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Redneck Woman: Stories from My Life    by Allen Rucker & Gretchen Wilson order for
Redneck Woman
by Allen Rucker
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2006 (2006)

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*   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

First, I will admit that I am not a country music fan, although I do live in Nashville and frequent a bluegrass club. I knew who Gretchen Wilson was before I read her autobiography, but I wasn't quite prepared for what I would read! I'm afraid the ghostwriter, Allen Rucker, didn't have enough involvement in shaping Wilson's story in Redneck Woman: Stories from My Life. The memoir jumps back and forth in time, follows Wilson's train of thought, and reflects the singer's over-inflated ego.

Wilson insists that she wrote this to inspire other redneck women and show how she admires them. She covers her family background, from her birth to a sixteen-year-old mother, to moving back and forth from Miami to Southern Illinois seemingly hundreds of times, to her move to Nashville. She throws in names of relatives who supposedly influenced her, but there are so many and so few are given memorable character traits that by the end of the book my head was just spinning with who was who. The only relatives Wilson truly lets her reader see are her grandparents and especially her grandmother, Frances.

Altogether the writing style is confused and repetitive. Wilson feels the need to explain everything, leaving no room for irony and expecting little intelligence from the reader. The cursing throughout adds nothing to the text. Though I did find Wilson's perspective of her grandmother and her reverence for the elderly woman touching - and her many fans will find much of interest in Redneck Woman - my main feeling after reading this autobiography is that its subject would do better to stick to singing.

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