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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
I confess! I chose to read Singing In My Own Key: A Vocalist's Triumph Over Stroke by Valerie L. Giglio for purely selfish reasons: my daughter is a professional singer. The thought of my daughter's career, or anyone's career for that matter, being abruptly and horribly interrupted by stroke is frightening. But that's exactly how it was for Valerie L. Giglio. Beautiful, super-talented, intelligent and only just stepping into her 40s, she turned to look at her clock one morning and her life, as she knew it, came to a dizzying, horrifically painful halt. She had torn the arteries in her neck and, as a blood clot formed to stop the flow, the clot precipitated a stroke. Her left side was paralyzed from her face down. She couldn't talk, let alone sing. She couldn't walk. Her left hand couldn't hold a spoon, let alone a microphone. Suddenly, this successful lawyer and singer was confined to a bed for weeks, staring straight ahead, fighting off dizzying nausea and the even more debilitating heartache: her singing career was most likely over.
When crippling or terminal illness strikes, many people turn to God or prayer, looking for hope and help. Valerie felt abandoned by higher powers. Others simply give up, feel sorry for themselves, and end up making themselves and everyone around them feel worse. Sure, Valerie went through that period of grieving her loss, but she always had been a fighter. And she would fight again, and if she had her way, one day, maybe just maybe, she'd be on the stage again. Fuelled by her belief in the power we have to heal ourselves, she worked diligently with the wonderful people who slowly but surely helped her stand on her own two feet again, got her walking, and ultimately put the microphone back in her hands after learning to sing all over again.
I cannot recommend Singing In My Own Key: A Vocalist's Triumph Over Stroke by Valerie L. Giglio highly enough. This is not just a book for singers by a singer. This is a book for all who suffer huge setbacks and think they will never recover or that their lives are over. Valerie proves this is not so...ever! As she clearly illustrates by her remarkable journey back to her former self, healing is a choice. Decide if you want to live forever as you are living now. Then choose. "Sometimes the only road worth travelling is the hardest one." Wise, wise words.
A visit to Valerie L. Giglio's website is a must! On her video page, you can watch and hear her sing before the stroke. You can also witness her first attempts at recovering that beautiful voice. That might have been even harder for her than learning to walk or run again as she used to do. But regaining her ability to sing and entertain meant more than anything and, bit by bit, though not fully there yet, she is once again following her passion.
I don't normally like to be subjective in my reviews, but it was impossible to do Valerie and her story justice by being completely objective. I want readers to discover the magic, beauty and courage that defines Valerie L. Giglio. She deserves this 5-star review in every way. Check out her book and website and be amazed by this woman who believes that singing in your own key is possible, even if "the only road worth travelling is the hardest one."