The Woman I Was Born to Be: My Story Hardcover – Oct 12 2010
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About the Author
Susan Boyle was born, and still lives, in Blackburn, West Lothian. She shot to global fame on April 11, 2009, when she appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, singing "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical Les MisÉrables. This is her first book.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
My name is Susan Boyle. A year and a half ago, if you weren’t from Blackburn, the village in West Lothian, Scotland, where I have lived all my life, you would almost certainly never have heard of me. Today you’ve probably heard all sorts about me, some fact, some speculation, some pure invention, so I’m writing this book to tell my story from my point of view, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.
Every story has a beginning and maybe mine started when I was in my pram forty-nine years ago. Whenever my mother put on a record, she noticed that I would sway slowly in time with the ballads, and jiggle faster to the rhythm of the quicker tunes. Or maybe it started with the toy banjo she bought me when I was a wee lassie. I used sit in front of the television mimicking Paul McCartney when the Beatles were on Top of the Pops. But I’ll go back to all that a bit later.
For you, my story probably started on 11 April 2009 when I first appeared on television, but it was actually a couple of months before, on 21 January, that they recorded the Glasgow audition for Britain’s Got Talent.
I’ve been on quite a journey since then, and it was actually quite a journey getting to the audition itself . . .
I’d had one of those sleepless nights that seem endless when you know you should be resting but you can’t find a comfortable position. Your stomach’s all butterflies, then, just as you’ve nodded off, it’s time to get up and you’re in a rush. It was still dark outside and my bedroom was cold. Any other day, I might have been tempted to close my eyes and cosy down in the warmth of the duvet, pretending I’d overslept, but I had a bus to catch, and there was no way I was going to let this chance slip away from me.
The air in the bathroom was so chilly my breath steamed up the mirror as I stood there barefoot on the cold lino, trying to make myself beautiful. My hair has never done what it’s told, and that day it looked like a straw hat. When I tried to style it with a hairdryer, I ended up resembling a fluff ball. I could hear the rain sheeting down outside, so I was going to have to wear a headscarf anyway. There was nothing to be done about it.
At least I had a nice frock, even it was a wee bit dressy for six o’clock in the morning! Gold lace, with a gold satin ribbon at the waist, I’d bought it for my nephew’s wedding the previous year. I’d found it in a shop in the nearby town of Livingston and it had cost a tidy penny, but it was a special occasion and I thought I looked good in it. At the reception, I’d worn the dress with a white jacket, white shoes and natural-coloured tights, but the morning of the audition—I don’t know what possessed me—I decided to pull on black tights. Black tights and a gold dress with white shoes, for God’s sake, Susan, do not match! But I didn’t know that then.
I put my head round the living-room door to say good-bye to my cat, Pebbles, but she was sensibly fast asleep in the hearth. Just before leaving the house I touched the gold chain round my neck that has my mother’s wedding ring on it. Wearing it makes me feel she’s close.
“Here we go then,” I said, closing the front door behind me.
Sometimes when I look back at that moment, I feel there must have been some sign that my life was about to change, but if anything it was the opposite. There was nothing auspicious at all about that rainy, grey dawn. In fact, it felt like one of those days when the sun never seems to come up.
They call this part of Scotland the Wet Valley because we get more than our fair share of rain. Some people say the next generation is going to be born with webbed feet! Sling-back, peep-toe white shoes are certainly not the most suitable footwear on a rainy winter morning and the water was seeping in through all the gaps.
There were one or two lights on in the neighbours’ upstairs windows, but it was still too early for most people to be up and about. A dog that had been out all night shivered in the dripping shelter of a doorstep. I saw a couple of men leaving their houses for the early shift, their coat collars up, lunch boxes under their arms. They didn’t take any notice of me, which was just as well because, teetering along on heels like stilts, I was in quite a mood.
Was I completely mad? All the doubts I’d had about what I was doing began to resurface as I walked down the road I used to take to school towards a challenge that was more daunting than anything I’d ever faced before. The comments my brothers and sisters had made at Christmas, when I told them I’d got an audition for Britain’s Got Talent, kept repeating in my head.
