Magazine May 17, 2021, Issue

The Impossible Genuineness of Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs, by Sarah Smarsh (Scribner, 208 pp., $22); Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, by Dolly Parton with Robert K. Oermann (Chronicle Books, 380 pp., $50)

Dolly Parton — singer, songwriter, philanthropist, and all-round American treasure — was born in 1946, the fourth of twelve children, and then raised on much love and little else in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. As a teenager, Parton recalls, she saw a woman who people said looked like trash, but who she decided was “the most beautiful woman in the county.” Parton would see her, all dolled up with “her big dyed hair, her bright red nails, her feet squeezed tight into her high heel shoes, and all paint and perfume,” and, behind her family’s back, she

This article appears as “Dolly’s Heart” in the May 17, 2021, print edition of National Review.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going.

If you enjoyed this article and want to see more content like this, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

 

Join Now

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

The Week

The Week

President Biden’s climate summit was a step forward in a process that is likely to end up being a very good deal for America’s rivals.

Recommended

The Latest

Overturn <i>Roe</i>

Overturn Roe

A majority of the Court knows that the 1973 decision is nonsense. It is past time for the justices to say so.