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Legendary and iconic singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper offers a poignant account of the journey that led her to become an international superstar—from her years growing up in Queens, New York, to the making of enduring hits like “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “True Colors,” to becoming an actress, a mother, an outspoken activist, and maintaining a music Legendary and iconic singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper offers a poignant account of the journey that led her to become an international superstar—from her years growing up in Queens, New York, to the making of enduring hits like “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “True Colors,” to becoming an actress, a mother, an outspoken activist, and maintaining a music career that has lasted more than thirty years. After leaving her childhood home at seventeen, Cyndi took on a series of jobs: racetrack hot walker, IHOP waitress, and, as she puts it, “gal Friday the thirteenth,” as she pursued her passion for music. She worked her way up playing small gigs and broke out in 1983 with She’s So Unusual, which earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist and made her the first female artist in history to have four top-five singles on a debut album. And while global fame wasn’t always what she expected, she has remained focused on what matters most. Cyndi is a gutsy real-life heroine who has never been afraid to speak her mind and stick up for a cause—whether it’s women’s rights, gay rights, or fighting against HIV/AIDS. With her trademark warmth and humor, Cyndi fearlessly writes of a life she’s lived only on her own terms.


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Legendary and iconic singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper offers a poignant account of the journey that led her to become an international superstar—from her years growing up in Queens, New York, to the making of enduring hits like “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “True Colors,” to becoming an actress, a mother, an outspoken activist, and maintaining a music Legendary and iconic singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper offers a poignant account of the journey that led her to become an international superstar—from her years growing up in Queens, New York, to the making of enduring hits like “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “True Colors,” to becoming an actress, a mother, an outspoken activist, and maintaining a music career that has lasted more than thirty years. After leaving her childhood home at seventeen, Cyndi took on a series of jobs: racetrack hot walker, IHOP waitress, and, as she puts it, “gal Friday the thirteenth,” as she pursued her passion for music. She worked her way up playing small gigs and broke out in 1983 with She’s So Unusual, which earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist and made her the first female artist in history to have four top-five singles on a debut album. And while global fame wasn’t always what she expected, she has remained focused on what matters most. Cyndi is a gutsy real-life heroine who has never been afraid to speak her mind and stick up for a cause—whether it’s women’s rights, gay rights, or fighting against HIV/AIDS. With her trademark warmth and humor, Cyndi fearlessly writes of a life she’s lived only on her own terms.

30 review for Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    I can appreciate that this book was meant to be like a conversation with Cyndi Lauper. What I cannot appreciate is that the writer didn't organize the ramblings into a cohesive, progressive story. Cyndi Lauper's life is pretty interesting, but the rambling messiness of the book was off-putting. I was not invested in the book, and I had to force myself to finish reading it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I picked up this book based on a recommendation I heard on Sirius radio from former MTV VJ, Mark Goodman, who said he found the book fascinating. Unfortunately, I personally stopped reading after a few chapters just because I couldn't get interested in her story. Which is disappointing considering I paid $26 for the hardback version of the memoir. The main issue I have with this memoir (and I am a BIG fan of memoirs in general), is Cyndi's story begins on one note, then she immediately, by page I picked up this book based on a recommendation I heard on Sirius radio from former MTV VJ, Mark Goodman, who said he found the book fascinating. Unfortunately, I personally stopped reading after a few chapters just because I couldn't get interested in her story. Which is disappointing considering I paid $26 for the hardback version of the memoir. The main issue I have with this memoir (and I am a BIG fan of memoirs in general), is Cyndi's story begins on one note, then she immediately, by page two, shifts into another story sprung from her initial thought. The rambling continues and I kept wondering where was the editor to say, 'Stick to the topic, Cyndi. THE TOPIC AT HAND.' Cyndi would start a thought then immediately shift to ... 'oh look, a squirrel.' Perhaps that's part of Cyndi's charm that she's a free spirit and I'd imagine that, in real life, this is probably how a conversation with her would progress. However, for a memoir there has to be some consistency in the story, a pattern of events that are tied together to make the story flow. This almost felt like Cyndi was writing a note to a friend in junior high, detailing her thoughts in no particular order as only 13 year old girls could understand. Would probably recommend to a Super Fan who wants to know the 'inside story', but for someone who admires her music but isn't really a deep and abiding follower, I'd say pass.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    1984 was a great year. There is the famous book “1984”, the song “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was #1 and made Cyndi Lauper a household name, and most importantly: I was born! Okay, okay, back to Cyndi Lauper. Love her or hate her, you certainly know who she is. Cyndi Lauper opens up her world in “Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir”. The main striking factor in “Cyndi Lauper” is the memoir’s tone. As expected, Lauper is very direct and unapologetic with everything she says. Starting with a background bio; L 1984 was a great year. There is the famous book “1984”, the song “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was #1 and made Cyndi Lauper a household name, and most importantly: I was born! Okay, okay, back to Cyndi Lauper. Love her or hate her, you certainly know who she is. Cyndi Lauper opens up her world in “Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir”. The main striking factor in “Cyndi Lauper” is the memoir’s tone. As expected, Lauper is very direct and unapologetic with everything she says. Starting with a background bio; Lauper doesn’t follow the protocol of other celebrity memoirs which include begging for either pity or compliments. Lauper simply states the facts and moves on. Although this is a sigh of relief for regular readers of memoirs, Lauper also seems to be detached in her storytelling. Many of the events are emotional, dramatic, and told for the first time; and yet Lauper fails to offer deep insight or a proper arc to the events. This results in unanswered questions from the reader. Lauper also has the tendency to strike off on tangents which breaks the reader’s pace. Although she does revisit the former topic, at that point, facts are repeated and result in “You’ve already said that” moments. Another weak aspect is Lauper’s constant attempts to convince the reader that she didn’t care about things (e.g. she didn’t care about people’s opinions of her singing, of her clothing, or her choice of men). However, if one feels the need to convince others continuously, then generally, the opposite is felt (meaning: she did/does care). There are also apparent differences in the tones and the writing styles of Lauper and her contributor Jancee Dunn. It was quite obvious when Dunn would take the foreground. Plus, events which should have had more details (such as personal effects); were shaded by discussions on Lauper’s career. This left something to be desired. Despite the negatives, “Cyndi Lauper” IS meatier, more mature, and much less annoying than other celebrity memoirs. Lauper is more relatable than expected and her life evokes page-turning. Sadly though, there are times when Lauper sounds too much like she is preaching about her charitable causes in the guise of explaining them. Although a minor detail, the chapters are too long and don’t provide proper breaks (the “breathing” of the memoir is off). Also annoying was Lauper’s overuse of speaking directly to the reader and saying such phrases as, “Where were we?” and “Back to…” each time she digressed (which is often). Her regular mention of Lady Gaga is also not necessary for discussion. The latter end of “Cyndi Lauper” focused strenuously on her career and activisms but still lacked the true attachment in storytelling. Something was missing making the text flat and the ending weak. Not to mention, the memoir’s ending felt abrupt, cut-off, and without a proper rounded conclusion. Overall, however, “Cyndi Lauper” is much better than many other celebrity memoirs on the book shelves. Instead of focusing on drug use, parties, or sex; Lauper instead shows her genuine artistic side. Her passion for music, music theory, and fans is undeniable and it is unusual nowadays for a musician to truly care about the music. Lauper is the “Real Deal” is in this respect. Although it may not be the best book available, comparing “Cyndi Lauper” to other memoirs makes it worthy of being better than average.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    She's is so unusual but in the best possible way. It's incredible to see that she has gone through so much and yet remains a very positive person who wants to help others. I especially like the conversational style, it really feels like she's talking to you and only you at times. I always liked her music but I had no idea that she sang the Blues. This book has a very positive message not only for women and young LGBT people but also for those of us who could use a little of inspiration to try and h She's is so unusual but in the best possible way. It's incredible to see that she has gone through so much and yet remains a very positive person who wants to help others. I especially like the conversational style, it really feels like she's talking to you and only you at times. I always liked her music but I had no idea that she sang the Blues. This book has a very positive message not only for women and young LGBT people but also for those of us who could use a little of inspiration to try and help others and make a difference in the world. Way to go Cyndi and thank you for all you've done for us!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Harrison

