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Coal Miner's Daughter
Loretta Lynn
By Loretta Lynn with George Vecsey
Henry Regnery Company
204 Pages
ISBN:  0-8092-8122-8

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If you've ever listened to Loretta Lynn sing a song and paid close attention to her words, then you've already kept company with a lot of people and feelings in this book.

Here is the story of a resourceful woman whose talent has taken her a far piece from being nervous and pregnant and poor—a bride at thirteen, a mother of four by eighteen— in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, to reigning as America's undisputed queen of country music. Though still a coal miner's daughter at heart, Loretta Lynn is Big Time: the Country Music Association has feted her with more honors than any other recording artist; she's the first woman ever named Entertainer of the Year and the first woman in country music to win a gold record (she now has two).

Loretta is used to telling her life story. She does it in bits and pieces every time she writes a song or sings it, although she says of her hundreds of lyrics, "Gosh, it didn't all happen to me—if it had, I couldn't be alive today.

But Loretta Lynn's book is much more than just a chronicle of her own life. For one thing, it tells you about the struggle for survival in the hollers and coal camps of isolated Appalachian mountain areas. No one can come through this book without a better understanding of what it's like to grow up poor in America. At the same time, Loretta says, she relies heavily on her knowledge that, if she had to give up all the fancy clothes and things she has now, she would still have what counts most to her—her faith in people and in God.

Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter also offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the real Nashville— the intrigues, the power games, and the personal battles fought along the way to singing and picking on the Grand Ole Opry stage. Music City, U.S.A., is a sophisticated business. As Loretta notes, "Hillbillies are going out of fashion in Nashville."

Loretta takes this opportunity to deal with the gossip that she and Conway Twitty have something going besides friendship and winning the Vocal Duo of the Year Award four years in a row. Here also is the story of Loretta's twenty-five-year marriage to Doolittle Lynn, a strong-willed man who is the single most important person in her life. She has her say about the rumors that they can't make it much longer.

Loretta Lynn has turned out to be good at "talking" a book as written a song. And, folks, that's saying something.

  • George Vecsey a New York Times reporter, author and top-ranked magazine contributor, is the man who listened while she "talked" her book and then "put the words together right." George first met Loretta Lynn while on a two-year assignment writing about coal-mining conditions in Appalachia. His other books include One Sunset a Week, a highly praised documentary about the life of a coal miner, and Joy In Mudville.


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