Sign of Life
Hilary Williams and M.B. Roberts
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Buy *Sign of Life: A Story of Family, Tragedy, Music, and Healing* by Hilary Williams and M.B. Roberts online

Sign of Life: A Story of Family, Tragedy, Music, and Healing
Hilary Williams and M.B. Roberts
Da Capo Press
256 pages
November 2010
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Hilary Williams is the granddaughter of Hank Williams' and daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. She is country royalty, and in this autobiography she talks about coming from a legendary family and the attendant blessings - and curses - that engenders.

Sign of Life mainly deals with the dark side of fame. Four years ago, Hilary and her sister Holly were out on historic Highway 61 when their truck flipped multiple times and landed as a mass of twisted metal on the side of the road. Hilary barely survived the crash and had to endure 23 surgeries. The true ironic horror of that entire scenario - and the main substance of this book - is that at the time this horrific accident occurred, she was driving and momentarily reached to retrieve her iPod. Here is the telling in the author's words of that sinister moment.

"I decided to change the song, so I reached down for my iPod, just for a second. Then, I felt the car shift.

"Immediately, I put both hands back on the wheel and gripped it hard. The part of the road we were riding on had turned really rough with deep ruts, as if the tires of a huge 18-wheeler had dug into the asphalt when it was wet and no one had come back and paved it over. All at once, my truck was riding in the deep, dipping part of the ruts and it felt like we were riding a wave at 60 mph. Then the truck skidded across the road and into the gravel and I heard a loud scraping sound, like a bulldozer scooping up a messy pile of rocks."
It's a terrible moment and one made all the more unrelenting because it was something she caused - neither automobile failure nor impaired capacity due to alcohol or drugs (although she would later be administered heavy doses of morphine and other painkillers to get her through the surgeries). It was simply a momentary lapse of control because she wanted to hear some music.

She is courageous in her telling of the ordeal and its long aftermath. But she pulled through and went on to pursue a musical career of her own.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2010

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