Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Woman I Was Born to Be: My Story” as Want to Read:
The Woman I Was Born to Be: My Story
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Woman I Was Born to Be: My Story

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  502 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
In April 2009, a modest middle-aged woman from a village in Scotland was catapulted to global fame when the YouTube video of her audition for Britain’s Got Talent touched the hearts of millions all over the world. From singing karaoke in local pubs to a live performance with an eighty-piece orchestra in Japan’s legendary Budokan Arena and a record-breaking debut album, ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Woman I Was Born to Be, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Woman I Was Born to Be

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisThe Simple Soul of Susan by Noel BranhamPrince Caspian by C.S. LewisHogfather by Terry PratchettLady Susan by Jane Austen
72 books — 10 voters
I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Jen KirkmanTwo Is Enough by Laura S. ScottNo Kidding by Henriette MantelComplete Without Kids by Ellen L. WalkerChildfree and Loving It! by Nicki Defago
Childfree Books
69 books — 35 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
On April 1st, 2009 Susan Boyle spent a lonely birthday in her West Lothian home in Scotland. There were no cards, no presents, no parties, no phone calls with people singing happy birthday. Nope, for Susan, it really wasn't a "birthday" but just any other ordinary day.

On April 1, 2010 Susan Boyle was known around the world!! She had become an overnight sensation singing with the voice of an angel. The range, the pitch and notes this woman can hit literally leave you quaking in your boots. You a
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm probably one of the 10 people in the world who didn't pay much attention to Susan Boyle. I don't even watch the American talent shows so I don't think I'm the target audience for this book. But I will be talking about nonfiction this week on "Great Day St. Louis," and this was one of three titles the producers wanted me to yak about. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. It's very well written (kudos to Susan Boyle's ghostwriter for getting her story down so clearly and poignantly). Since I did ...more
Oct 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I recently saw Susan Boyle on the Oprah Winfrey show and was really inspired by her story. This prompted me to buy the book. I am about 1/4 of the way into it and can say that I look forward to learning more about her. She has a beautiful voice and a very powerful story to tell.

Susan Boyle's memoir was not a typical celebrity tale. Susan spoke lovingly about her faith and her family and how both helped her to navigate through the world where people are not always accepting. I found her school ex
Jennifer (JC-S)
Nov 25, 2010 rated it liked it
‘So I opened my mouth and showed them what I could do..’

Susan Magdalane Boyle was born on 1 April 1961, the ninth child in her family. On 1 April 2009, she observed her 48th birthday quietly. On the 11th of April, her audition (recorded in August 2008) for ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ was shown on British television. Video of her audition, singing ‘I dreamed a Dream’, was posted on YouTube, and Susan Boyle became known around the world. On 1 April 2010, she was singing with an eighty-piece orchestra a
Susan B
Sep 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I remember seeing Susan Boyle's first audition on Britain's Got Talent, then showing it to my son when he got home from school. When she opened her mouth, he said, "That's not her singing, is it?" He thought it was a trick. No one expected that voice to come from that visual. But God truly uses the humble things of this world to shame the proud, and He gave Susan a beautiful talent.

Susan tells her own story in The Woman I Was Born to Be. After a brief prologue, she begins with the story of her b
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
I am so glad I decided to read this book. This is a very candid, very honest story of Susan Boyle's life until her mid-40s when she literally became an overnight international superstar by appearing on Great Britain's Got Talent. If you have followed her career at all, you've read the tabloids, the rumors of tantrums and depression and all sorts of things. This book tells it all, from what it's like to go, literally overnight, from a bullied, somewhat mentally challenged woman living on her own ...more
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've always wondered what I would respond if ever asked whom I would like to meet. I can now say it would be an honor to meet Susan Boyle. This book was so inspiring, so touching, so real. What an incredibly beautiful person.
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011-50-a-year
Delightful biography of Susan Boyle and her catapult into fame.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, music
What an interesting life. Just goes to show you can't judge a book by it's cover. A person with a disability may be disabled on one way, but shine in another.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't follow many people in the music or acting scene anymore but I've made an exception for Susan Boyle. Like millions of other people I first saw her on her audition for Britain's Got Talent when she shocked all three judges, wiping the smug smirks off the faces of Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell. I had watched a season or two of the American version and enjoy the parts after the auditions but mostly don't follow the winners after they finish the show.

