Little Black Sheep: A memoir by Ashley Cleveland. A compelling, raw, honest read from a big-voiced, tender hearted, woman in full.

Hardcover: 200 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook (September 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1434705293

ISBN-13: 978-1434705297

Little Black Sheep: A Memoir was a lifetime in the making for Ashley Cleveland, the three-time Grammy award winner with the big rock 'n' roll voice that can be quite a shock for the uninitiated. She's hinted over the years at her performances and through her essays and fan email list that behind all that talent, this Nashville-based, happily married mother of three lived quite a dark, pre-conversion life, but the bigger surprise is that there were no straight paths for this curvacious chanteuse, no neat and tidy willingly taken steps down the straight and narrow, clearly marked walkway of holy living. For better or for worse, she's lived life on her own terms, and here honestly admits to the consequences and triumphs in fighting her way out of her self-created self-distructive beginnings to become a “Woman in Full” as an artist, daughter, mother, and believer.

Yet in the midst of her unique personal story and talent, universal truths ring out that will no doubt make this a classic read in recovery circles. Her writing is tempered by her perspective and hard won truths. Now well into her second decade of sober, drug-free living, she relates her saga in a measured, insightful way, applying the benefit of deep recovery wisdom earned through godly fellowship, a consistent spiritual life, group therapy, AA meetings, couples counseling, and the supportive love of a healed extended family. With that homework, she recounts her shocking behavior with honesty, extending grace and forgiveness to everyone involved while admitting the still untidy, unresolved issues.


It will be difficult to put this quick, compelling read down and it will likely drive readers back to her recorded works with new ears. Covers like “Damage Done” will take on new meaning, and originals like “Big Town” will be re-appreciated for the personal triumph they represent. An enlightened reader hunting on YouTube for her earliest performances will quickly recognize the signs of self-destructive behavior that so marred her promising beginnings. Still very much an active artist, new fans can easily connect with this talent by joining her very active email announcement service, the A list, and seeing her perform during her just-right concert schedule, which might even have room for a house concert in their living room.

5 tocks.

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