BOOK REVIEW BY VIRGINIA DAWKINS:
DREAM MORE. The title of the book caught my attention, because I’ve always been a daytime dreamer. Written by Dolly Parton, the contents of the small paperback describe the famous lady’s philosophy of life. She explains that dreaming took her from a small shack at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains to Nashville and then to Hollywood.
Pictures began forming in her mind when she was a little girl. “Placing a tin can on a tobacco stick,” says Dolly, “I would jab one end of it into a crack on the porch of our old cabin and sing to the chickens in the yard.” The little girl in a ragged dress could see herself standing on a stage wearing silk and rhinestones.
When the question was asked of students at her high school graduation, “What will you do with your life?” Dolly voiced her dream for the first time. “I’m going to Nashville and be a star,” she announced. She was surprised and embarrassed when people laughed, because to her it was entirely possible.
While Dolly’s daddy worked long hours to support his twelve children, her mother was busy reading the Bible (the only book in the house) to her children and espousing her philosophy of life: “Don’t ever say you don’t care, you must care,” she admonished. “God has a purpose for everybody. We all have a journey to walk.” She encouraged Dolly: “Plan your life and do what you do best.” And now the world knows that Dolly Parton did just that; many of her dreams have come true, and she continues to dream.
Dolly’s dad never learned to read or write, and this has been the inspiration for the famous singer’s project, the Imagination Library, which is responsible for mailing free books to children monthly. Beginning in Sevierville, Tennessee, this literacy project has spread across America and into Canada and the United Kingdom. Under Dolly’s leadership, they have given away more than 40 million books, and now Dolly is known to many children as the “Book Lady.”
When the Book Lady learned that there was a 34 percent dropout rate in the Sevierville, Tennessee schools, she invited fifth and sixth graders to Dollywood. Along with lots of fun at the theme park, Dolly also offered a challenge: “Stay in school and I will give each of you $500 when you graduate from hi school.” Eventually, the dropout rate decreased to 6 percent.
In Dream More, the Book Lady talks about her faith: “My experience has been that God doesn’t set too many bushes on fire in front of you, nor does some booming voice come from high above to tell me what to do. But I work on my relationship with God and reach deep inside myself and focus on my daily prayer. And then I go from not having a clue about what to do to discovering my God Clue.”
Dolly Parton’s advice to dreamers is spelled out in many of the songs she writes:
Try to be the first one up the mountain.
Try to be the first to reach the sky.
Don’t let somebody tell you you can’t do it
If they do then show them it’s a lie.
If you fail at first, just keep on trying.
You’re not a failure in God’s eyes.