A huge Jewel fan will undoubtedly want Chasing Down the Dawn, Stories from the Road [HarperEntertainment], a collection of diary excerpts and overly-precious family photos, if only to peer inside the mind and heart of one of today’s biggest female stars. But for the rest of us, Jewel—the beautiful, talented singer and songwriter—ought to stick to what she’s good at, which ain’t writing books.
The book begins simply. A little too simply:
It is nearly winter. Summer has passed so quickly. Summer is the best time to be in Alaska.
There are pages and pages of this kind of pap that reads like an over-long elementary school book report. To her credit, there is the occasional poetic line, and if she dug those out and dropped the other crap she might have enough for the lyrics to a couple more decent songs.
This adolescent, tiring collection of sentence fragments, unremarkable doodles, and cliched, uninspired insight is about what I’d expect if I peered into the journal of a 14-year-old girl. Oh, wait! Here’s a deep thought:
I’ve had to decide not to let body image control my life. I want to focus on songwriting and feel healthy and attractive, not on some fictitious, unattainable standard of beauty. Most of all, I don’t want to inspire even a single fan who sees my photo in a magazine to think, ‘I need to look like her to look good’. When I visit schools and I see girls so anxious, trying so hard, I want to tell them that they are enough, just as they are.
Yawn. Didn’t Grandma say that, too? And when you look at her beautiful face on the cover you just want to slap her. Jewel can sing like an angel. She can write gorgeous, inspired songs, and she positively reeks of musical talent and star power. But she ought to leave the writing to Amy Tan.