For Susan I've become a real fan. I have
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Did you ever think that it would be fun being a famous person, well think again. Reading Susan Boyle’s book about her rise to fame as its share of struggles along with the way.

Susan was a simple, quiet and often lonely woman from Scotland. She was the youngest of 9 children and growing up was not easy for her. She was always different than those of her classmates and siblings. Making friends and learning was a challenge for her and I believe that her parents sheltered her too much. She was and
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not a typical read for me I was handed a copy because 'you like books'! But I remember watching Susan's first appearance so was interested enough for a good skim read.

Got to admit cynicism over the whole reality show machine. I firmly believe there's staging, certainly no mention here of the pre-auditions necessary for televised auditions...

But there's a naivety and goodwill about the book, the voice and accent of Susan Boyle coming through it. A humble woman with a quirky sense of humour, mild
Barbara Nourse
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
OK! I didn't think I would like this book - I have not followed the famedom of Susan Boyle, but I was a reading teacher who dealt with lots of students who struggled. I loved this book. She, fortunately, was a reader. But she had other learning difficulties and just didn't fit the picture of the norm! Not only has she survived but she is an outstanding person who said disability - "The first 3 letters imply that you're limited, that a fence has been built around you - not by you but by what peop ...more
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it
I iked the book. It gave me food for thought. It was heart-breaking to hear of her early struggles, and her lack of preparation for "life". When her parents died, she had no friends, no support, and no ability to take care of basic financial tasks. Even at 48, she said the teens on the corner would make fun to her (the very ones that wanted her autograph after her fame). How sad to think someone's life could be so hard - and that people were so cruel. It was nice to hear her happy ending.
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it
I am really enjoying this book. I love to read biographies and this is a good one. I do remember seeing Susan for the first time at the music competition when the whole world was surprised by her voice.
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I so ENJOyED this book! Her Scottish banter comes through clearly, and Susan is very candid about her life and experiences.
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Susan is a very simple woman with some learning disabilities which makes it clearer why she has had so much trouble dealing with fame. I wish her the best.
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with acute anxiety
its much more then a book about someone who won a talent show.
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Before I write my review on this book, I want to let everyone know what I first thought about Susan and how I got to know about her.
It all started about 2 years ago, maybe last year. My mum was on the computer one day and she was playing a video over and over again of this lady called Susan boyle. I thought she looked interesting, but the song did nothing for me and I was irritated. I admit I thought she seemed weird and didn't seem like an interesting person (why was I so cruel?:(). I did like
Kathleen Dixon
I don't watch any of those talent shows - I've seen an occasional episode of one or the other, but I've never turned the television on for the purpose of watching, and
if I've been flicking channels I haven't stayed for more than a couple of minutes. Nevertheless, I heard of Susan Boyle at the time of her phenomenal debut. Still, I didn't follow her other performances and knew nothing more beyond hearing a track from her CD playing somewhere, and a sympathetic comment that a good friend of mine
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I have been a Susan Boyle fan ever since my friend sent me the YouTube video of Boyle's triumphant performance on AMERICA'S GOT TALENT. I was overcome by her supposed fledgling talent and her unassuming persona. Later I asked for her first CD for Christmas which was met with decided derision by the husband of a friend of mine when he stopped over while I was listening to it. But, love her I did, despite her unusual choices of clothing for her performances and that funny, naive little wiggle. Whe ...more
K. East
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Two Britain's Got Talent auditions have had an impact on me. One was Phil Potts opera rendition and the other was Susan Boyle's, I Dreamed A Dream. What I didn't know was that the Youtube of her performance changed her life forever the very next day -- some of it in bad ways, some of it a dream come true. As she mentions in one of the last chapters, "celebrity is paradoxical; it brings pleasures as well as pressures, ...freedom as well as restrictions."

