This powerful memoir from Grammy Award-winner Ashley Cleveland reminds us that even in the lowest times of our lives, beauty can shine through. Ashley Cleveland grew up in a Southern family fractured by alcoholism and the collapse of her parents' marriage. She knew from the start that she was the "good-for-nothing" sheep of her divided home, and she quickly learned to play the part.
Yet in her destructive days of drugs, alcohol, and sex, she encountered a forgiving God who was relentlessly faithful. Change did not come quickly. The brokenness did not disappear. But Ashley allowed God to heal her, to transform her desires, to bring courage to others through her journey. Little by little she saw that it was her brokenness itself that God wanted to use.
This beautifully told story will take you from the back rooms of Nashville to the churches of the San Francisco Bay area to a tender new life where one woman discovers that broken places often supply the best things we have to give away.
Unabridged audio CD; approximately 4.5 hours; 4 CDs; read by the author.
Grammy-winning gospel singer Cleveland's rough childhood paved the way for the spirituality she later embraced. In his memoir, she describes her early struggles---beginning with her parents' divorce, her inability to fit in, and her drug and alcohol addiction. The turning point comes when she becomes pregnant and decides to change her life, embracing religion and finding healing and redemption. As a singer, Cleveland has some serious pipes. As a narrator, however, she's far more languid---almost melancholy. In some instances, this tone works perfectly---when she describes her stepfather as "a man who viewed women as accessories or lapel pins, connected at the surface but meant only for display." Yet as Cleveland begins her spiritual awakening, this tone becomes ponderous and affected---almost as if it were weighted down intentionally to increase the seriousness of her religious beliefs. An uplifting tone would have been more appropriate, and listeners will yearn for the beautiful vocal variety that Cleveland exhibits in her singing.
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