cover image The Woman I Am: A Memoir

The Woman I Am: A Memoir

Helen Reddy, . . Penguin/Tarcher, $25.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-1-58542-489-4

World-famous for I Am Woman and three other albums that went gold in the 1970s, Reddy was the daughter of hard-working, Australian vaudeville performers. Onstage with her parents since she was four, Reddy was 17 when she started getting her own singing gigs. She married at 19, but her husband was abusive when she became pregnant, so she moved out. Winning a ticket to America in a local singing contest, Reddy soon worked her way to the top of the charts. Unfortunately, her next husbands were also alcoholic and/or abusive, and Reddy struggled to recover financially and emotionally from each. While Reddy's career and husband problems are shared by many women in show business, her paranormal interests are distinctive. Reddy was 11 when she first experienced "astral projection"; later, she had a dream foretelling Robert Kennedy's assassination. Reincarnation, she explains, may involve individuals or groups of people "reincarnating together to resolve unfinished business." Thus, "Elvis was formerly King Tutankhamen," and "Richard Nixon was formerly Andrew Johnson, who was formerly Thomas Paine." Reddy also explains that AIDS is actually one of the long-dormant "biblical plagues." While mainstream Reddy fans may be turned off by the New Age–speak, alternative-reality readers won't bat an eye. Photos. (May)