    Just finished Cyndi Lauper's memoir. She chose well in Jancee Dunn who captures Lauper's voice so well. There were a few draggy parts, but mostly a well told hoot. She is not shy about dissing stars who steal her ideas and style and she drops a lotta names, which is always fun. I'm always interested in the process, and Lauper does not disappoint. She puts it down, just how she works, composes, and arranges. One thing I wanted her to talk about was a Joni Mitchell tribute she was part of. She did Just finished Cyndi Lauper's memoir. She chose well in Jancee Dunn who captures Lauper's voice so well. There were a few draggy parts, but mostly a well told hoot. She is not shy about dissing stars who steal her ideas and style and she drops a lotta names, which is always fun. I'm always interested in the process, and Lauper does not disappoint. She puts it down, just how she works, composes, and arranges. One thing I wanted her to talk about was a Joni Mitchell tribute she was part of. She did mention Joni but not the tribute--I never bought a Cyndi Lauper record but I did watch her on Celebrity Apprentice. She's real and original. She blew me away with her Mitchell tribute and that's saying a lot when Diana Krall plays A Case of You on piano in the same set. I watched her performance (I typed in Cyndi Lauper Joni Mitchell tribute and it popped right up) again on YouTube and it is just as good--if not better--because now I know what she is doing up there. She's singing sure, she's putting her own stamp on it, yes, but she's also aiming for a sweet spot that puts her into the heart of the music and the song. She comes off as a really likable person and someone who treats her as "less than" usually finds out she is more than willing to prove them wrong.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    She had me in the first paragraph: leaving an abusive home with a toothbrush, clean underpants, and Yoko Ono's Grapefruit. She had me in tears by the end of the first chapter, talking about the history of abuse and oppression in generations of women in her family and how it made her initially reject doing "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," afraid it would send a bad message. But she decided to turn it into an anthem and rallying cry. From go, Cyndi addresses sexism throughout her life. It is a major She had me in the first paragraph: leaving an abusive home with a toothbrush, clean underpants, and Yoko Ono's Grapefruit. She had me in tears by the end of the first chapter, talking about the history of abuse and oppression in generations of women in her family and how it made her initially reject doing "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," afraid it would send a bad message. But she decided to turn it into an anthem and rallying cry. From go, Cyndi addresses sexism throughout her life. It is a major theme of the book, and rightly so. She openly shit talks her music idols whenever they're shitty old boys' club attitude disappoints her. She has a strong artistic point of view and does a fantastic job throughout the book of describing her process for developing the sound of specific songs and visuals of stage productions. I'm always disappointed when I read music autobiographies that don't really describe the music, but this is a fantastic exception. This autobiography, more than any other I've read, is clearly transcribed from interviews with Cyndi. It is conversational, it is distracted, there is a lot of swearing. I loved it, I heard her voice and personality so clearly. For better or worse, in life and in this book Cyndi has no filter. Overall, it's charming and often funny. The few places it faltered for me were when she accuses other artists of ripping her off, and when she mentions dieting to keep her figure slim. She is so passionate and articulate about the ways in which women and queers are oppressed by society, and has done amazing work to combat this, that's it's a disappointment to see her not make the connection with body image.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Cyndi Lauper’s autobiography begins with her running away from home to escape her step-father the sexual predator. Things don’t get much better for her for quite some time- some truly horrific things happen to her on her way to success. And success is illusive- for all Lauper’s hard work, hit records, and Grammy nominations, she has never become as rich and famous as one would think she should be. Recognition didn’t come to Lauper until she was thirty. Through her twenties, she worked menial job Cyndi Lauper’s autobiography begins with her running away from home to escape her step-father the sexual predator. Things don’t get much better for her for quite some time- some truly horrific things happen to her on her way to success. And success is illusive- for all Lauper’s hard work, hit records, and Grammy nominations, she has never become as rich and famous as one would think she should be. Recognition didn’t come to Lauper until she was thirty. Through her twenties, she worked menial jobs, sang in cover bands, and was never taken seriously, even by her own band mates- she was even sexually assaulted by some of them. She gave free rein to her eccentric style (which has been copied endlessly) and didn’t pull any punches about what she thought, and these habits didn’t endear her to record execs. And so much of the time, she just has had plain bad luck. It’s not that she is blaming fate for her own short fallings; she readily admits when she screws up. This woman never stops working, and, I suspect, never will. Her creative force is just too strong. She describes how she works, and it’s remarkable how she dissects music and puts it back together in new ways. The book is written like you’re sitting down with Lauper, listening to her tell her story. She narrates with an immediacy that puts you right in the scene. She also digresses like she were sitting in front of you talking. This is not a dry, moment by moment biography! I highly recommend this if you’re a fan.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    If you like Cyndi Lauper you should read this book. If you're not a fan probably skip it. Obvious, right? Well some memoirs are more universally appealing than this one. It feels like she's talking to you and telling you stories in a stream of consciousness kind of way. The down side is that while her stories are mostly chronological, they skip around and aren't well organized. And often she doesn't give you enough background information to truly understand why something is interesting. I wish s If you like Cyndi Lauper you should read this book. If you're not a fan probably skip it. Obvious, right? Well some memoirs are more universally appealing than this one. It feels like she's talking to you and telling you stories in a stream of consciousness kind of way. The down side is that while her stories are mostly chronological, they skip around and aren't well organized. And often she doesn't give you enough background information to truly understand why something is interesting. I wish she would have let her co-writer have a little more control. The last few chapters I actually avoided because I was getting bored. And I'm a fan. The photos in the book are totally great and plentiful.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kirk

