*“…the beautiful thing about being broken is that it allows you to pick up the pieces of your life, if that’s the route you want to go.”
That’s a quote from the introduction of Ruth Pointer’s unflinchingly candid, heartfelt new memoir Still So Excited, which she published earlier this year, as she celebrated her 30th year of sobriety.
You’ll remember Ruth as one of the founding members of the legendary singing group The Pointer Sisters. After reading her book, you’ll never forget her.
Along with co-writer Marshall Terrill, Pointer, 70, lovingly walks the reader from Oakland, California where she and her siblings were raised, to her father’s church, to early stardom. She hysterically tells of family times both good and bad, detailing tiffs and rifts with her famous siblings, including Bonnie who left the group in the 1970s, before they achieved their biggest successes.
And what a list of successes! A string of hits — “Yes We Can Can,” “Fire,” “He’s So Shy,” “I’m So Excited,” “Jump (For My Love),” “Automatic,” just to name a few — left a generation dancing in the streets.
But behind the grooves and those peerless harmonies, a troubled girl was looking for love in all the wrong places, including abusive marriages that were complicated by her excessive use of “…alcohol, speed, and cocaine…”.
You’ll laugh out loud when you read about the scene from the film Waiting To Exhale that reminded Pointer of a real-life break-up. (Spoiler alert! It includes lighter fluid!) You’ll cry reading about the husband who often put out cigarettes on Pointer’s bare arm, and the scars — both physical and emotional — that still show.
It’s rare that a parent is as transparent as Pointer is in the book, with her candid professions of having failed her children as they were growing up. “I have felt guilt and shame [about failing them] ever since,” she writes, “but through counseling and 12-step work have learned to forgive myself. I pray my children have forgiven me, too.”
I’m praying with you on that one, Ms. Pointer.
You may be stunned to read that the legend, having been the daughter of a pastor, felt estranged from organized religion. “The truth was I didn’t feel a real kinship with God,” Pointer writes. “I never had a sense of God’s kindness and unconditional love. I had no clue that His grace would set me free. Sometimes you need silence in order to listen to God whisper to you…and He’s been whispering to me a lot lately.”
As strange as it may sound, I felt a little closer to God after reading Pointer’s excellent Still So Excited. The preacher’s daughter ministered to me!
And there’s good news! There’s room at the cross for you, too, as…
Ruth Pointer’s Still So Excited is available at iBooks, Amazon, and all retail outlets.