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Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  4,437 ratings  ·  697 reviews
New York Times best-selling poet and multiplatinum singer-songwriter Jewel explores her unconventional upbringing and extraordinary life in an inspirational memoir that covers her childhood, rise to fame, marriage, and motherhood.

When Jewel's first album, Pieces of You, topped the charts in 1995, her emotional voice and vulnerable performance were groundbreaking. In the tr
Hardcover, 387 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Blue Rider Press
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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Jay Schutt
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Jewel is my favorite performer of them all, so my 5 star rating is a little biased that way. I should really have rated her memoir 4.5 stars. She did an excellent job of pouring out her heart and soul into her life story (5 stars), but she went a little overboard on her ideas as to overcome some of her hardships -which were many- and relate that to our everyday life situations (4 stars). I have seen Jewel 13 times in concert and met her twice personally and thought I knew her story, but she real ...more
4 stars

I've always been a fan of Jewel and knew a little about her life, but I was excited to learn more. Jewel has been through so much in her life and is an artist I admire for not only her talent, but her drive and resilience. She narrated the audiobook herself and there were snippets of some songs, which was fun. And of course, as soon as I finished the book I had to go and listen to some of my favorite Jewel songs :)

Audio book source: Audible Plus
Story Rating: 4 stars
Narrators: Jewel
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
"We are not in the business of fighting darkness. We are farmers of light."

This is quite simply one of the greatest books I have ever read (or listened to, in this case, as I usually do these days with non-fiction if it's read by the author). I was looking forward to it as I do anything Jewel puts out but I feel almost ashamed now to admit that I wasn't expecting anything earth shattering. But the opening simply blew my head open and the feeling never let up for the whole 10hrs+. What a life - w
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
Jewel has written a deep and revealing book. Part memoir and part self-help manual, Never Broken chronicles her life, and never ending journey of self-discovery. Along the way she relates lessons from her childhood in Alaska, and cautionary tales from her 20 years in the music business. She shares how she overcame an abusive childhood, homelessness, and a bankruptcy brought on by her wacko mothers excessive spending. She also discusses marriage, motherhood, and divorce, and shares the self refle ...more
biblio • bliss
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I remember 1995.

I remember hearing Jewel’s voice on the radio for the first time. I was only 8 years old, and I didn’t understand many things: her voice, her words, her songs. I was too young to appreciate the magnitude behind the radio hit “Who Will Save Your Soul,” or why anyone needed to sing about souls in the first place. It was beyond me. But now I understand.

I finished her wonderful memoir “Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story” about a week ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it
In her memoir, as in her songwriting, Jewel is an excellent storyteller, with a gift for finely drawn characters and for weaving her own worldview into the narrative. Towards the end of NEVER BROKEN, however, the life lessons and motivational self-helpisms (which up to this point had been organically integrated into her prose) take over, and the book suffers for it.

The writing of this book was clearly therapeutic for Jewel, and the well-disseminated stories about her youth in the Alaskan wildern
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jewel tells her story. Parts are painful to read. Fortunately, when you are a child, you are too short on experience to know how bad it is or its implications. The problems come later. Many either perpetuate the cycle or live with demons. Jewel shows how she has dealt with emotional and physical abuse in this memoir that can be very helpful for others.

Despite the abuse and the cold, Jewel had her talent. She also had performance experience, an extended family and the support of the town of Homer
I’ve read a few memoirs by so-called celebrities. But not until reading Never Broken by Jewel have I read one that I would highly recommend not only for the uniquely inspirational story of Jewel’s life, but also for the quality of its prose.