    The first 50 pages or so meander a lot, but after a while the story gets on track and remains pretty linear, save brief digressions. I was mainly interested in her life story up to the mid 90s, so the last 100 pages or so were not as captivating. But from around 50 pages to page 250 I hit the sweet spot and had a really good time with this book. Learned some cool shit about her videos and the parts of her life I grew up watching as a kid. The story of her rise and fall and then sort of evening o The first 50 pages or so meander a lot, but after a while the story gets on track and remains pretty linear, save brief digressions. I was mainly interested in her life story up to the mid 90s, so the last 100 pages or so were not as captivating. But from around 50 pages to page 250 I hit the sweet spot and had a really good time with this book. Learned some cool shit about her videos and the parts of her life I grew up watching as a kid. The story of her rise and fall and then sort of evening out was really nice. She didn’t get some wild, dramatic redemption. But she also didn’t just sputter out either. And she always tried to be an agent of positive change. So: It has been snowing here for a few days now, and I’m not sure if it is the change or season or what, but this is the first book I have read in a while that I really felt. Not emotion. Just connection. I have always thought there is some nearly intangible thread that connects us all or connects everything. I felt my childhood. Felt New York City. Felt the small studio settings. Felt luxury and poverty. I don’t know if it is me, maybe just a day where my dopamine levels are elevated or normal, or if it is the energy of the author sort of radiating out into the world through their work, but man, I felt this one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    "God loves all the flowers, even the ones that grow on the side of the road." The music career of Cyndi Lauper (1953-) is long and fascinating, which she chronicles along with her tireless advocacy for the LGBT community in "Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir" co-authored with Jancee Dunn. The photos in her book show Cyndi and her sister Elen, in pretty dresses not looking quite so happy, which somewhat summed up her childhood, with her mothers marriages to inappropriate men. Cyndi lived with others as a teen "God loves all the flowers, even the ones that grow on the side of the road." The music career of Cyndi Lauper (1953-) is long and fascinating, which she chronicles along with her tireless advocacy for the LGBT community in "Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir" co-authored with Jancee Dunn. The photos in her book show Cyndi and her sister Elen, in pretty dresses not looking quite so happy, which somewhat summed up her childhood, with her mothers marriages to inappropriate men. Cyndi lived with others as a teen, including a home for runaways leaving home with her dog Sparkle. With a series of service jobs she worked to support herself she joined her first band in 1974, Flyer (1976), Blue Angel (1978). She was involved in a lawsuit (1982) with her ex-manager Elliot Hoffman for the rights to her songs/recording material before the commercial success of her first album. The judge declared: "Let the Canary sing!" and won the case. The 1983 blockbuster hit album "Shes So Unusual" made Lauper a superstar, she couldn't go anywhere without mass hysteria. She was the first female vocalist to have 4-5 hits on a debut album, fusing the electronic dance beat with Reggae. Appearing on the May 1984 cover of Rolling Stone, she sported an anti-fashion or "grab bag fashion" wearing fishnet stockings and high top tennis shoes with her colorful outfits. Ms. Magazine voted her as one of the "Women of the Year". With her greater influence and popularity Lauper became highly outspoken for women's rights and the LGBT community. In mixing music and art, Lauper wrote in great detail about song writing, preforming, touring, working with other musicians and related professionals. The more interesting details of her personal life are closely edited, very little revealed, clearly making this book less appealing. For example, it was difficult to tell if Lauper married David Keith who she dated before she actually married David Thorton in 1991. Readers will need to check online for specific details. Lauper writes most passionately about her advocacy for the LGBT community, and especially for her friend Gregory Natal who died of HIV/AIDS in 1985. Lauper recalls the wide spread misconception and hysteria related to the epidemic in the 1980's, the loss of many friends, also gay bashing and hate crimes. Lauper was instrumental in the passing of President Obama's 2009 "Hate Crimes Act". The "True Colors" tours and funding further support the LGBT community, and a 30 bed shelter in Harlem for LGBT youth. In 2005 Lauper was awarded the highest honor of the National Equality Award for her work in the community and support of marriage equality. There are pages of good personal photographs.

