cover image Chasing Down the Dawn

Chasing Down the Dawn

Jewel / Author HarperEntertainment $24 (142p) ISBN 978-0-06-0

This highly personal collection of essays, anecdotes and spontaneous statements accompanied by sweet, primitive drawings deals with Jewel's atypical childhood in Alaska, her struggling-musician days and her eventually successful music career, characterized by constant touring and putting up with the consequences of fame. Similar to Jewel's bestselling book of poems (A Night Without Armor), this compendium of prose exhibits a clear, direct, purposefully poignant and, at times, indulgent writing style. Jewel recognizes artistic quality when she sees it and often brings up names and their associations (touring with Bob Dylan, thinking about Italo Calvino's ""If"" before taking the stage), perhaps in an attempt to connect with them, and to show her admiration. Certainly, Jewel has talent and integrity, and, when she abandons a self-conscious posture, she can offer insights that are fresh and luminescent (""For me, the real beauty of singing is learning to play the instrument I've been given""). Unfortunately, her descriptive writing suffers too frequently from a surfeit of sentiment (""Do I like the dream I've dreamed or have I begun to feel like a prisoner of the dream?""). Jewel's name will carry this book a long way--as will the catchy cover, an alluring photo of the poet/ writer on horseback. (Oct.)