It is fitting that the most unusual memoir I have ever read is penned by the woman who created the record She’s So Unusual. Cyndi Lauper’s self-titled memoir is honest, passionate and above all, brassy and brave. While typically, an autobiographer (memoirist) is always conscious of what they say and may censor or edit their past a little, Lauper writes as if she has nothing to lose and with her beliefs and convictions firmly in hand.
Granted, it may take some people time understand her style and to her stream of consciousness; she writes as if she’s telling you the story, but also goes off on tangents. However, soon you will be engrossed in the tales about her wayward hitchhiking youth, her artsy days in New York and her international touring and you will see this superstar in a new light. I took for granted how much I have enjoyed her music and her fashion style and realized what an impact she has on current pop music; both Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj praise her as an icon.
Lauper’s heart is in everything she has ever done. From her True Colors Fund (to help fund gay and lesbian programs) to every album cover for her records; she always knows what she wants and refuses to back down. The tales of battling with record execs are numerous and Lauper admits to saying things she should not have said at the time, but she is determined to go her own way.
The honesty of the writing shines through in all the little stories she tells. She has no problem painting herself as the sinner or the saint, depending on the case. Some stories are heartbreaking but with Lauper, there is always have some humor in it. She freely admits to having dark times and how friends and family helped her through it, like the story of how she spent two weeks in Algonquin Park when she was in her early 20’s. She got the idea from a friend to just go to the park to study the trees, and next thing you know, she’s alone in the woods with her dog and an axe. The another thing I appreciated in this memoir was Lauper’s willingness to admit her faults and never brags of her talents. She is humbled by her success and does what she can to support the people and things she loves.
Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir is a memorable read, with all the spirit and joy of the artist herself. Whether you are a fan of She’s So Unusual or her True Colors work, you will want to read this book and understand while even in hard times, color will always shine through.
Erin Fahy is a writer for the Spectator Tribune.
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