  11. 5 out of 5

    jess

    I loved this book deeply. It felt like hanging out with Cyndi Lauper for several hours, only she turned out to be cooler than I expected - which is saying a lot because she is a long-time personal idol. She writes extremely conversationally about fashion, music, art, performance, love, touring, record labels and feminism, often within the same breath. She is such an Artist, totally in her own world and trying to control every aspect of her performance (which is to say, her life). She is constant I loved this book deeply. It felt like hanging out with Cyndi Lauper for several hours, only she turned out to be cooler than I expected - which is saying a lot because she is a long-time personal idol. She writes extremely conversationally about fashion, music, art, performance, love, touring, record labels and feminism, often within the same breath. She is such an Artist, totally in her own world and trying to control every aspect of her performance (which is to say, her life). She is constantly frustrated by money and people in power, but she's got the beat and she believes in her vision. She makes it clear from the introduction that she does not believe that woman are shallow and 'just wanna have fun.' Her intent was for that song to be an anthem for women. She writes about the violence, both exceptional and every day, that women experience. From her mother's peeping boyfriend to radio label execs and Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi calls out sexism and misogyny on nearly every page. Cyndi feels a deep commitment to outsiders and marginalized people. She feels, especially, a lot of feelings for the lgbtqi community. Her sister is a lesbian and her long-time friend-family seems to be mostly gay men. She writes tenderly about her friend's death, the partner he left behind, and all the songs she wrote and charities she funded in his memory. He left her his bedazzled Miss Piggy. She writes, "Gregory and Carl bejeweled almost everything they touched -- even me." This memoir lacked the tender, poetic prose of Just Kids, but that's the only not-positive thing I could say about it. It was hilarious and enjoyable.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Neil McGarry

    I'm a pretty big fan of Cyndi Lauper, and I like reading about the music industry, so when I received, "Cyndi Lauper, A Memoir" as a gift, I was delighted on two counts. As it turns out, I was slightly disappointed on both. A memoir is a history, and in my view history is best taught as a story, because that's what people respond to. Obviously, real life never has a beginning and an end, but a good storyteller can make it seem that way. Lauper and co-writer Jancee Dunn never quite meet this stand I'm a pretty big fan of Cyndi Lauper, and I like reading about the music industry, so when I received, "Cyndi Lauper, A Memoir" as a gift, I was delighted on two counts. As it turns out, I was slightly disappointed on both. A memoir is a history, and in my view history is best taught as a story, because that's what people respond to. Obviously, real life never has a beginning and an end, but a good storyteller can make it seem that way. Lauper and co-writer Jancee Dunn never quite meet this standard. "A Memoir" is told in much the same way Lauper might tell you her story at a party: in chronological order, more or less, with frequent long asides that make it hard to remember what the hell you're reading. Lauper has obviously had a life jam-packed with interesting and even outrageous experiences, but because her storytelling style is so scatter-shot the reader never feels the wonder. The best memoirs adhere to a theme, but for the life of me I can't figure out Lauper's. She's highly artistic, very sensitive, terrible with money, and with no filter between brain and mouth, but I still don't understand the theme of her life. Yes, I have already said that life is not a story, but a memoir is, and it therefore needs a theme. I'm surprised that a major publishing house, outfitted with editors and sundry other professionals, did not act to correct these shortcomings, but perhaps they thought it was better to let Lauper speak in her own voice. If so, she needs a bit of guidance, which I'm sorry to say she did not receive. It pains me to give such an ardent supporter of gay rights a two-star review, but I can't in good conscience rate "Cyndi Lauper, A Memoir" any higher than that.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sian Lile-Pastore

