Book Review: Dolly Parton, Dream More: Celebrate The Dreamer In You

Written by December 7th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Dolly Parton
Dream More: Celebrate The Dreamer In You
(Putnam)

Just in time for Christmas comes Parton’s book of inspirational wisdom that’s a perfect stocking stuffer for her fans.

In 2009, she delivered the commencement address at the University of Tennessee, and she expands it here in her typically exuberant and entertaining manner. With charm and humor, Parton regales us with tales from her life and career as she urges us to “dream of doing more with your life, learn from everything you see and do, care for everyone and everything that crosses your path, and be more than you ever dreamed you could become.”

As a young girl, Parton dreamed of performing at the Grand Ole Opry, and that dream carried her from her Tennessee mountain home to Nashville and the world. The realization of this first, and biggest, dream coming true always “eases the disappointment that comes from dreams that don’t turn out the way” she has envisioned them, so she encourages us to dream bigger, embrace the dreams that come true, and hold onto those dreams as a way of living through the dreams that don’t come true.

Parton counsels that “happiness is your commitment to appreciating all that is good in life,” and believes that you’re a happy person if you “love what you do,” “like yourself,” “enjoy other people,” “keep a good spiritual grip on things,” and “always pray for understanding and acceptance.”

Parton’s commitment to giving back to her community, helping children and parents learn to dream bigger, led her to start the Imagination Library in 1996. The goal of the program was to give every child in Sevier County, Tennessee, one book every month form the day they were born until the day they started kindergarten. To date, the program has given away over forty million books.

She pokes fun at herself with a series of often hilarious one-liners that comprise the “wit and wisdom of the Dolly-Mama” and the “truth, Dolly Style”: “The way I look is just a country girl’s idea of glam.”; “My feet are small for the same reason my waist is small—things don’t grow in the shade.”; “If it hadn’t been for music, I’d have been a beautician…Or maybe I’d have been a missionary; I’ve thought about that, too, but where would I get my hair done?”; “I had to get rich so I could afford to sing like I was poor again.”

Parton dispenses saccharine and simplistic wisdom, of course, but she’s an inspiration to thousands of fans, a dreamer who works hard to achieve her dreams, a generous supporter of young artists and musicians, a sharp businesswoman, and a songwriter and singer whose music provides the soundtrack for many people’s lives, and a country music fans and Parton’s fans everywhere will put this book right next to their 45s of “I Will Always Love You.”

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