I stopped reading biographies once I reali
Nellie Brand
Jan 18, 2012 rated it liked it

Susan Boyle's book is like Susan is in your room talking with you. It is personal, funny,and honest. Taken first into her childhood world... the world of a large Catholic family in a small poor Scottish village but you end up on a huge stage with an 80 piece orchestra! In front of 10,000 people in Tokyo, Japan.In the book Susan is at times both open and funny, honest and determined, humble and reflective, about the crazy series of events that brought her and her beautiful voice to worldwi
You Ctv
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome
From the book, Susan Boyle (page 265) "Amazing Grace is another very powerful hymn for me because it expresses so beautifully how God is always there, especially when I am scared. 'I once was lost but now am found, Was blind but now I see'. It is a hymn that was to take on a special meaning for me later on in my journey. 'Who I was Born to Be' is a song that was written specially for me and the lyrics encapsulate so much about my life" And , from page 315, about the song, "Who I was Born to Be" ...more
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, showbiz
Susan Boyle, a modest middle-aged Scottish woman, shot to world-wide fame when an audition of her singing “I Dreamed a Dream” (from the musical “Les Miserables”) for the tv show “Britain’s Got Talent” made her a You-Tube phenomenon. This is the story of her life through that first year after she became world-known. She tells of her family upbringing, the last of nine children – a surprise late in life baby, who her family would always worry about as being a little off, due to a difficult birth a ...more
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! I thought I knew some of the details of Susan Boyle's life, but her story as written here took me inside her thoughts and feelings as her life as unfolded. She has been very careful in this book to be as charitable as possible, especially in her view of her parents, siblings, and her upbringing, to the point that she does not name the kids who bullied her in school when she was young.
There are so many ways one could appreciate this story, and be enlightened by it. Certainly,
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved reading about this sweet, unpretentious woman from Scotland and her rise to stardom. She was the last of nine children. At birth, she was deprived of oxygen for some time and her parents worried that she wouldn't be like the other kids. She was a bit slow and things didn't come to her as quickly but she did ok for herself. Kids can be so cruel and she was teased unmercifully throughout her school years. Her parents were strong in their Catholic faith and had a strong marriage so she grew ...more
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
As I was reading Susan Boyle's memoir, it was completely stunning. When I first caught a glimpse of her on YouTube singing a rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream," it just blew me away.
When I look back on her early years and her personal life as a train-wreck, I made comparisons to my life on what really happened to me that day. There are a couple of things that both Boyle and I have in common: we both have learning difficulties and have a strong passion for music.
The lesson I've learned from her w
Lorna Collins
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Written from the heart, Susan Boyle has captured her life in a way that her fans can relate to. At first I wondered if she had used a ghost writer, but the 'voice' of the book is Susan's own. I could hear the burr of my own Scottish grandmother in her narrative. Her story is inspirational and a delight to read. She was a very sheltered young woman who grew up believing that she had a disability. (Tests later in life seem to belie that assumption.)

Imagine the courage it took to step out of her ve
pat lindfield
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was not sure what to except but a beautiful book.Some very sad and other parts so funny.What Susan has gone thru she deserved all the happiness that can be given.You are one lovely lady.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Love Brought Me Back: A Journey of Loss and Gain
  • The Legs Are the Last to Go: Aging, Acting, Marrying, and Other Things I Learned the Hard Way
  • Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"
  • Agathe Von Trapp: Memories Before and After the Sound of Music
  • Next to You: Caron's Courage Remembered by Her Mother
  • One silent sleepless night
  • True Grace: The Life and Times of an American Princess
  • Smart Blonde: Dolly Parton
  • Maria
  • Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self
  • Why? Because We Still Like You: An Oral History of the Mickey Mouse Club
  • The Gleaning (The Spellspinners of Melas County, #2)
  • Between the Lines: The Autobiography
  • The Prison Angel: Mother Antonia's Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail
  • Jonny: My Autobiography
  • I'm Just Sayin'!: Three Deaths, Seven Husbands, and a Clone! My Life as a Daytime Diva
  • My Passion for Design
  • Celine Dion: My Story, My Dream
“There are enough people in the world who are going to write you off. You don't need to do that to yourself.” 13 likes
“If my story means anything, it is that people are very often too quick to judge a person by the way they look or by their quirks of behavior. I may not have quite the same sense of humour as other people, but at least I do have a sense of humour, and I've needed it! As a society, we seem to have very tight restrictions on what is considered "normal.” 13 likes
More quotes…