    gah. i like cyndi but i didn't really get into her book. my main issue was the style which i wasn't wild about - take this bit 'the trip really was devastating. When you see devastation like that - well, it's devastating.' also i wasn't keen about the way she wrote about gay issues - it came from a good place on her part, but I (and I'm guessing most of the people reading this book) don't need to be told that it's ok to be gay as if we are all big homophobes. i also got fed up pretty quickly of ho gah. i like cyndi but i didn't really get into her book. my main issue was the style which i wasn't wild about - take this bit 'the trip really was devastating. When you see devastation like that - well, it's devastating.' also i wasn't keen about the way she wrote about gay issues - it came from a good place on her part, but I (and I'm guessing most of the people reading this book) don't need to be told that it's ok to be gay as if we are all big homophobes. i also got fed up pretty quickly of how many times she told us that she was different than other people and how she always said the wrong things to the right people... there was also a lot about how Gaga and others admire her and copy her... even Barak Obama told her that Gaga stole her moves! (or something) and she doesn't seem to like Bruce Springsteen or Jeff Goldblum which was a bit of a blow. Despite all this there were some bits I enjoyed - mainly her early days in music... sorry cyndi.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mark Ryan

    Choppy in parts but a good read. Lauper's style will either draw you in or put you off.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I love Cyndi Lauper. I don’t know if it’s because of my childhood memories sneaking downstairs at night to watch her play Avalon Bones, watching The Goonies with my family, or long car rides with my mom singing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Whatever the reason is for loving her, when I learned she had a memoir I knew I had to find a copy. I don't think that words can describe Cyndi Lauper or her life. In her memoir, she talks about leaving home at 17 to escape her stepfather, and how she works her w I love Cyndi Lauper. I don’t know if it’s because of my childhood memories sneaking downstairs at night to watch her play Avalon Bones, watching The Goonies with my family, or long car rides with my mom singing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Whatever the reason is for loving her, when I learned she had a memoir I knew I had to find a copy. I don't think that words can describe Cyndi Lauper or her life. In her memoir, she talks about leaving home at 17 to escape her stepfather, and how she works her way up the latter of fame. Something I loved about reading this memoir is that it gave a deeper meaning to her music. Growing up listening to "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" in the car, I had no idea what it was about. To me, it was a catchy song I hummed or sung whenever I had the chance. I loved learning the meaning behind it because now I am able to appreciate that it's more than just the average catchy pop song (this also applies to the other songs that she talked about and gave backstory to). Another part of the book I loved was when she began to be meet other famous musicians. She talked about learning to love peoples art despite the person who made it, I think that's an important message. I'm not saying support and appreciate every sexist/racist person who can carry a tune or draw a straight line or get a million followers on Instagram just be able to appreciate the work they put into art/made they made. Something I didn't enjoy about the memoir was how there was a lack of transition. I can appreciate how she never slowed down (one of the reasons I kept picking it up) but sometimes I had to go back a page to see when and how the topic changed. Along with the not great/non-existing transitions, the flow of the story was almost never right. At least the events of the book were mostly told in chronological order with the exception of a few small time jumps. Another thing I didn't enjoy is the whole time reading this book something felt off, maybe it was the lack of transitions or the almost non-existing flow, or maybe it was something else altogether. I love Cyndi, and I love her music but I do not love her book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    A pretty good read. I could really "hear" her voice in this memoir. She writes of her sometimes difficult childhood. up to about 2012. She worked many odd jobs until she started to find success as a singer. She is pretty honest about her experiences in show Biz.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    From Books That Rock Us: http://booksthatrockus.blogspot.com/2... These days, it isn't enough to show admiration for a favorite musician or actor. You have to be on somebody's team. Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob, Team Gale or Team Peeta? Ever notice you don't hear much about Team Bella or Team Katniss - it's as though both need a man to be complete. But, I'm getting off track here. The reason I bring up the team concept in the first place is because one could argue it has its roots in the earl From Books That Rock Us: http://booksthatrockus.blogspot.com/2... These days, it isn't enough to show admiration for a favorite musician or actor. You have to be on somebody's team. Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob, Team Gale or Team Peeta? Ever notice you don't hear much about Team Bella or Team Katniss - it's as though both need a man to be complete. But, I'm getting off track here. The reason I bring up the team concept in the first place is because one could argue it has its roots in the earlier pop culture. The Beatles versus the Stones, etc. I'm dating myself here, but I still remember reading in the teen pop magazines of this supposed rivalry between Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. We were led to believe they hated each other, and vied aggressively for the same fan base - like there wasn't room for both in our Sony Walkmans (see the dating I did here). So it did come as some surprise to read in Cyndi's memoir that the two, while not the best of buds, actually got along in the brief moments their paths crossed. In reading the rest of the book, control appears to be a major theme in Cyndi's life, in particular a lifelong struggle to hold onto it and make the right decisions, even if they don't result in phenomenal professional success. One thing I am reminded of in Cyndi Lauper is how her solo career exploded. We marvel now about Lady Gaga's meteoric rise to fame, but it's important to note Cyndi was no different thirty years prior. She's So Unusual was fricking huge for its time: four songs hit the Billboard Top 5, a feat no other solo female artist had managed before then. An album's release timed with MTV's infancy (and perhaps peak) only helped project her voice and unique style. As a middle school Catholic girl on the westside of Jacksonville, Florida, I was enthralled. People didn't look like Cyndi Lauper where I lived, or dance with reckless abandon down busy streets, not giving a damn what other people thought. It was awesome. Cyndi didn't display the blatant sexuality of Madonna or the endless string of clones that popped and fizzled in subsequent years, which was something I had always liked about Cyndi. Yes, she looked unusual, but she had the talent to back it up. It used to baffle me that she kind of disappeared after two albums. Yeah, she'd show up in a movie or TV show, but not the way Madonna did. Well, now I know why. Cyndi's frank account of the progression of her career in music is laid out in her unfiltered voice. It's a true lesson for anybody who's sought the attention of a record label. When you read of her successes you want to be happy for her, but as Cyndi tells it even at the heights somebody wants to give you a reason to look down. It's not enough to have one of the biggest selling albums of decade - you have to carry home an armload of trophies and sell out every show. If you don't, and refuse the tow the line, the label finds another way to spend the marketing budget. Cyndi's determination to remain the architect of her career helped her grow professionally despite her superiors looking for artists who would play nice. What you do learn in this book is that Cyndi never went away. A harrowing history of abuse and disappointments helped toughen her for work conflicts, while life with friends in the early days of AIDS strengthened her compassion and determination to speak for equal rights. Readers may be drawn to Cyndi Lauper the way fans are to reunion tours, as an opportunity to relish nostalgia. Reading Cyndi's autobiography not only sparked memories of a girl who wanted to have fun, but allowed me to appreciation a woman who continues to find her own fun, her way.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    My first memory of Cyndi Lauper was when I was a junior in college, and "Money Changes Everything" was a big hit. In the video, Cyndi Lauper kicks a garbage can...and my roommate and I would blast the music and pretend to kick things. You know...the silly things one does in college! Then when I was in Japan in the late 1980s, both Cyndi Lauper and Madonna were all the rage. I bought her "True Colors" cassette tape (yes, that's right--that's how old I am) and I loved her unique sense of style, whi My first memory of Cyndi Lauper was when I was a junior in college, and "Money Changes Everything" was a big hit. In the video, Cyndi Lauper kicks a garbage can...and my roommate and I would blast the music and pretend to kick things. You know...the silly things one does in college! Then when I was in Japan in the late 1980s, both Cyndi Lauper and Madonna were all the rage. I bought her "True Colors" cassette tape (yes, that's right--that's how old I am) and I loved her unique sense of style, which was appealing to this woman whose mom once told her, "Marie--you have a style all your own!" In that era I had short, spiky hair with a tail (wish I had a photo) and I've always been drawn to colorful clothing. Lauper was a true pioneer in the 1980s, inspiring many of today's edgy artists such as Lady Gaga, Nikki Minaj, and Pink. Then a few summers ago we went to see Cyndi Lauper perform at the Oregon Zoo after she'd made her blues album, "Memphis Blues." She was a dynamic, compelling, and talented performer, who had essentially reinvented herself as a blues singer. She even had blues legend Charlie Musselwhite on tour with her. When she sang "True Colors," I cried along with most of the audience. Cyndi Lauper's memoir is very much like her personality--all over the place. Writer Jancee Dunn manages to capture Lauper's voice and style in her writing. The narrative jumps around a bit, and she digresses, just as Lauper does...you can practically hear her distinctive voice jumping off the page. She seemed to have a reasonably happy childhood and she was loved by her mom and siblings, but she never really fit in. She ran away when she was in high school because of a lecherous stepfather. What I admire the most about her is her crazy sense of self-confidence and self-assurance, even at a young age. She took herself off camping in Canada completely alone as a young woman--the only companion she had was her dog Sparkles. She has always been passionately committed to her ideals of justice, and she's also been committed to making great art--both musically and visually. When she started to get successful and make records (after some awful experiences with some of her initial bands, including once when she was raped by her former bandmates), she was screwed over by record company executives, who wanted to make her into someone else--more marketable and less assertive. At times, the book digressed into the details of each record production, and I began scanning...but I enjoyed reading about how she met her husband David and had her son, Declyn, after struggling with bad endiometriosis. She has become a passionate advocate for LGBT justice, beginning with her friendship with Gregory, or "Boy Blue," who died of AIDS in the 1980s. Her beloved sister Elen also is a lesbian. I also learned that she has a strong connection to Japan, and she landed in Japan right after the big earthquake and tsunami and stayed there to give back to the Japanese people, who were mourning the devastation in their country. I have a much bigger appreciation for Cyndi Lauper's music now...and I'm glad I read this book. Steer clear if you don't like salty language!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jolanta Stephens