Much of the memoir consists of straight-forward, matter-of-fact retellings of memorable experiences—replete with struggles and triumphs—that have contributed to making Jewel the person she is today. Most of these stories are uniquely interesting in themselves
Suzie Shatarevyan
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was in high school when Jewel's first album came out and it was my first CD purchase. I listened to her music on repeat. I also bought sheet music and played her songs on the piano. So I picked out this title because I've been a fan of her music. After reading her memoir, I love her even more. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this book. She's open, raw, vulnerable and honest. I'm amazed at her ability to survive so much hardship yet thrive. She's pure love. And that love is her weapon. I ...more
Jaime Inflore
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
When I chose this book I was expecting an autobiography about a woman I admire. What I got was scattered pieces of her story and a whole lot of nonsensical preaching. It was torture to finish it. I gave it two stars for two reasons and neither have anything to do with the writing of this book. 1- Jewel's story of overcoming her childhood is an inspiring one, no matter how poorly written. 2- I respect her as an artist. She is a phenomenally talented poet and song writer. This format, however, did ...more
Jennifer Lafferty
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most unusual and intriguing celebrity bios I've ever encountered. I agree with one reviewer who likened it to a self-help book. You get the impression that Jewel is on a noble mission to help those who are dealing with painful issues in their lives, similar to what she went through as a confused, sometimes neglected and abused child, turned homeless, struggling artist with an often dysfunctional family. She chronicles her journey of personal growth and self-discovery; frequent ...more
Heather Hill
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm usually not always compelled to write reviews on this site, but this book struck a chord with me that I didn't expect it to. I originally picked it up because when I was growing up, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing a Jewel song. I was curious about her life, and while I knew some of her story, I didn't quite realize the extent of just how hard she worked to get where she is. Never Broken is honest and open in a way that I only wish I could convey. My only issue was that sometimes the ...more
This was another excellent biography read by the author. Jewel even sings the lines of the songs that she includes. I had a great time listening to it and it was worth checking out.

If you have ever been a fan of Jewel, it is great to know she is still doing awesome in life and to get more anecdotes from her upbringing in Alaska.

If you just want an enjoyable biography, this is a good one to check out for that reason too.

4 Solid Stars for me.
I loved, loved, loved Jewel's first album (CD), Pieces of You, when it first came out. I loved the lyrics to her songs and the changes she could make in her voice, a childlike whisper one moment and a throaty, full-on rocking howl the next. I loved seeing her perform in person at Lilith Fair and other shows later on. I think I have almost all her albums and two of her books of poems. Love her music. But I have to admit, I haven't really been thinking, "what's Jewel up to these days?" So I was st ...more
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a beneficent cleansing for the singer-songwriter it seems.

Jewel is clear: she chose not to drink alcohol or use street drugs. I get the image of tentacles: of other people hooking into the singer to grab her and use her for their own purposes.

Jewel took her life into her own hands. Her self-confessional voice might rub other readers the wrong way. Yet I was taken by her honesty and courage in recounting her backwards childhood. We must remember that she writes with the clarity of an adul
Sep 27, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Reality TV" impession of circumstances and experiences

Reading this book was a challenge. I hate to buy something and abandon it . I slogged through it hoping to find redeemming content. There is none. Just another episode of the current trend of tv reality shows Alaskan style. Look at me....look at me...... Just not believeable. I really wanted this book to be a great read. Just too many unrealistic happenings.......always some hero steps in to save the day. Even stories of possible stress rela
Carol (Reading Ladies)
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
Are You Old Enough to be a Jewel Fan?

Never Broken meets Educated meets The Glass Castle meets Hillbilly Elegy….

In Never Broken, poet and singer-songwriter Jewel shares her unconventional childhood, her rise to fame, her marriage, and her musical journey. In her younger years, she lived on a homestead in Alaska, learned to yodel at three, and sang with her father in hotels, honky-tonks, and biker bars. Even though the family valued creativity and music, there was also trauma and instability. Jewe
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Songs are my history - the story of us. Where there is pain in our family, there was also a song not far behind, and healing.”

Jewel Kilcher, known in the music industry solely by her first name, shares her powerful story of childhood trauma, homelessness, career success, and healing.

My husband has often told me that I have hard-earned wisdom. I feel the same can easily be said for Jewel. Although our life experiences have been dramatically different, I could relate to the general traumatic nat
Amy | Foxy Blogs
Audio book source: Audible Plus
Narrator: Jewel
Length: 10H 21M
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Jewel came on the scene in my college years, she's basically my age, and I did think she was an overnight success, but boy was I wrong. It was very interesting to hear her journey of her music as well as, and more importantly, her healing--in her own words and her own voice. I'm a big fan now and even though I don't know her music beyond her big hits, I would be excited to go to one of her concerts. ...more
Rod Horncastle
Imagine being in a 10 hour therapy session with a meditating babbling music celebrity that has taken over the session and the councilor is in the corner drooling and beating themselves on the head with their clipboard and the other patients are scratching at the walls to escape... but there's NO ESCAPE.

