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A long time ago, I read that the more personal you are, the more universal you are. I always thought these words referred to essays and poetry, but I've just learned how well they apply to memoirs, too. Falling Backwards covers Jann Arden's earliest childhood memories, her school life, and the desire to write and play music, those inevitable young adult struggles and, finally, her first recording contract.

I have to be honest and say that I'm a big fan of Jann Arden's music, which is why I received this book for Christmas, plus her latest CD, and a ticket to an upcoming concert. So, if you think I'm biased when I say that I loved this book, I understand.

The book's appeal isn't merely because of its author, though. Jann's voice is strong, authentic, and candid. She talks about some truly uncomfortable experiences in her life that most of us wouldn't share with friends and family, let alone strangers. Secondly, her writing style is terrific: straightforward, fluid, poignant, funny. She has an ear for the rhythm of the written word, which is hardly a surprise given how much time she put in learning to write songs.

Although our childhoods were quite different, (she from the Alberta countryside and me from the Vancouver suburbs), she had experiences I could relate to so closely that it was weird. Here's one: at her parents' first parent-teacher meeting in grade one, Jann's teacher told her folks that Jann "could very well be somewhat retarded". My teacher told my parents that there was something wrong with me because I cut the legs off the picture of the lamb I'd drawn . . . That was the 60's for you. Obviously, many of her memories triggered memories of my own, but maybe that's what great memoirs do. Still, as Jann says, "It's okay to look in the rear-view mirror now and then, but I don't want to stare." Enjoy!
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on June 17, 2015
I've always loved Jann Arden--her wistful songs in that haunting voice, how she cracks me up on the Rick Mercer show. Now I love her books, and and stayed up late last night to finish this one. She writes like she talks--in your face. Very real. Lots of quirky details. I wasn't the only one watching Romper Room waiting forever for Miss Betty with the magic mirror to say, "I see Jan/n!" And my sister wasn't the only kid that got stuck in the milkbox. One thing I realized--Jann was not an overnight star--what a work ethic, writing songs while figuring out a way to live, even if it meant gutting salmon on the high seas or buying KD, three for a looney. One thing that really touched me was her loyalty to her family through all the sadness and pain, when her dad was still drinking and her older brother was on the fast-track to disaster. Jann's relationship with her mom is awe-inspiring--I can see where the song, Good Mother, comes from. This book is a beautiful memoir.
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on November 21, 2011
Jann's first two books (which are also hilarious) where about her struggle through her adult life. This is the first time she really tackles her sometimes funny, sometimes sad, childhood. Anyone that would like to know what shaped this wonderful woman will get a lot from Falling Backwards. Highly recommended.
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on May 24, 2014
Simply put, I loved this book! Loved reading about her childhood and how she got her first record deal along with everything in between. Laughed out loud while reading this book and was teary at the end. Can't say there was anything I disliked about this book.
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on November 7, 2012
I love, love, love this book. I enjoyed Jann's other books too, but this one is so amazingly open that it touched me deeply, and also made me realize I am not alone when it comes to some of my own childhood experiences. I am purchasing copies of this book for all of my girlfriends.
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on January 11, 2012
I am a Jann Arden Music fan, and live in Alberta. I have seen Jann interviewed many times on TV, and have always appreciated her authenticity, and her sense of humour. In her book Falling Backwards, Jann's humour had me in stitches laughing. Her honesty, openness and deep look into life issues and growing up was refreshing. This book is a beautifully written and authentically moving book. Thank you Jann, for sharing yourself with us!

Charmaine Hammond,
Bestselling author On Toby's Terms
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on October 16, 2014
Great book and SUPER fast affordable shipping.
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on November 15, 2011
I am reading Jann's book and unlike the previous review have enjoyed the recollections of her childhood very much, I find the book very funny,expecially the hotdog in the thermos, and could also relate to the stories of the underlying tensions in her homelife. Maybe at some point she will write about her rise in the music industry,but I think this book was a great jumping off point, if you were raised in the 70's don't miss this book.
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on January 5, 2012
Falling Backwards: A Memoir Jann writes like she's sitting in your kitchen visiting over a coffee. No doubt most readers will already be fans so Jann's sincerity and candor will only endear her further. Anyone who has even the slightest doubt about her being completely down to earth and genuine should definitely read this. She'll be family when you're done.
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on January 29, 2015
++++++AAAAAA
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