Celine Dion, short version No need to spend your valuable time reading the new biography of the 'Titanic' singer.Here is our heartfelt, abridged version.

November 01, 1998|By Lisa Pollak | Lisa Pollak,SUN STAFF

We were sitting in the office, humming the love theme to "Titanic," wondering Will that brilliant diva Celine Dion ever get the exposure she deserves? when something happened that made us want to rise to our feet and beat our chest with one clenched fist, the way Celine does when she sings "My Heart Will Go On." That something, of course, was the arrival of "A Voice and a Dream: The Celine Dion Story" (Ballantine Books, $5.99).

Yes, Celine fans, we know what you're thinking: Between listening to Celine's newly released French album and her soon-to-be-released Christmas album, watching her just-around-the-corner holiday special and following her world tour into the year 2000, however will we find the time to read 174 pages about "the world's hottest diva in a captivating story of a real-life Cinderella"?

No need to worry, busy fans. For you, we now present: "A Voice and a Dream" - the condensed version.

Page xi: Author Richard Crouse recalls the "engrossing journey" that was getting to know Celine Dion.

Later, page xi: Author admits he has never actually met Celine Dion.

Page xii: Nonetheless, "That she has been able to maintain a level head amid the whirlwind of her career fascinated me, forcing me to dig deep and study her background."

Page 6: Celine Dion is born in a village outside Montreal.

Page 8: Celine speaks her first sentence - in French! "She absorbed the French language very quickly, often able to memorize the entire lyrics to songs at a very young age." Digging deep, author finds Celine lives in French-speaking village.

Page 11: Celine, "not yet ten," works up to eight hours a day rehearsing and singing in parents' nightclub.

Page 12: Work takes its toll on Celine's schoolwork. Lest her promising career be cut short, "Ever-helpful siblings ... do her homework for her."

Page 20: Rene Angelil, famous manager, meets 12-year-old Celine. "You wouldn't say she was a cute child," he says. He is particularly put off by her "long, pointed incisors."

Page 28: Teen-age Dion travels the world to perform for adoring crowds, but begs family: "If you ever see that I'm changing, please ... tell me. I don't want to change."

Page 32: Manager says Celine needs to change. New look will feature makeup, "sassy" hair, revealing clothing - and capped teeth.

Page 33: Despite impressive early mastery of French, Celine struggles with English lessons. Gets feelings hurt at recording session when producer calls her work "bitchin'."

Page 44: With Celine raking in the cash, manager invests in chain of restaurants. Family members get glamorous jobs. "Brother Jacques is a night manager."

Page 75: "She was on the threshold of becoming the world's next superstar, but Celine never forgot the people who got her there. ... Sitting in the back of a stretch limo after one concert in Montreal, she insisted on rolling down the tinted windows so her fans could see her."

Page 81: Celine uses newfound English skills to make passionate declaration of love to manager: "Rene has been my manager for 15 years. He is the only man of my life, I don't know anything else."

Page 83: Celine prepares to wed

Angelil. Because she has maintained a level head amid the whirlwind of her career (Page xii), she will wear a $25,000 wedding gown with two 30-foot trains, a 7-pound Austrian crystal headdress and a "thirty-five skin" mink jacket.

Page 107: Celine opines on favorite topics in recorded messages for fans. Example: "I love high-heel shoes. ... They're very feminine and sexy and you walk differently than when you wear running shoes."

Page 129: Celine gains entry into "International Who's Who" book, a work of such prestige, the author notes, that "Pamela Anderson Lee ... didn't make the cut."

Page 145: Having conquered French and English, Celine begins studying Spanish. Her plans for the future, long suspected, are finally confirmed: "Learning new languages satisfied [Celine's] LTC desire to educate herself, but also opened up new markets in her plan for world domination."

Pub date 11/1/98

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