Book Review: “From This Moment” by Shania Twain

Autobiographies are often touted as tell all books but you may find Shania Twain’s to be less about airing her dirty laundry and more along the lines of being cathartic and relatable to everyday folks. By everyday folk, it does not merely refer to women who can relate her tales or people who solely reside in Northern Ontario where Shania came from and still reflects about fondly. Shania’s story takes readers from Lake Kawagama in Ontario to Lake Geneva in Switzerland, and from roughing it with a band of Canadian bushwhackers to living a lifestyle that is befitting for royalty.

Ironically, you don’t have to be a fan of Shania Twain’s music to find value in her book. You don’t even need to be aware of her accomplishments to find the information she shares to be resourceful considering many of her stories have a non-music slant to them like her relationships with her beloved Andalusian named Dancer, her loyal Schutzhunde whom she named Tim and her guard dog before Tim named Roman. When each one passes away, the reader cannot help but mourn even a little for the loss of such fine animals who made kind companions.

Other tales shed light on the financial struggles that Shania endured through childhood which fostered her work ethic, the ability to ration food, and to bond with people outside of her kin, a mixed breed of Irish/Welsh/English. Perhaps what readers may benefit most from Shania’s book is how to believe in yourself once the support and trust system you had set in place has been blown apart. Most people do not climb up a mountain to plummet freefall once they reach the top. From Shania’s perspective, it was her husband/record producer Mutt Lange who pushed her off the top and let her crash while holding their son in her arms. Actually in Shania’s words, she never crashed at the bottom but was caught in midair by Frederic Thiebaud, the ex-husband of the woman who was having an affair with Lange.

Most people would wince at this point if this was a fiction novel, fearful that the ex-husband of the mistress to the heroine’s spouse is really the devil in disguise. But Shania reassures the reader that Monsieur Thiebaud is indeed a Knight in Shining Armor with facts to back up her claim, many of which is excellent grist for a romance novel.

Like many of us, Shania too has skeptics on the fringes of her life. Hers have been people who insist that she has been living a falsehood by going under the name Shania Twain when she was born Eilleen Regina Edwards. Shania does set the record straight on this matter explaining “Shania” is a stage name, and “Twain” was acquired from her step-father Jerome Twain. She reveals that she never misled the public or herself about the name. Shania Twain is the sexy goddess on stage, and Eilleen is the one who pays the bills and leads a normal life. Today, she says, she is bringing the two together to make one person.

This in not to say that Shania Twain is forthcoming about everything in her life. There is the matter of her stylish dance-pop recording made in the late ‘Ëœ80s which was reissued in 2005 on her albums Beginnings from Brentwood Records and Send It With Love from Renaissance Records. She does not address how these recordings come about or who was involved. She treats the matter as if it never happened.

She also overlooks explaining the question on many of her skeptics lips, how she was selected to sing at VH-1’s first ever Divas Concert in 1998 alongside Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Celion Dion, Gloria Estefan, and Carole King in 1998, when her track record as a live performer was very small compared to the company she kept for the concert. Shania held her own at the concert, but in her book, it is entirely omitted how she got the gig, in addition to her concert with Alison Krauss and Union Station for the taping of Up Close and Personal which was aired on CMT in 2004. Both Shania and Alison admitted to being friends then, but in the book, Shania never mentions their friendship or this concert.

There are a few aspects of Shania Twain’s life which fans may recall, but she never addresses them in the book. Like anyone else Shania is entitled to her secrets, and what she does share with the public is insightful and resourceful for anyone who is going through adjustments in their life. Some of Shania’s largest group of followers has been young girls, and after reading From This Moment On, a fitting title for the book, it becomes clear why they would be enamored of Shania. She is one model that girls can follow on the road to developing self-esteem, and even when that belief system is torn asunder, the tools are still there to build it back up again with a devoted support crew.