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Patti's Pearls: Lessons in Living Genuinely, Joyfully, Generously    by Patti LaBelle & Laura Randolph Lancaster order for
Patti's Pearls
by Patti LaBelle
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Softcover, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Patti LaBelle listened to 'pearls of wisdom' from Grandmother Ellen, Mother Chubby, other family members, and friends since childhood. Thirty years later she still hears them, and credits aging as the reason that the pearls get more of her attention. Patti's Pearls is a small-sized book, broad in wisdom and heart. The headings are pearls of wisdom to which Patti gives testimony as to how and when each pearl affected her life.

She shares tough times including, the 1970s parting of ways for the 'Labelle' trio who sang together since high school, the breakup of her thirty-year marriage, the loss of friend Claudette, and sisters Vivian, Jackie, and Barbara to cancer, and son Zuri's leaving the nest for California. To a sister involved with a married man, LaBelle says, 'His wife will always be the tablecloth and you will be the dishrag.' LaBelle talks of fear defined as 'False Evidence Appearing Real', and 'faith turned inside out'.

One of my favorite pearls is, 'You don't need a certain number of friends, only a number of friends you can be certain of.' From English friend Corinne, Patti was introduced to the concept of '2F', meaning 'fake friends' and when to spot them. LaBelle experienced '2F' first-hand after the Labelle trio split. People who once invited her to parties stopped when money and fame were at a standstill, to which this pearl is appropriately applied, 'In prosperity our friends know us, in adversity we know our friends.'

Each pearl strengthened Patti's belief in herself and her religious faith. She quotes friend George Peters' beautiful words, 'GOOD MORNING, This is God, I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your advice. I will not need your suggestions. The only thing I will need from you is your cooperation. So, relax and have a great day!' One of Patti's beliefs is that a relationship with God is a one-on-one connection, talking to Him whenever and wherever you want or need to. 'You were born God's original. Try not to become someone's copy.' (LaBelle quotes Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund)

A best-selling author and Grammy-winner many times over, Patti LaBelle is a woman with faith, love, and class. She has a way with 'turning-a-phrase', matched with a melodious voice that embraces people in her presence. Patti's Pearls is a gem of a book filled with enough pearls to make a wondrous bracelet to surround the heart. This nightstand, book club, and pick-up anytime read is absorbing, as though LaBelle is conversing with the reader directly.

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