Book Review: Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust by Loretta Lynn

I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard about it. I took my time reading it even though it’s a fast read; I wanted to prolong finishing it. The book’s title is self explanatory, Loretta Lynn talks about her friendship with Patsy Cline. They only knew each other for about 2 years before Patsy’s untimely death in 1963. Both singers’ lives and careers have been told numerous times in books and movies, in fact there is a movie based on this book that appeared on Lifetime in fall 2019. 

Here Loretta does cover familiar ground on her own background but just enough to explain where she was coming from when she met Patsy. The purpose of this book is to tell the story of friendship so we are given the back story on where these two women were in life when they met in the early 60’s. The forward was written by Dolly Parton and there are also excerpts from a few female country music singers on the book jacket. 

In my own background I couldn’t be further apart than these two women, back then or now. I am a man in my late 30s, born and raised in suburban Los Angeles, California and this is almost 60 years after the events spoken of. I don’t sing, write music or play any instruments. As I always say on this blog, I am just a fan of country music. Not having anything in common with the author or the main individuals in this book did not deter me at all in wanting to read this book. I still got something from hearing these stories about this particular friendship. 

Other than having the normal thoughts upon finishing the book, I couldn’t help but think how long ago most of the events Loretta talks about were. 60 years or more and here we still have Loretta with us today. Oftentimes she has to put things in perspective given the distance of time and just how different things are nowadays, from small everyday things to how people related to each other and what they spoke about. Much of the story is exactly that and Loretta also has to relate how different her life experiences were to most people, specifically women, even at that time. She also talks about how much of a trailblazer Patsy was at a time when our society didn’t allow women to behave like she did. Whether it was her language, drive, determination and professional outlook, Patsy was different. 

Patsy was about to help Loretta become something different as well, personally and professionally. She gave her clothes, gave make up suggestions, and advice that would help Loretta’s career. Patsy was able to also give Loretta the tools to allow her to be a trailblazer in her own right. Their friendship was very close and as we all know it’s not a one way street. It seems like they were able to build up each others’ confidence but in completely different ways. 

I recommend this book to anyone, whether you are a fan of country music or not, whether you are a fan of Loretta and Patsy or not, regardless of your gender. All that stuff is irrelevant to true friends, people who stick by you no matter what and don’t judge but encourage you. That is the take away from this book. The insights to two hugely popular singers and the country music industry are the icing on the cake!

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