If I Knew Then: Finding Wisdom in Failure and Power in Aging by Jann Arden (Audio book review)

Jann Arden--bestselling author, recording artist and late-blooming TV star--is back with this funny, heartfelt and fierce memoir on becoming a woman of a certain age. The power, gravity and freedom she's found at fifty-seven are superpowers she believes all of us can unleash.

Synopsis - 

Digging deep into her strengths, her failures and her losses, Jann Arden brings us an inspiring account of how she has surprised herself, in her fifties, by at last becoming completely her own person. Like many women, it took Jann a long time to realize that trying to be pleasing and likeable and beautiful in the eyes of others was a loser's game. Letting it rip, and damning the consequences, is not only liberating, it's a hell of a lot of fun: "Being the age I am--that so many women are--is just the best time of my life."

Jann weaves her own story together with tales of her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, and the father she came close to hating, to show her younger self--and all of us--that fear and avoidance is no way to live. "What I'm thinking about now aren't all the ways I can try to hang on to my youth or all the seconds ticking by in some kind of morbid countdown to death," she writes, "but rather how I keep becoming someone I always hoped I could be. If I'm lucky one day a very old face will look back at me from the mirror, a face I once shied away from. I will love that old woman ferociously, because she has finally figured out how to live a life of purpose--not in spite of but because of all her mistakes and failures."

Review - 

I listened to this as an audio book. I find some books are best as ebook/print, but there are some where the author's voice adds an undefinable element gives it even more impact. This is one. As a singer, Arden has a beautiful voice to listen to, and hearing her tell her stories and share the lessons she's learned makes them come alive in a very special way. 

When I started listening, I really wasn't sure what this book would be - a memoir sharing her journey or ????  Sometimes it's best to be surprised and listen without expectation. I am so glad I did. If I Knew Then is filled with reminisces from her past mixed with pieces of gold - the lessons she's learned along the way.  It is an open, honest and unapologetic sharing which is so refreshing - here I am, I am content as I am. I love her declaration she is a crone and her description of why she embraces it fully.

In the end, what came through the most for me was her message of self-acceptance, to be kind to yourself. She is honestly the first person I've ever heard share about having a memory that brings strong regret pop out of nowhere, flooring her emotionally. I have that happen and it's so hard to deal with in the moment. So good to know it's not just me. Her encouragement to let go of the negative messages we repeat to ourselves daily and have a more positive conversation is one I know in my head but my heart doesn't always follow, so I need this reminder again and again and again.

A wonderful book that I highly suggest you listen to as an audio book.  You'll walk away uplifted. 

Buy the book - Amazon CA ~ Kobo ~ Audible ~ Abebooks ~ Alibris

Meet the Author - 

Jann Arden is a Canadian born, singer, songwriter, broadcaster and author. In her career to date, Jann has received 8 Juno Awards including Female Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year and in 1997 and again in 2016, she hosted the Awards ceremony. Arden is also the recipient of 10 SOCAN Awards, 4 Western Canadian Music Awards, a Much Music Video Award, 3 Prairie Music Awards and an Alberta Recording Industry Association Award.

In addition to being a singer/songwriter, Arden is of course an author of note. Her previous releases include “If I Knew, Don’t You Think I’d Tell You” and “I’ll Tell You One Damn Thing, That’s All I Know” and her bestselling self-penned memoir “Falling Backwards”. Her philanthropic work has included World Vision, she performed in Live 8 and the MAC Cosmetics Fashion Cares AIDS benefit. In recent years Jann has also supported Gilda’s Club in Toronto.

Whether she is captivating audiences with her heartfelt music, entertaining them with her quick wit or sharing her written word in a boldly honest voice – Jann Arden is a Canadian original – a brilliant multi-dimensional talent!