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It's All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life

By Denise Jackson with Ellen Vaughn

Thomas Nelson, 239 pages, $24.99 hardcover

Reviewed by Jessica Phillips, March 2008

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At first glance, "It's All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life" seems to be another "tell-all" book, a Nashville-style story about the rise and (almost) fall of yet another superstar couple.

Alan Jackson and wife Denise's love story seemed to be a fairy tale. The high school sweethearts from Georgia married young and moved to Nashville to pursue Alan's dream of becoming a country music artist. After nearly five years in Nashville Jackson became the first artist signed to Arista Nashville. When "Here in the Real World," hit number one on the country charts, he and his wife were ushered into the world of limos, designer clothes, platinum albums, mansions, and the pressures and temptations of celebrity.

Then in 1997, after nearly 18 years of marriage, tremendous musical success, and 3 children together, the couple famously separated, stunning fans. While many people undoubtedly expect this book to be filled with loose-lipped details of their breakup, Denise Jackson manages to provide readers with just enough details of the inner workings of their marriage, while still respecting the couples' privacy. She intimately describes the struggles and tension caused by her own co-dependency and need for approval, and the temptations of life on the road.

"Maybe it took Alan's leaving me to really rivet my attention on the One who would never leave me," she writes.

Throughout much of the book, it becomes clear that the "Him" suggested in the title is not in fact Alan Jackson; Denise recounts vividly how her own long-standing faith in Jesus finally became much more than just a Sunday morning ritual to her in the midst of the separation.

Through the rededication of their lives to God and to each other, several counseling sessions, and the prayers and support of their friends, the Jacksons were able to renew and strengthen their marriage. She also relates how she became reacquainted with herself as an individual, apart from her superstar husband and how the events of September 11, 2001 inspired a song that touched the hearts of thousands.

Written with the common language of a journal, and interspersed with the lyrics from several of Jackson's hit songs (the book comes with a two-song CD from Alan), Denise's charming and honest way of communicating a story is at times reminiscent of her husband's simple yet endearing style of writing. This is a realistic and optimistic look at someone who triumphantly becomes her own woman, holds together her marriage and revitalizes her faith.