We’ll remember this year for many turbulent events, but for Dolly Parton she will remember this year as when not one, but three, major books about her published. Let’s begin with our own University of Illinois Press and its Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton, part of its series on women composers. The author’s expert analysis and Parton’s straightforward input reveal how her hardscrabble upbringing influenced her songwriting and music. She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh, author of 2018’s Heartland, explores how Parton and other prominent women country artists reflect and validate the harsh realities of rural working-class women. Smarsh admitted in an interview that she had no contact with Parton in writing this book, but instead looked at her as an iconic figure. Dolly herself and co-author Robert German created Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics. They take you behind the lyrics of 175 of her songs to reveal the personal stories and memories that inspired her 60-year songwriting career. It is packed with never-before-seen photographs and classic memorabilia as well as Dolly’s own candid comments.
top of page
bottom of page