“Do you know what they do on Britain’s Got Talent? They laugh at you! They boo you! They buzz you! Can you take all that?”
“If you put yourself in the arena, you’ve got to take the chance, haven’t you?” I’d defended myself.
“Oh my God! Don’t go there! Not with that Piers Morgan!”
“Just leave it,” I’d told them.
“Well, don’t be surprised if you don’t get through.”
“Thanks for your faith in me. Smashing people, you!”
I’d stuck up for myself all right, but inside I’d been thinking, Oh my God! What have I done?
As I hurried along, dodging puddles and potholes, half of me was wanting to turn back to the safety of my nice warm home and the other half was desperate not to miss the bus. When I reached the main road, the bus was nearer to the stop than I was and I had to run like mad, which is not easy with cold, wet feet in three-inch heels. The doors opened with a hiss and I climbed on, my chest heaving, face pink, and my hair plastered down under my scarf.
“Well,” I said to myself, sinking gratefully into my seat. “My worries are over now.”
The bus from Blackburn took me into Glasgow, where I had to change and get another bus to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), an enormous complex of halls in the middle of the city beside the River Clyde. The rush-hour traffic was building now and the bus wasn’t making much progress. I kept looking at my watch, then out of the window. I could see the conference centre in the distance, but it seemed to be inching further away, not closer. It suddenly dawned on me that I was on the wrong bus and I had to push through the crowds to get off.
I got on the next one that came along, but that was going in a different direction as well.
Now I was beginning to panic. Calm down, Susan. I told myself the logical thing to do was cross the road and take a bus going the other way.
“There’s plenty of time.” the bus driver told me.
“The world’s not going to blow up.”
“It’s OK for you, but I’ve got an audition to go to!”
He gave me a look.
It was lucky I had a bus pass because I travelled on six buses that morning before I finally arrived!
There was a queue outside and a young lad next to me was shivering in a short-sleeved shirt.
“I tried for The X Factor,” he said, “but I got nowhere.”
“Well, never mind,” I told him. “Perhaps you’ll do better in this.”
Then the doors opened and everyone cheered. As we all went in, there was a great banner saying “Welcome to Britain’s Got Talent!”
The letter I had received about my audition said it was at 9:30 and I was there by 9:30, just, but the lassie at reception looked at her list, her eyes running up and down several times before she said that she hadn’t got me down for the 9:30 audition. She suggested I go home and come back later.
“And go through all that rigmarole with the buses again?” I protested. “You’ve got to be kidding!”
“Well, you’ll have to wait in the holding room,” she said, looking at me warily. “We’ll try to fit you in. But it may be some time,” she warned, as she handed me my number.
The concourse was light and warm and buzzing with energy and noise. There were crowds of people, like a great big circus: dance groups with bright costumes and feathers, singers, kids, magicians, cats, dogs, even rabbits. I saw people weeping, I saw people shouting, I saw people fighting, I saw people laughing—the lot! I sat in the corner minding my own business. I’m quite a shy and reserved person if you can believe that, but people spoke to me and they were generally very friendly. The banter was good. The atmosphere was good. I chatted to a nice guy in a white suit who sang with a funny voice. I think he got through to the semi-finals.
From time to time they’d call a list of acts to go through to the audition and those people would get themselves lined up. The air would be thick with nerves and a hush would fall for a wee while as they left. One by one, you’d see them come back, some crying, some snarling with anger, others screaming with joy! It was a great feeling to see the Yeses being put through, but as the day went on I started to wonder how many Yeses there were and whether there would be any left for me.
As I’d had such an early start and hadn’t thought to bring any food with me, I was beginning to get very hungry. I could feel my stomach going, but I said to myself that I’d better stay put in case they wanted me. I couldn’t risk going and getting myself something to eat in case my name was called while I was gone. When one of a group of dancers standing quite near me opened up her lunch box, I must have looked over, because she asked, “Would you like a sandwich?”
I said thank you very much. It was a nice salad sandwich and it went down a bomb! I didn’t realize I was being filmed as I sat there munching away, but the camera st...
