She wrote her memoir Ordinary Girl: The Journey with Marc Eliot in 2003.
Ordinary Girl is legendary singer-songwriter Donna Summer’s delightfully candid memoir about her journey from singing in a Boston church to her unexpected reign as the Queen of Disco—and the tragedy and spiritual rebirth that followed.
Donna Summer was born on New Year’s Eve in Boston. Her childhood was filled with music. Inspired by Mahalia Jackson, she began singing in church choirs at the age of ten. A few years later she joined a Boston rock group, and by the end of the 1960s she was living the life of an artist in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
Soon after, Donna left the United States to join the German cast of Hair. She was still in her teens, a shy, ordinary girl who was suddenly feeling the jolt of the sexual revolution. She lived in Germany for seven and a half years, modeling, acting, falling in love, getting married, and giving birth to a daughter. She met a producer named Giorgio Moroder, and together they created a song called “Love to Love You Baby.” It became one of the world’s premier disco hits.
Donna Summer returned to America as a star, a “sex goddess” who bore little resemblance to her own sense of who she was. She describes what that personal transformation felt like from the white-hot center of the disco era, and how, over the next two decades, it contributed to a sometimes harrowing spiritual journey.
With heart and humor, Donna Summer relives the decadent days of disco and shows how she transcended them. This is the inspiring tale of an “ordinary girl” on an extraordinary journey.
Donna Summer on