Yes, this is Jewel's story. The story is very interesting - but then she starts giving you her analysis and expert opinion. You will repeatedly hear "I Learned... but then...". Sadly, she doesn't
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read this in audio! Please do yourself a favor and do not read the actual book, but listen to it on audible or CD or download.
Jewel recites the book exactly was it was meant to be heard when she wrote it, she also sings some of her songs in certain chapters. The whole book feels more like an intimate conversation than a read. I loved it.

The stories of her youth were by far, the most interesting part of the book. I could relate to much of what she went through, since I also grew up very poor

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." —Joseph Campbell (p. xi)

Can’t tell you where it ever came from, but I long had an image of Alaska-born singer/songwriter, Jewel Kilcher as a bright, grounded and gritty gal. A true Alaskan Sourdough. That’s what drew me to read her memoir, Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story.

I was wrong. After reading her psycho-babble packed memoir, I can only marvel that this gal never fell off the Scientology cliff. Her
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015
You don't have to be a fan of Jewel's music to appreciate this beautifully written memoir. I was fascinated by her childhood stories of growing up homesteading in Alaska. She has had an amazing life full of adventures- the good, the bad, and the ugly, which she shares so poetically. I am a fan of her folk albums Pieces of You and Spirit so I loved reading about how those albums came to be and the meaning behind many of the songs. I took a musical journey stopping after each chapter to listen to ...more
Sue K H
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars. I don't usually give autobiography and memoirs more than three stars. They just aren't my favorite thing. I liked this one a lot. I was drawn by the good reviews and the fact that I've seen Jewel live and heard parts of her story at her shows. She had talked about being homeless for a bit but I had no idea how much hardship she really went through. What an amazing women.

This book was very well written. It chronicles her life of poverty, abuse and emotional neglect, and her journey to
Jamie T
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This might just be one of my favorite books. Jewel is a simple girl with a deep big heart. I followed her music when she first came out years ago. I felt a connection to her lyrics, as most people do... I grew to love her.
Years later I was floored when I realized that the Alaskan family I had fallen in love with on TV was her family! I recently saw her in concert for her handmade tour and the peace, elegance, grace and fire Jewel carries with her is contagious.
My husband bought her book for me
Ashley Scott
"It is a great fallacy to operate under the illusion that there is not enough love and so we must hoard, hang on, or somehow administer it like a limited resource. Giving love is not about the worthiness of the receiver. It's about the truth you wish to live by."

In no big surprise, Jewel continues to rule the world. I am so impressed and humbled by her honesty, courage, tenacity, and hardworking spirit. I read this book so slowly, and purposely so - I really wanted to soak in all that she had t
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Jewel's story is beautiful and heartbreaking and interesting, and there was a lot of good in this book, but unfortunately the writing really took away from the message. It was at least 25% too long. It was often very badly organized. There was a lot of times where she felt like imparting lessons to the readers but did so through telling the reader the lesson rather than showing how that lesson showed up in her life and trusting readers to understand. I love self help books, and I love memoirs, a ...more
Sonia Reppe
This was given to me by Penguin and I don't know if I would have picked this up on my own but I'm glad it fell into my hands because it was really good. Jewel's mom is wacko! That was interesting, but also sad. Jewel is very introspective and I admit I didn't read all of the poems, but since I own the book I could go back and read them at any time. ...more
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-bio-rock
3.5 stars

I enjoyed her story on what she went through to become a well-known singer/songwriter but the detailed self-examination and introspection sections were not quite my cups of tea. However, do read it if the self-help aspects of this appeal and you want to know more about the obstacles Jewel overcame. It would also be best in audio format as the narrator is the author.
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Jewel Kilcher is an American singer, songwriter, actress, poet and philanthropist, generally known just by her first name, Jewel. She has received three Grammy Award nominations. Her debut album Pieces of You became one of the best selling debut albums of all time going platinum twelve times.

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