Authors:  LaDonna Gatlin and Mike Marino

ISBN:  0757316220

LaDonna Gatlin swallows 31 sleeping pills in the middle of the afternoon. The next thing she knows, she awakes in a hospital bed with her husband, family members, and a nurse calling her name, urging her to wake up. After being diagnosed with depression, she checks into a psychiatric ward. There she is asked, “Why are you here?”

   “Attempted suicide,” she says.

    Then the second question, “What do you do for a living?”

    “I’m a motivational speaker.” How ironic is that? How humiliating?

In The Song in You: Finding Your Voice, Redefining Your Life, LaDonna opens her heart and reveals what she learned through the deep valleys and mountain top experiences of her life. She challenges readers by asking, “Are you happy where you are, or do you sense there’s something more, something deep inside of you that’s yet undiscovered?” She goes on to say, “We all have a song to sing, a special something that sets us apart as worthy and unique.”

LaDonna was born into a musical family. While in college, she joined the Blackwood Singers and subsequently performed with the biggest venues in cities around the world. In the 1980s, her brothers formed the Gatlin Brothers and had ten top ten records and two number one hits. They won Gold, Platinum, Grammy, and Best Country Song awards. But this mountain top high slid into the valley of despair when Larry found himself on his hands and knees on his hotel room carpet sniffing fibers for cocaine.

Both LaDonna and Larry came to a point where they had to redefine their lives in order to survive.

This book is part memoir, part inspirational self-help. With compassion, LaDonna shares with readers what worked for her and what can work for others. My favorite part of the book is in chapter 5 where the author lists famous people who suffered failure but then on to become huge successes. I learned that John Grisham’s first novel was rejected by 16 agents and 12 publishing houses. Undeterred, Grisham continued writing until he became the mega-star author of legal thrillers that he is today.

Personally, the one thing that I found distracting was the constant and improper use of the exclamation point. In literature, the exclamation point is to be used only when someone is shouting, such as when a person yells, “Fire!” The writer is not supposed to use an exclamation point for (a) surprising facts, (b) interesting statistics, (c) interesting sentences, (4) statements the author likes. Typically, a good book contains between zero and one exclamation point. In this book, exclamation points clutter up the writing throughout. The first paragraph has an exclamation point after every sentence, which I found annoying. It’s a mystery as to why the copyeditor didn’t nix the exclamations.

 Nevertheless, The Song in You is a good addition to your library if you like uplifting memoirs and inspirational self-help books. You’ll find the Gatlin family story interesting and there are many good nuggets to take hold of and apply to your own life.


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