way in the manic, romantic life aboard luxury cruise liners.
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.
on 21 July 2011
"Follow Your Dreams" charts the astonishing rise of one of Britain's most loved national treasures, Miss Jane McDonald. Written by Jane, this memoir is one of the years fasting selling page turners and is already said (by Jane) to be outselling the Bible and the Oxford English Dictionary.
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.