    Cyndi Lauper has been a large part of my life from the time I was born. In fact, 'my song' was Time After Time as it was my mum's favourite song at the time she gave birth to me, so Cyndi was always going to be a part of my life. I remember discovering her record album "She's so Unusual", I was intrigued by the colourful lady on the front of it. Needless to say, once I played it, I was hooked. From then on, I idolised her. I dressed up like her, I cut my hair like her, a tried to sing like her. S Cyndi Lauper has been a large part of my life from the time I was born. In fact, 'my song' was Time After Time as it was my mum's favourite song at the time she gave birth to me, so Cyndi was always going to be a part of my life. I remember discovering her record album "She's so Unusual", I was intrigued by the colourful lady on the front of it. Needless to say, once I played it, I was hooked. From then on, I idolised her. I dressed up like her, I cut my hair like her, a tried to sing like her. So needless to say, when she came to Adelaide recently, Mum and I had to go. And this is where we bought her book. I was chomping at the bit to read this book, especially after seeing her in concert. But I wasn't prepared for what it contained. And I was surprised at how little I actually knew about my idol. When you think about a star, you think fame, fortune, loads of cash, hit after hit and a lavish life. You never really think about where they came from and the struggles they may have endured to get where they were. The hardships were especially prevalent for Cyndi. She is not backward in coming forward about telling it all, and there were many times in the book that were quite confronting. I was so surprised to read about just how hard her struggles were to get where she was, and even after that, how she continued to struggle as a Rock and Roll woman in a man's world. I was even more surprised to read about how she isn't living a lavish life, how down to earth she is, and how inspirational she is. I have never read about someone so active in the community with her fingers in so many pies! She really, truly is inspirational. The only complaint I have about the book is that it really does dip and rise a lot in interest, there are times where it is a real page turner, and other times I felt I could just skim read over. She also writes like she speaks (which isn't necessarily bad) but that means there are a lot of stories flowing one to the next and digressions, which can sometimes make it necessary to really concentrate on what you are reading. All in all, even if you don't know much about Cyndi and her music, you should read her memoir as a testament to women's rights, GLBT rights and just good old rock and roll music.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Cyndi Lauper’s memoir spares us the often tedious details of an artist’s childhood. She gives enough back story for the reader to appreciate Lauper’s sense of being an outsider, of not fitting in. She moves quickly to the fascinating account of her creative process of songwriting, singing, and arranging. She talks about the people and situations that prompted many of her songs. While she does write about failed employment and relationship issues, these do not overwhelm the book. The focus remain Cyndi Lauper’s memoir spares us the often tedious details of an artist’s childhood. She gives enough back story for the reader to appreciate Lauper’s sense of being an outsider, of not fitting in. She moves quickly to the fascinating account of her creative process of songwriting, singing, and arranging. She talks about the people and situations that prompted many of her songs. While she does write about failed employment and relationship issues, these do not overwhelm the book. The focus remains on what is the one true element of Cyndi Lauper’s life-singing. Lauper’s writing style is brash, and relatively uncensored. She has not been edited out of her own memoir. Her voice is not polished, which makes her words dance on the page. As she starts to perform overseas, she remarks that she "speaks the Queen's English-the borough, not the person." She frequently states that she “always says the wrong things to the right people.” When she was working on the video for The Goonies, she blurted out to Steven Spielberg that she didn’t think he was being creative. She writes honestly about her positive and negative interactions with other artists, and people from the music industry. She shares her struggle to remain true to herself, and to retain control over her career. Her determination to stand up for others, to force people to acknowledge injustice, is woven throughout her music. Lauper uses her fame and her personality to its best advantage, in a sincere dedication to helping marginalized people, especially youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. She discusses the True Colors Fund to address GLBT youth homelessness. She also writes about the Forty to None program, which aims to reduce the 40% of homeless youth who identify as GLBT, to none. Lauper is a musical icon, a heroine who uses her talent for positive change.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kitty

    This is very endearing. While I'm not *not* a fan of her music, I've also never been a huge follower and only own one CD. (Her greatest hits, natch.) I am, however, a big fan of her as a personality, and reading this gave me an even greater appreciation of what an amazing person she is. I had no idea what a big champion of women's rights, gay rights, and just plain human rights in general she really is. But what I really related to was the constant feeling of being an outcast, of never quite fit This is very endearing. While I'm not *not* a fan of her music, I've also never been a huge follower and only own one CD. (Her greatest hits, natch.) I am, however, a big fan of her as a personality, and reading this gave me an even greater appreciation of what an amazing person she is. I had no idea what a big champion of women's rights, gay rights, and just plain human rights in general she really is. But what I really related to was the constant feeling of being an outcast, of never quite fitting in. There are times reading this that I was moved to tears, and I can't quite explain why, except to say that I know what she means and I get what she's been through. I appreciate her tenacity to stand up for who she is, and the fact that she has never once made any effort to conform to anyone's standards. There is a lot of this book about her musical process, and her career as a whole, but to me this is what stands out and what her purpose of writing the book is: To be a beacon of hope to those who don't fit in, who feel like they're sort of a stranger in the world. And she does it well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Sometimes shocking, often amusing, this is an honest memoir from one of my favourite singers. Cyndi Lauper has written (with a bit of help), an interesting book telling how she began her music career in the early seventies, after a troubled childhood and numerous failed jobs, before hitting it big in the eighties. Success was not easily held onto, however, and she spent a lot of time in the following years battling with the record company executives who were supposed to be supporting her. I had Sometimes shocking, often amusing, this is an honest memoir from one of my favourite singers. Cyndi Lauper has written (with a bit of help), an interesting book telling how she began her music career in the early seventies, after a troubled childhood and numerous failed jobs, before hitting it big in the eighties. Success was not easily held onto, however, and she spent a lot of time in the following years battling with the record company executives who were supposed to be supporting her. I had wondered myself why she often seemed to be off the radar, but she was still producing music. This book explains what she had to fight against and how difficult it is to carry on in the music industry when the people in power do not accept your vision. The book is a testament to a strong-willed personality who would not let things get in her way, and who has maintained her integrity, her ability to still produce successful, relevant music, and to use her celebrity to promote women's rights and LGBT rights. Cyndi comes across as a real fan of music and other musicians. Some fab photos too!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Donald Lee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Cyndi Lauper shows her true colors in her memoir and it's beautiful like a rainbow. This colorful Grammy-winning singer lead a amazing life from escaping her abusive childhood to her reckless pursuit of stardom. Lauper chronicles her runaway past to starring her current reality show. She takes readers on a musical journey through the making of all her albums from "Girls Wanna Have Fun" to her recent release, "Memphis Blues." She discusses at length her path to be an advocate for the LGBT communi Cyndi Lauper shows her true colors in her memoir and it's beautiful like a rainbow. This colorful Grammy-winning singer lead a amazing life from escaping her abusive childhood to her reckless pursuit of stardom. Lauper chronicles her runaway past to starring her current reality show. She takes readers on a musical journey through the making of all her albums from "Girls Wanna Have Fun" to her recent release, "Memphis Blues." She discusses at length her path to be an advocate for the LGBT community and her personal struggles in the music industry, all in good humor. For instance, she said "I speak Queens English -- the borough, not person," in explaining her miscommunications with Basement Jaxx. The book itself is ironic: published by Simon & Schuster which fired her from her first fulltime job as a gal Friday. She ran away at 17. She was very naive and clueless about the working world. She would get a beer during her lunch hour and drink it at the front desk. She lasted two months. She called herself gal Friday 13!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Stangel

