Is there anyone better than Dolly Parton? The answer is no. Her new book, “Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics” (Chronicle Books, out Nov. 17), written with Nashville-based music journalist Robert K. Oermann, takes the reader on a delightful journey of all things Dolly, from her first song “Little Tiny Tasseltop,” about a corncob doll, that she penned as a girl (“Little tiny tasseltop, you’re the only friend I’ve got”) to her career, relationships, passions, literacy work and more.
“I have often said that songs are my children and that I expect them to support me when I’m old,” she writes. “Well, I am old, and they are!”
The book is filled with lyrics and little photographic gems, such as a picture of a colorful coat, lovingly handmade by her mother. “My mom made me this little coat,” she writes. “In order to make me proud of that little coat, I know now, she told me the story about Joseph from the Bible and his coat of many colors. So I thought, ‘Well, if it’s from the Bible, and Joseph was an important person, it has to be very special and important.’ ”
The kids at school made fun of her. “I was trying to tell them in my own way, ‘It ain’t about golden riches. You can be rich in love. In all sorts of wonderful things, you can be rich.’ ”
The book itself is rich in biographical details from Parton’s life and career, a gorgeous tribute to a lifetime of music and storytelling.
“I never shied away from any topic, whether it was suicide or prostitution or women’s rights or whatever,” she writes. “I was always like that and still am. Whatever it is, I can say it in a song, in my own way.”
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