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Autobiography Review     

Little Miss Dynamite:
The Life and Times of Brenda Lee
Brenda Lee with Robert K. Oermann and Julie Clay
Hyperion Books, 2002
Hardcover $24.95 (320p)
320 pages
ISBN: 0-7868-6644-6

Brenda Lee's work as an entertainer has allowed her to meet musical luminaries and travel all over the world. In Little Miss Dynamite, she recounts the highs, lows, transitions, and comebacks of a career spanning almost seven decades.

The entertainer got her start in the music business singing on a local radio program. By the age of six, she had become a regular fixture on television, and was helping support her widowed mother and siblings. Her talent, luck, and tenacity paid off and Brenda Lee was a recording artist by the age of twelve and the largest-selling female performer in the world before her twenty-first birthday.

Readers below a certain age may not be familiar with Ms. Lee's discography. Her co-authors have thoughtfully included all of her singles and albums in the order of the date of release. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Jingle Bell Rock" have become standards of the genre while "Sweet Nothin's" and "I'm Sorry" are often used in '50s soundtracks. Lee has hits on the pop, country, and rhythm and blues charts. Always a fan of music, Brenda Lee has met and worked with an astonishing cross-section of singers, songwriters, and musicians, from Elvis Presley to Elton John to more recently, K.D. Lang. John Lennon has been quoted as saying, "Brenda Lee has the greatest rock and roll voice of them all."

Little Miss Dynamite documents her personal life and professional life in great detail. Lee is honest and unflinching in writing about her rural roots, her father's drinking and death, controlling managers and their financial indiscretions, her elopement, health problems, daughters, financial problems, and marriage.

One of the female founders of rock and roll, Brenda Lee is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and has twice been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She makes her home in Nashville.

Robert K. Oermann, one of her co-authors, is a journalist, television personality, editor at large of COUNTRY MUSIC magazine, and a regular commentator on "TTN," "A&E," and "VH1."

Julie Clay, Lee's daughter and second co-author, is the executive director of the Nashville chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences as well as the author of a children's book.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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