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Top Customer Reviews
On April 1, 2010 Susan Boyle was known around the world!! She had become an overnight sensation singing with the voice of an angel. The range, the pitch and notes this woman can hit literally leave you quaking in your boots. You are literally awed, stuptified, your mouth won't move and all you can do is cry tears that come from the very innermost, deepest parts of your soul. Wow! What a difference a year can make!!!!
Susan's autobiography is HER story and she tells it well. People are so quick to judge others who are not like themselves but I'm here to tell you, this woman is one smart cookie, a heck of a lot smarter than many folks would have given her credit for. Her story is touching, happy, sad and will make you laugh, shake your head, cry, want to jump up and down and might even propel you to try the 'Susan wiggle', it worked for me! LOL
The quilt pictured in the book..."I" was one of those quilters and my "Angel" square is in the top RIGHT corner looking at the photo and I couldn't be prouder as I like to consider myself Susan's number one fan in Canada!!!
Susan, congratulations on your book and a story well told. You deserve all the riches and blessings this world has to give you.
The press who fawned over her and then turned on her. The family who struggled to adapt to the changes. The fears Susan faced and still faces today............
Susan's determination to turn 'disability' into 'ability' keeps her going, along with her Faith in God, her family, and the people who help her most along the way. You'll meet them all - but the person you'll never forget - is Susan Boyle.
Highly recommended - a Must Read.
On April 1, 2009, Susan Boyle's 48th birthday came and went without notice. Susan had no money, there was no party, no cards, no anything. It was just another day.
On April 1, 2010 Susan Boyle stood in the Famous Nippon Budokan in Tokyo Japan, in front of an 80 piece orchestra with which she had just sung several songs. She was wearing a diamond and gold bracelet, a gift from Simon Cowell and a beautiful gown designed especially for her. Susan stood there and listened as the 10,000 strong audience sang Happy Birthday while the orchestra played. In the audience were members from her fan site that had travelled from all over the globe just to hear her sing.
The difference a year makes! With humor, humility, wit and great honesty, Susan Boyle shares her incredible journey. The tears and the fears are there - but so too are the joys and the triumphs.
Reading Susan's story, one finally understands how her world was turned so upside down in one brief moment. Instant worldwide fame. The reader can't help but suffer with her as the press beseiges her unrelentingly and then turns on her at the most challenging time in her life - the week leading up to the BGT Final.
In the book, perhaps her former singing teacher and now long-time friend, Fred O'Neil says it best: "Susan Boyle is not an 'ordinary woman'. She is an extraordinary person who's got a different kind of voice and a different personality. She is not like any other person in the world."
I laughed out loud. And I wept. Courage is not being without fear. Courage is being afraid but going on anyway.
Susan Boyle's story is a story of courage.
Most recent customer reviews
the book his well written and the story of her life great well its her life after hallPublished 17 months ago by alma
I really enjoyed getting to know the story behind that voice and that personality.Published on July 11 2014 by Bonnie Glass
I really enjoyed this book. It is very well written and gives an insight into what Susan went through to get where she is today.
Very well told story.
I loved this book, we saw her sense of humour,her love for her parents, overcoming the challenges of her life, dealling with sudden fame, yet trying to lead a half normal life. Read morePublished on April 30 2013 by Coreen D.
Good day - this was actually a good read! I was one of the many touched by Susan and her voice and story. Read morePublished on April 2 2011 by T. L. Thomsen
A must read for all Susan Boyle fans. She tells it like it is in her own way. Excellent !!!Published on Jan. 5 2011 by Richard D. Graham
Was impressed with Susan's singing voice and her background as noted in the media and wanted to know more about this woman. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2010 by Jeanmac
This is an excellent read. I could not put it down when I started it; a very good story about overcoming adversities in life, a very good story about hope and faith. Read morePublished on Dec 7 2010 by Reinaliz
Susan Magdalane Boyle was born on 1 April 1961, the ninth child in her family. On 1 April 2009, she observed her 48th birthday quietly. Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2010 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith