Finding My Voice Info

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In Finding My Voice, the nationally acclaimed public
radio host Diane Rehm tells the story of her remarkable life -- a story
in three acts. First, her childhood: She was raised in a traditional
Christian Arab household -- her parents were immigrants from the Near
East who had a grocery store in Washington, D.C. It was a household
dominated by rigor and fear, and Rehm's account of her mother's
emotional and physical abuse is chilling. Her young girl's intelligence
and energy helped her survive, though the cost to her self-esteem was
substantial. After a brief early marriage and divorce, she embarked on a
second marriage, to John Rehm -- a marriage rockier than many but one
that has endured and flourished, and in which they have happily raised
their two children.
Then, in her thirties, as she found her life
as a housewife/mother starting to push her into depression, Rehm began
by a stroke of good fortune to volunteer at WAMU-FM, then a small public
radio station in Washington, and found that she loved radio and was
good at it. She had found her métier. Six years later she had her
own show, hosting politicians, artists, writers, musicians, and
scientists, including Hillary Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Carl Sagan,
Francis Crick, Salman Rushdie, and Norman Mailer, among thousands of
others. Twenty years after she began, her talk show is distributed
nationally by National Public Radio (NPR) and reaches more than 700,000
listeners each week. Rehm's knowledge of her medium is extensive. Her
account of her career is important for what it tells us about the growth
of talk radio and about her ability to use that medium to create a
straightforward, honest dialogue with her guests and callers throughout
the nation.
Finally, Finding My Voice recounts Rehm's
recent frightening battle with a rare neurological disorder, spasmodic
dysphonia (SD), a condition that "creates a strangled hoarseness
[and] fills [her] voice with tremors." A radio broadcaster's
nightmare, the loss of her voice took her off the air for an extended
period of time and into a frantic -- and successful -- search for
treatment. As she has with other trials in her life, Rehm has faced this
ongoing struggle with fortitude, insight, and pluck. This is a
fascinating story by a courageous and resourceful American woman.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Finding My Voice:

3

Feb 19, 2010

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. How lucky am I that I found a signed copy of this book at the Habitat Restore Bookstore (Julia's Cafe). It's signed to Barbara, but nevermind.

I've been a long time fan of Diane Rehm. I find the show interesting, informative, and enjoyable. I appreciate the intelligent and balanced dialog and have tremendous respect for Rehm and how she conducts the show. So, I was particularly thrilled to find a second hand copy of this book that I had never gotten around to reading.

One of the things that I How lucky am I that I found a signed copy of this book at the Habitat Restore Bookstore (Julia's Cafe). It's signed to Barbara, but nevermind.

I've been a long time fan of Diane Rehm. I find the show interesting, informative, and enjoyable. I appreciate the intelligent and balanced dialog and have tremendous respect for Rehm and how she conducts the show. So, I was particularly thrilled to find a second hand copy of this book that I had never gotten around to reading.

One of the things that I liked was that her life story was a complete surprise. It was interesting to discover the assumptions I had made about Rehm and how different they were from her real life story. She is someone who suffered an unpleasant childhood and lives with many insecurities that have stemmed from her difficult upbringing. Some of these challenges have spurred her to work harder and prepare more intensely than others might, and perhaps are partially responsible for making her show such high quality and such a success.

Being a long time listener, I also knew that Diane and her husband have been married for many years. Again though, unknowingly, I made the assumption that it must be one of the fairy tale unions. It was surprising to learn that while the Rehms have stayed together for forty years, all the years haven't been happy. I appreciated that Diane was honest about their relationship and so willing to divulge the struggles the couple has endured. Like Viorst's "Grown Up Marriage" it's a message that is often lost or hidden about relationships -- that even the best partnerships experience difficulties and insecurities. What makes a marriage good isn't that two perfect people manage to find each other, it's that two imperfect people manage to forge through times when they don't like each other very much or agree, or even know how to politely disagree.

Another thing I liked about this life story was the message it provides about success. It's easy to see someone already in a successful career and imagine that life is somehow easier for them than those of us still trying to find our way or get "there" wherever "there" is. Diane suffered her failures, doubts, and insecurities just like all of us. I related particularly to the feelings that she describes in various job situations, feeling like a fraud, inadequate, and sick to her stomach. Somehow learning that even someone as successful as Diane has self-doubt was comforting in a way that makes those feelings feel less unnatural (though not less unwanted).

Unfortunately, I could also relate to her frustrations with having a mystery diagnosis, though she seems to have handled it with more grace than some of us.

My biggest complaint is that while Diane claims to be a baseball fan, not once did she recount a story of a family event watching the Orioles. It's my one criticism of her. Any self-respecting fan would have been there during the heydey of the Os, and most definitely visited Camden Yards during her visits to Hopkins. Come on Diane, I expected better of you!

I will overlook this one major flaw to say that the book was a worthwhile read. It provided an honest memoir and was encouraging in its message that few of us have charmed lives. Our personal struggles, whatever they are, can be overcome. How life seems on the outside is not how it is on the inside. Even our most admired heroes struggle with their demons and while we work to excise them, maybe we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves for not being yet the person we really strive to be. We've all made mistakes, we all have regrets, we all wish we were better, and in that, we are no different from each other, only living our human story. ...more
4

Oct 18, 2013

One of the many things I liked about this book was it reminded me (yet again)that I often make assumptions about things I know nothing about. Diane Rehm is the reason NPR is on my radio auto select (although the music is beautiful and appreciated, also.) She is just an amazingly well-informed, articulate, gracious host and I have learned more listening to her radio program than almost anything else. I made a lot of assumptions, however, that proved untrue. In discussing her upbringing, education One of the many things I liked about this book was it reminded me (yet again)that I often make assumptions about things I know nothing about. Diane Rehm is the reason NPR is on my radio auto select (although the music is beautiful and appreciated, also.) She is just an amazingly well-informed, articulate, gracious host and I have learned more listening to her radio program than almost anything else. I made a lot of assumptions, however, that proved untrue. In discussing her upbringing, education and marriage she is amazingly candid. There are no answers provided, but it is one woman's story that encompasses the re-defining women's movement of the 2nd half of the 20th century, emotional wholeness and physical adaptability. ...more
2

Oct 28, 2013

I enjoy Diane Rehm and think she has some great interviews on NPR so I was looking forward to her autobiography. Unfortunately this left me feeling rather flat. The first third of the book (Other Voices) is about her childhood and high school years. It was a somewhat difficult upbringing in a traditional Christian Arab household. Her mother, who appears to have some mental illness, is critical and sometimes beats Diane. Diane soon learns to stay quiet rather than speak and upset her mother.

Both I enjoy Diane Rehm and think she has some great interviews on NPR so I was looking forward to her autobiography. Unfortunately this left me feeling rather flat. The first third of the book (Other Voices) is about her childhood and high school years. It was a somewhat difficult upbringing in a traditional Christian Arab household. Her mother, who appears to have some mental illness, is critical and sometimes beats Diane. Diane soon learns to stay quiet rather than speak and upset her mother.

Both parents die before Diane is twenty and, after a brief first marriage, Diane is on her own for the first time in her life. (Section Two is titled: A Voice of My Own). This is the section that I found the most disappointing. I expected it to be an exciting time as Diane and women as a whole begin to find their voices. Instead it was mostly about the insecurities that Rehm felt throughout her career.

The final third (Losing-and Finding My Voice) deals with the spasmodic dysphonia which has plagued her in the latter years.

I appreciate that Rehm has continued her career despite the physical challenges. I like her interviews and her probing questions. I just wasn't wowed by her book. ...more
1

Apr 16, 2015

I am a huge fan of Diane Rehm's radio show and was curious to read her memoir, but this experience was a reminder that not all smart people are also talented writers. Diane can moderate an interview on the dullest topic and still make it interesting, and her life has included substantial highs and lows that could have made for an engaging book. Instead, Finding My Voice was flat, bogged down with too much description and not enough real emotion. The effect felt like a blend of uninterested I am a huge fan of Diane Rehm's radio show and was curious to read her memoir, but this experience was a reminder that not all smart people are also talented writers. Diane can moderate an interview on the dullest topic and still make it interesting, and her life has included substantial highs and lows that could have made for an engaging book. Instead, Finding My Voice was flat, bogged down with too much description and not enough real emotion. The effect felt like a blend of uninterested journalism and "dear diary" daily entries. Not at all what I had expected. ...more
4

Jan 03, 2009

A storyteller at heart, Diane's own reading (wobbly voice and all) of her memoir was captivating. The glimpses into her past, particularly her early life (psychological abuse by her mother), first failed marriage, and painful insecurities, make her genuine on-air personality and warmth all the more believable.
4

Nov 07, 2015

I found it interesting to hear about her upbringing and continual struggle to "find her voice". Diane's life has been full and she continues to grow, learn and change. Now when I listen to her radio show, I feel like I know her!
5

Sep 10, 2014

I love listening to The Diane Rehm Show on NPR. This is her autobiography and explains her voice condition. It was a great read because of my respect for her, but also because it was so clearly written.
3

Jul 01, 2009

I ma an avid listener to "The Diane Rehm Show" so it's a little odd that I only read her memoir now, ten years after it was first published. Interesting to read about her background and the forces that shaped her, her entry into broadcasting and the condition that almost cost her her career.
3

Jan 24, 2013

I really enjoyed this book. It made me like Diane Rehm even more. This is the story of NPR's Diane Rehm. Diane is an Christian Arab, born of immigrant parents. The book follows her growing up years, her marriages, and eventually her finding a job in radio, and the Diane Rehm Show. It also covers her disease, which has caused her voice to change so drastically.
0

Jun 01, 2009

I absolutely love listening to NPR, and I often seem to be in the car with the radio on during the Diane Rehm show. I'm not a particular fan of Diane Rehm herself, but she seems to have an interesting life story. So when I saw this book at a thrift store, I thought I'd pick it up for a couple of dollars.
4

Feb 28, 2011

I had no idea about how much she went through in her younger years and her unexpected (untrained, etc) career in radio. I found every detail interesting, but I am a fan of her radio show. :)

She talks about her Arab roots, rough family life, voice problems (which everyone wonders about), journey from SAHM to radio star and much more.
4

Dec 31, 2011

So very interesting. A glimpse into the inner life of someone I have listened to on npr for years and wondered about. It not only answers those basic kinds of questions, but more that you had never really anticipated. Like about her relationships with her family and her resilience in an era when women were pigeonholed much more so than today.
3

Apr 11, 2013

I was recommended this book and was excited to read about Diane and how she came to learn she had SD. In general, the book is more of a large sweep of her life without a lot of intricate details that actually make a story "really good." I have never listened to her on NPR, but plan to listen via YouTube. I can't say I recommend this book unless you are a Diane Rehm fan or are interested in learning more about SD.
3

Sep 28, 2010

I'm a fan of Diane Rehm, and enjoyed her book. I listened to part on tape and read the rest. I generally like reading better, and for me the book was more enjoyable. She reads the book on tape, and it didn't add to the experience (slow, of course, and I felt less empathy with her somehow).

I was struck by how troubled her childhood and homelife has been much of her life, something that I never would have guessed by listening to her show. Learning about her challenges was interesting.
4

Jan 01, 2013

Diane Rehm is well loved NPR host for over 30 years. This book details her life in 3 stages, her childhood with immigrant parents, marriage and finding a broadcasting career she loved and her struggle with spasmodic dysphonia (a voice disorder) which almost put that career on hold forever.

If you have not listened to Diane, you will find the details of her life interesting, if you are an avid listener like me, the details of her struggles are insightful and revealing. If nothing else, the Diane Rehm is well loved NPR host for over 30 years. This book details her life in 3 stages, her childhood with immigrant parents, marriage and finding a broadcasting career she loved and her struggle with spasmodic dysphonia (a voice disorder) which almost put that career on hold forever.

If you have not listened to Diane, you will find the details of her life interesting, if you are an avid listener like me, the details of her struggles are insightful and revealing. If nothing else, the descriptions of her interviewing experiences with prominent politicians and authors are funny and intriguing. ...more
2

Feb 17, 2016

I just recently finished reading Diane's new book On My Own, so I decided to check this one out since I enjoyed that book. However, I was a little disappointed. As others have pointed out, a significant portion of this book centers on her childhood and relationship with her parents, specifically her mother. I'm not a therapist and not really interested in all of that stuff. I was hoping this book focused more on how she found her calling in mid-life (the radio program). Those chapters were I just recently finished reading Diane's new book On My Own, so I decided to check this one out since I enjoyed that book. However, I was a little disappointed. As others have pointed out, a significant portion of this book centers on her childhood and relationship with her parents, specifically her mother. I'm not a therapist and not really interested in all of that stuff. I was hoping this book focused more on how she found her calling in mid-life (the radio program). Those chapters were interesting, but too much of this book focuses on her dysfunctional relationship with her mother. On a side note, it was funny to discover Margaret Truman was a nightmare guest on her radio show. That was amusing since I'm currently reading one of Margaret Truman's books! ...more
3

Feb 28, 2016

Very interesting read ... no doubt about that. Diane Rehm's childhood and early adulthood were so confusing and full of emotional abuse, that it's a wonder she managed to succeed in the ways she has.

The reason I gave this introspective three stars is that her theme of self-doubt became extremely tedious. Over and over again. I understand the affect her childhood had on her life, but I didn't need to read about each instance where she put herself down or questioned her own abilities, even in the Very interesting read ... no doubt about that. Diane Rehm's childhood and early adulthood were so confusing and full of emotional abuse, that it's a wonder she managed to succeed in the ways she has.

The reason I gave this introspective three stars is that her theme of self-doubt became extremely tedious. Over and over again. I understand the affect her childhood had on her life, but I didn't need to read about each instance where she put herself down or questioned her own abilities, even in the face of huge accomplishment and success.

I really enjoyed the stories about being on the air and having to deal with some rather ridiculous guests. And I admire and respect her view that talk show hosts shouldn't BE the news - they should provide a well-rounded view of issues. Rehm's dedication to that makes Limbaugh look like an even bigger ass.

This is a good read ... I just wish it had taken a bit of a different turn instead of focusing so much on her self-doubt. ...more
4

Sep 22, 2012

If you listen to NPR, you know the name AND the voice of Diane Rehm. But her entire story is worth reading. Raised in a Christian Arab home with a ferocious mother who beat her and then crushed her even more with silent treatments, it is hard to imagine Diane could find the confidence to go out into the world and make a career for herself. Luck and interest in the world came together and she began as a volunteer on a non-syndicated "home" radio show out of American University in Washington DC. If you listen to NPR, you know the name AND the voice of Diane Rehm. But her entire story is worth reading. Raised in a Christian Arab home with a ferocious mother who beat her and then crushed her even more with silent treatments, it is hard to imagine Diane could find the confidence to go out into the world and make a career for herself. Luck and interest in the world came together and she began as a volunteer on a non-syndicated "home" radio show out of American University in Washington DC. Having never attended college, she worried constantly that someone would "find her out" and call her a fake. However, her intellect, her curiosity, her willingness to work hard and her way of getting people to talk surpassed all else. She credits loving doctors and years of therapy to keep her as strong as she is. Just at the height of her radio career (after national syndication and HER name on her radio show), she started having problems in controlling her voice - finally diagnosed to be spasmodic dysphonia. With medication, breathing exercises and her powerful inner voice saying "go on" --- she continues to bring us her interesting and thought-provoking shows. ...more
3

Oct 21, 2013

This was a quick read for me. I had no problem getting into the narrative flow of Diane's writing. The most interesting part was the first third, where she talks about her family, her childhood and her life as a young wife and mother. She had a difficult relationship with her parents, especially her mother, and she related one chilling incident where her parents abandoned her to a sweet-talking congressman who took her back to his hotel room and molested her. From what I could find out, she has This was a quick read for me. I had no problem getting into the narrative flow of Diane's writing. The most interesting part was the first third, where she talks about her family, her childhood and her life as a young wife and mother. She had a difficult relationship with her parents, especially her mother, and she related one chilling incident where her parents abandoned her to a sweet-talking congressman who took her back to his hotel room and molested her. From what I could find out, she has never revealed the name of the man, which is disturbing because one wonders how many other children he may have molested in a similar fashion.

As her success grows in broadcasting, she over and over and over again speaks of her insecurities and fears, although these didn't seem to translate into her life--at least we get no examples. She goes into counseling (which sounds like it was more like life coaching). It seems unnecessary to keep repeating how insecure she was when the reality that she conveyed was one of great success, helped tremendously by her own and her attorney husband's contacts in the upper echelon's of power in the D.C. political and arts world. Despite her childhood difficulties, she has led a life of privilege. As she herself admits in the book, her broadcasting career would not have begun had she not been able to volunteer her time for so long to the early public station she worked at. Had she not been married to an attorney able to financially support her, her career would have ended before it began.

I'd recommend the book for anyone who has an interest in how NPR shows are produced, the early days of public radio and for those interested in the neurological disorder she suffers from, called spasmodic dysphonia (SD).
...more
4

Sep 15, 2016

Diane Rehm is one determined woman! You've got to admire her personal growth and success, especially after she admits to having so little self-confidence. I wondered about her situation with her voice and she pulls no punches about what she's had to go thru with that. There are several famous people with the same problem she has, including Bill Clinton.
This is an especially good book for those interested in media - mainly radio.
3

Jan 07, 2017

I must be one of the few people in the US who is not a great fan of Diane Rehm. But I was willing to find out what I could be missing. She is a brave if not somewhat self involved woman and I will give her kudos for constantly working to overcome her upbringing and her health issues. I was actually more interested to learn about her when I found her lineage was Arab, perhaps Turk. Sad how long it took doctors to find the cause of her vocal problems. As a former singer and now public speaker the I must be one of the few people in the US who is not a great fan of Diane Rehm. But I was willing to find out what I could be missing. She is a brave if not somewhat self involved woman and I will give her kudos for constantly working to overcome her upbringing and her health issues. I was actually more interested to learn about her when I found her lineage was Arab, perhaps Turk. Sad how long it took doctors to find the cause of her vocal problems. As a former singer and now public speaker the vocal apparatus is a precious commodity. Happened to have read her book while down with a nasty cold! Reads easily.

Worth the read. Particularly if you are a fan. ...more
3

Nov 07, 2018

I love Diane Rehm's interviews and podcast BUT, something didn't read true in this memoir written quite a while back. She seems to be a victim of luck more than anything.
3

Jun 28, 2018

This was interesting, but I've heard a lot of it before from seeing Diane Rehm speak. I wish she had gone into more detail about some areas of her life that she's talked about in her speaking appearances, but, all in all, it was a good book.
4

May 25, 2017

So interesting to read about the NPR radio host whom my kids called "the wobbly voice woman." Diane Rehm overcame an abusive childhood, oppressive first marriage, a problematic second one, and a speech disease, spastic dysphonia, to succeed in radio with her own national show. Not sure how many people would be able to start a career the way she did - working for ten months as a full time apprentice at WAMU in Washington, DC, with no pay.
4

Aug 27, 2019

My parents would have the Diane Rehm Show on in the car if we were ever driving somewhere during the show’s scheduled hours. I rediscovered her show after moving back to the US in 2015, just in time for her retirement in 2016. What a fascinating woman. Her childhood was a sad one that haunted her self-confidence even when she hit radios nationwide. You will laugh and you will cry. Above all else, Diane’s perseverance and humility will inspire you.

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