Excerpt: Fantasia Barrino's "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale"

Fantasia Barrino began singing at the age of 5. At 19, she became an "American Idol" winner. Her first album, "Free Yourself," was released in November 2004 and shortly after went platinum.

But life wasn't always easy for the talented singer. She was raped by a high school boyfriend, became pregnant as a teenager, and raised her daughter as a single mother. Now Fantasia reveals that she was also functionally illiterate.

In her new book, "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale," Fantasia talks about her struggles but also about her faith in God, family and the talent that propelled her to stardom.

You can read an excerpt from the book below.

Chapter 1: Recognize Your Gift

The Bible and my mother always say, "To whom much is given, much is required." That is how I live my life – now. But it wasn't always that way. For most of my young life, much was not given. Maybe this saying means that much hardship has to be given before receiving the blessings that God intends. A lot has been required. But my experiences have shown me that the amount of pain you endure will eventually result in abundance, as long as you stay faithful.

Faith is a legacy for many women in my family, as are the legacies of teen pregnancy, being single mothers, emotional and physical abuse, and poverty. We have all survived it because of the church and our powerful belief in God and prayer. All of the women in my family have had too many experiences for their years, and we seem much older than we are. Most people are surprised that I'm only twenty-one years old. But what seems mature and experienced is just me trying to survive. I have learned and seen a lot in my twenty-one years, but I still have a lot to learn. You will see that as you learn more about Fantasia.

People often ask me: Who is the real Fantasia? The answer is: What you see is what you get. I would consider myself a very sensitive, outgoing person, and I hope that shows in everything I do and how I treat everyone around me. I care very much about people, probably too much – and I fall in love too easily, as you will see. I am just a country girl who loves the Lord and loves to have a good time. I still kick off my shoes every chance I get – even on TV!

Like all southern folk, I like to have a good time. Country people have had too many bad times, and so we make a good time whenever we can. Although my family lived in High Point, North Carolina, which is technically a small city, we say that this is the country because we have seen big cities like L.A. and New York on TV. Country people place a lot of importance on their families. We rely on our families for every little thing like emotional support, takin' care of our kids, feeding us when we're hungry, or paying our electric bill when we lose our jobs. That's why family is so important to country folks. That's why when you go to the country you will see aunts and uncles living under the same roof with their mothers and other adults. That's why so many grandmothers raise their grandkids when the mothers are too young to handle it. Country folks are really different from city folks because the city folks seem ashamed to tell their families when they are having hard times. For us, hard times are just a way of life. That's the main difference between country folk and city folk that you should know when you read the rest of my story. There is no shame with families like mine. If there was, there would be no families where I come from.

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