In defense of Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton. It’s a pretty common opinion that she’s just too much–her clothes a little too gaudy, her hair a little too big, her voice a little too twangy and her physique a little too busty.

On the outside she may look like a ditzy, narcissistic starlet, but her past and present reveal that she is much more than that.

Hers is the quintessential American rags-to-riches story. One of 12 children, her family lived a small cabinĀ in Tennessee, in a rural region of the Great Smokey Mountains which was and still is impoverished. Many of her family members and relatives were illiterate.

Dolly Parton at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Dolly Parton at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With an estimated $450 million net worth, Parton launched her Imagination Library in 1996. Children enrolled in the foundation receive one book per month from birth until they enter kindergarten to foster early literacy skills and a love of reading in pre-schoolers.

The program began in Parton’s home county and has since spread all over the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Instead of simply throwing money at issues such as illiteracy, she took the challenges she faced in her own humble beginnings and created a solution to help others in that situation.

And unlike most other celebrities, her positive, down-to-earth attitude is actually worth imitating. She radiates joy wherever she goes and has impressive energy on stage even at the age of 67.

Her music is a breath of fresh air. She doesn’t write about sex, violence or anything super depressing (with the exception of a couple notable tearjerkers).

Her honest journey from her humble beginnings has motivated her to give back to her fans in her own perky, glitzy way.