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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by Cara Mentzel, with a foreword from her big sister, Idina Menzel. Also included is a bonus interview and an exclusive duet of the sisters performing the song "Never Never Land".

Voice Lessons is the story of one younger sister growing up in the shadow of a larger-than-life older sister - looking up to her, wondering how they were alike and how they were different, and ultimately learning how to live her own life and speak in her own voice on her own terms. As Cara Mentzel studied, explored, married, gave birth (twice), and eventually became an elementary school teacher, she watched her sister, Idina Menzel, from the wings and gives listeners a front row seat to the opening nights of Rent and Wicked, a seat at the Tonys, and a place on the red carpet when her sister taught millions more, as the voice of Queen Elsa in the animated musical Frozen, to "Let It Go".

Voice Lessons is the story of sisters - sisters with pigtails, sisters with boyfriends and broken hearts, sisters as mothers and aunts, sisters as teachers and ice queens, sisters as allies and confidantes. As Cara puts it, "My big sister is Tony Award-winning, gravity-defying, 'Let It Go'-singing Idina Menzel, who has received top billing on Broadway marquees, who has performed for Barbra Streisand and President Obama, at the Super Bowl and at the Academy Awards. The world knows her as Idina Menzel, but I call her Dee." Voice Lessons is their story.

©2017 Cara Mentzel, foreword copyright Idina Menzel (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Cara Mentzel's voice is crisp and clear as she narrates her own story of growing up as Broadway star Idina Menzel's little sister. The relationship between sisters is a complex one, and listeners will feel all the love and, at other times, all the pain in Cara's voice." (AudioFile Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Heartfelt Read

Cara Mentzel did an awesome job, not only with the actual writing of the book, but also with the audio narration! I love how she structured the book and her sentences. Very engaging!

She truly sounds like a veteran storyteller! I didn’t know much at all about Cara, but this book and her stories made me feel so connected to her somehow. The book is so genuine, honest, and entertaining. Cara showed her vulnerability, lessons learned, and her consequent strengths.

Overall, I would recommend this to everyone wanting a good and fun read! I think it’s such a well-written book regardless of who her sister is :) But, of course, it’s a great treat and so cool to learn about Idina from her sister’s point-of-view.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love the Mentzel Sisters!

Absolutely loved this intimate insight into Cara Mentzel and her sister, Idina Menzel’s, life. It’s honest, raw and a lovely story about sisters.
I decided to read it wanting a little preview into the fab Idina’s life, but quickly found myself wrapped up in Cara’s story. If you love Idina, you will love this book and soon love her sister Cara just as much!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A sister’s must read!!

I identified with each of these women at different times in the book. Such a real story of sibling love and life. Great book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful Voice

It’s great to her the story from the authors lips. It really allows the emotions of the different events to be fully appreciated. Thank you Cara, for giving us a glimpse into your life and your sister’s. You truly have a beautiful voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mei
  • Calgary, Alberta Canada
  • 10-23-17

It's like spending a weekend with a new friend

There’s a certain human connection that happens when you hear a personal story spoken aloud, and that made this memoir even better than if I had read a hard copy myself. Maybe it’s the honesty and inflection behind the words, and the Long Island accent that is emphasized in certain parts. Other audiobook bonuses are the foreward read by Idina (Dee), the interview with both sisters at the end, and the duet that they sing of “Never Never Land” – from Peter Pan, which is referenced in the book as the first musical theatre performance that the sisters ever saw.

Cara Mentzel, younger sister of “Broadway supernova” Idina was (relatively) quieter and (seemingly) shy to the average observer, but through her own words and voice we get to know her spunk and wit as she recalls tales that span from their childhood (think little orphan Annie and Snoopy Sno Cone Machines), to the present. The book tells of their journey as sisters (so far) through marriages, careers, and finally - their shared experience on the Oscars red carpet. I loved that Cara had hoped Dee would invite her as her Oscars date, but didn’t want to ask; her recollection of everything to do with attending the Oscars was so humourous because Cara was thinking what you or I would probably be thinking in the same situation. One of my favourite passages was about deciding which dress to wear, and the tongue-in-cheek line: “Luckily, the vote for the periwinkle dress was unanimous, so I didn’t have to worry about showing up at the Oscars like I thought I was going to the Golden Globes. How embarrassing would that have been!”

‘Voice Lessons’ explores the complexity of a sibling relationship like any other, with the added fun of a glimpse here and there into the celebrity life. The perspective of this story told by Idina’s little sister (and biggest fan) is a unique one, and those who were kids in the 70’s and 80’s will relate to all the pop culture references. You don’t have to be a die-hard Idina fan to like this book (though if you are, it’s an obvious must-read!). If you enjoy stories about family, and you’re curious about what it’s like to live a ‘normal’ life with a ‘normal’ job, while the sibling you grew up with is frequently in the media with hit plays, hit movies, and hit songs, then this book is for you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I laughed, I cried, I learned

I rarely write online reviews but felt compelled to write one for this book. Other reviews here have provided excellent synopses so I'll skip that part. I haven't been this stirred by a memoir since "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." What a hilarious, gently raw, brave, and loving book this is. The author in her humble, "self-defecating" way charts a personal journey through a profound question that was enlightening to me. The central question was, "How does one build a fulfilling, meaningful life when someone dear to you has seemingly already done that in the biggest, most undeniable way possible, but you know your path must be different from hers?" I laughed out loud many times, and got emotional many times. I feel that this book has given me insights into my relationship with my own sister; made me appreciate her more than I have in the nearly half century of knowing her; made me regretful for the ways that I failed her; and given me understanding and hope for how to improve. What came through most strongly was the fierce love between these two sisters. It made me wish I had a relationship like that with my own sister. And made me realize that I could, that it's never too late. In short, this book has made me a better person. From a literary standpoint, the book is an achievement to be proud of for any author, but particularly a debut author. It is beautifully, charmingly written and unrushed but paced and structured so as to be very, very hard to put down. It is a quietly gripping page-turner. The author's commitment to honesty, even when it left her in an unflattering light, was generous, brave, and often just breathtaking. This is a book that I will be thinking on for years to come. As the final and perhaps highest praise, I bought two copies of this book, one for me (on audio with an intimate reading by the author and some delightful surprise extras at the end) and one for my sister.

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Defying Gravity from two amazing Sisters

before I get into this review let it be known am a huge Rent and Wicked fan as a native New Yorker myself when I was listening to this book from Cara's perspective I couldn't help but think of the dynamic between Glinda and Elphaba or Maureen Johnson and Joanne Jefferson in that both characters are relateable in ways that their relationship mirrors cara and idina in that idina is this big star but she remembers her sister and gives support to cara in a way that only two sisters can I don't mean to spoil this book just a hair but when cara was going threw a big change in her life Idina bought her a house but that is how sisters or brothers should act towards one another. I highly recommend this book to read weather or not you have a sibling or not.

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Good but written like a term paper.

Cara is a good writer but she often uses a 3 syllable word when a 1 or 2 would suffice. Too formal and n her sentence structure and word selection. I️ enjoyed the book and it as a good effort for cara’s first time out.