Toni Tennille a Memoir by Toni Tennille

What Toni Tennille gives us with her memoir is a gentle tale of a gentle person. Born and raised in the deep South to upper middle class parents, she’s too much of a lady to kiss and tell. But at the same time she does recount things plainly in her own sweet way. So don’t expect much in the way of shocks or revelations about the couple, their music, or the 1970s/1980s. Instead, this quick and fluffy read is a nice way to spend time getting to know a nice lady.

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The audible is narrated by Toni and that makes it all that much more interesting, though it does still feel like she is reading and not chatting. I can compare another autobiography, by the ‘cat daddy’ Jackson Galaxy, as a true intimate experience between author and listener as an example of how to do an autobiography read well. But hearing Toni’s light Southern twang throughout does put a lot of the book into perspective nicely.

The underlying theme of the book is Toni hoping for intimacy with her husband as they work hard in the industry, become famous, pass the limelight on, and then Toni moves on to Broadway and other endeavors. But we’re also given her viewpoing on the racism in the deep South and expectations of her as a woman in that era and place.

From assisting in bands to being backup singers with the Beach Boys, break out fame with Captain and Tennille, writing a play then ultimately working grueling hours in one, to finally retirement, Toni lays out her career trajectory. There are a few tidbits about people she worked with but nothing scandalous or revealing; just a few side comments really on them. I get the feeling she forgives a lot and doesn’t say anything in the book that she wouldn’t say in person to someone.

I do recommend the Audio version just to hear her tell her story. It’s clear that everything she’s stated is very close to the mark and true, without unnecessary embellishments. But also, that means that she has very carefully skirted any true reveals about the people with whom she has worked and interacted. Even her husband, despite the eccentricities, gets pretty much a carte blanche. But even knowing the royalties incurred, I would have loved to hear her hum a few bars when she talks about their hit songs and how they came about.

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