Reviews for We Will Survive : True Stories of Encouragement, Inspiration, and the Power of Song


Library Journal Reviews 2014 March #1

This title was a good idea in theory. It is, after all, named for Gaynor's anthemic song, "I Will Survive," which spawned many a ladies' night karaoke party. Unfortunately, while intending to be uplifting, the book comes across as an exercise in narcissism. It is a collection of vignettes, compiled by Gaynor over the years and shaped by Vanity Fair reporter Carswell, about people who have suffered extreme tragedy and heartache, only to feel a bit better after listening to the opening lines of the classic Seventies hit (penned by Dino Fekeris and Freddie Perren). The work is not without some touching moments, and the singer, who is a born-again Christian, said she views it as an honor and mission to share the song with others who may be positively affected by it. But after the first ten chapters, it sounds like a chorus repeating over and over. VERDICT Only for fans of the song or self-help enthusiasts.--Stacie Williams, Lexington P.L., KY

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2014 January #1

Iconic singer Gaynor and co-author Carswell (Faded Pictures from My Backyard) collect 40 powerful stories of perseverance over adversity in which the subjects credit the song "I Will Survive" for providing them strength and comfort. A mother recalls hearing the song at her lowest point in caring for her autistic son and a young woman made it her "daily mantra" while recovering from life-threatening injuries sustained in a car accident. Tendai Mwanaka shares his story as the sole survivor after soldiers killed his family and everyone else in his Zimbabwe village on suspicion of protecting rebel forces. Many evoke the lyrics directly in their stories, like Julie Carson, the mother of a man killed on 9/11, declaring, "I went into shock and could not move. It took all the strength I had not to fall apart." For others, the words brought the courage to leave an abusive spouse, like Juliette Summers who refers to Gaynor as her "Disco Doctor." Gaynor shares her own struggles, from growing up fatherless and a victim of sexual abuse to the loss of her sister after a violent attack. Carswell reflects on her stay at a psychiatric hospital and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Wide-ranging in context, these melancholic snippets of real life survival highlight the indomitable nature of the human spirit as well as the powerful ways art and music can affect our lives. (Dec.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Iconic singer Gaynor and co-author Carswell (Faded Pictures from My Backyard) collect 40 powerful stories of perseverance over adversity in which the subjects credit the song "I Will Survive" for providing them strength and comfort. A mother recalls hearing the song at her lowest point in caring for her autistic son and a young woman made it her "daily mantra" while recovering from life-threatening injuries sustained in a car accident. Tendai Mwanaka shares his story as the sole survivor after soldiers killed his family and everyone else in his Zimbabwe village on suspicion of protecting rebel forces. Many evoke the lyrics directly in their stories, like Julie Carson, the mother of a man killed on 9/11, declaring, "I went into shock and could not move. It took all the strength I had not to fall apart." For others, the words brought the courage to leave an abusive spouse, like Juliette Summers who refers to Gaynor as her "Disco Doctor." Gaynor shares her own struggles, from growing up fatherless and a victim of sexual abuse to the loss of her sister after a violent attack. Carswell reflects on her stay at a psychiatric hospital and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Wide-ranging in context, these melancholic snippets of real life survival highlight the indomitable nature of the human spirit as well as the powerful ways art and music can affect our lives. (Dec.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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