Who can wrote a top pop song, tell off her record label through a song, and write the music and lyrics for a Tony-nominated musical? That would be my new bff, Sara Bareilles. Okay, so she's not really my new best friend, but after listening to her audiobook Sounds Like Me, I feel like she is. She reads it herself, and the breadth of her honesty and playfulness is breath-taking.
She struggled to write this book, but she finally realized that she could start with a song, and then write the essay from that. She sings a beautiful a cappella version of "Love Song" and then tells the story of signing with a big record label. "Red" leads into the story of her spending her junior year of college in Italy and finding music as a way to help with her homesickness. "Gravity" flows into her first heartbreak. "Many the Miles" brings up the stories from life on the road.
Honest and funny, smart and authentic, Sounds Like Me tells Sara's story from her childhood through her working on the music for the musical Waitress. Her challenges and her successes, her doubts and her fears, her challenges with depression and body image--she lays it all out in a way that makes you feel for her and to want to celebrate what you've learned from your own missteps and anxieties. Her words, both spoken and sung, make you want to be brave.
My favorite chapter starts with "Beautiful Girl" and gives us a glimpse into Sara's biggest challenges through the years. She writes letters to her past self for when she was in some of her most difficult moments. These letters show such heart, understanding, and hope that I wish she could have written them for me back during some of my most difficult moments. Or for me today. Or next week. Anytime, really.
Although this is not a long audiobook (less than 4 hours), it packs a big punch of personality, fun, honesty, and (of course) songs. And just when you think it's over, there are several minutes at the end of her reading bloopers and a surprising number of f-bombs at her mistakes. And just like that, she goes from talented and articulate and distant to someone you'd love to hang out with at a favorite neighborhood bar. And this is why Sara Bareilles is my new best friend.