    I really wanted to know more about Cyndi on a personal level. Her life seemed so interesting, but it all is in reference to her music. Every story was about music. I wanted to know more about her and about her personal life and feelings. It just seemed kind of empty of that. There were a few times when she put some emotion in there (like talking about the tsunami and the people of Japan). I wanted more of that. But everything came back to what she was doing with her music at the time and what in I really wanted to know more about Cyndi on a personal level. Her life seemed so interesting, but it all is in reference to her music. Every story was about music. I wanted to know more about her and about her personal life and feelings. It just seemed kind of empty of that. There were a few times when she put some emotion in there (like talking about the tsunami and the people of Japan). I wanted more of that. But everything came back to what she was doing with her music at the time and what inspired her to write a song or the music for a song. I loved the back stories for some songs and found those very interesting. I even looked songs up. I searched for album covers to see what they really looked like after her imagery in the book. She lead an interesting life. I just felt like I wanted more stories about that life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I was so excited when I read that she was releasing a book. I bought it the day it came out. What a disappointment. I almost quit while trying to get through the early years, but I stuck with it, and the book picked up a little with her breakthrough in the eighties. She really should have had a co-writer or at least better editing, because the story did not flow well, the timeline was all over the place, and she kept hammering on the same points over and over. Yes, all men in the music industry I was so excited when I read that she was releasing a book. I bought it the day it came out. What a disappointment. I almost quit while trying to get through the early years, but I stuck with it, and the book picked up a little with her breakthrough in the eighties. She really should have had a co-writer or at least better editing, because the story did not flow well, the timeline was all over the place, and she kept hammering on the same points over and over. Yes, all men in the music industry are sexist pigs. The world is full of misogynistic pricks. Women are a vast collective of wasted potential. Blah. Not that I disagree, but damn, do you have anything else to say?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Don Mottolo

    I love the cover picture. At first I scratched my head wondering why would she choose this unflattering photo of herself as a teenager when inside there are wild, glamorous photos of her as beautiful pop star? My first reaction seeing the cover was to think "she's just a dumb kid with an attitude, she's just a girl, what could she say of value?" Read it to find out. Much of it will be of more interest to musicians and fans of 80's music, but the book and her life's message is important. Cute and I love the cover picture. At first I scratched my head wondering why would she choose this unflattering photo of herself as a teenager when inside there are wild, glamorous photos of her as beautiful pop star? My first reaction seeing the cover was to think "she's just a dumb kid with an attitude, she's just a girl, what could she say of value?" Read it to find out. Much of it will be of more interest to musicians and fans of 80's music, but the book and her life's message is important. Cute and girly and adolescent and lower-class Queens,NY attitude can coexist with real substance.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Casey Kiser

    The list of this woman's accomplishments in her life so far is absolutely astonishing. I don't think she wastes a single hour. This book is truly a gift for any fan as she shares so many brave details of her childhood and her wacky personality shines through the behind-the-scenes stories. Cyndi is the best. There's so many great pictures too!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    Cyndi Lauper seems like a nice person with strong beliefs and a lot of New Age spirituality. I was especially interested in all the struggling she did before she became famous on her own -- this would be a good one for teenagers trying to escape dysfunctional families through art. Also, I would like to read Jancee Dunn's book about her experience ghost writing this one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This was a really great, inspiring read. Cyndi Lauper shows you can start with nothing but a 'hat full of stars' and make something great from it. It did drag a bit towards the end, but Lauper's no holds barred opinions and sweet, quirky tones made every page fun and interesting. This girl had fun while reading!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    When I was thirteen I loved Cyndi Lauper's upbeat music and uplifting lyrics. However, it's been a while since I listened to any music of hers. When I saw this book I thought it might be kind of interesting, and it has a ton of facts and stories that I had no idea about, so it was definitely worthwhile.

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