Books & Review | Jessica Durham
Updated: Oct 18, 2012 05:58 PM EDT

Cyndi Lauper

"Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir" was published on Sept. 18. (Photo : Barnes & Nobles)

Cyndi Lauper recently published her new book, "Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir," which reveals many aspects of her life including assaults and a troubled childhood.

Atria Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster published "A Memoir" on Sept. 18. The 352-page memoir is described:

Legendary and iconic singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper offers a poignant account of the journey that led her to become an international superstar-from her years growing up in Queens, New York, to the making of enduring hits like "Time After Time," "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," and "True Colors," to becoming an actress, a mother, an outspoken activist, and maintaining a music career that has lasted more than thirty years.

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After leaving her childhood home at seventeen, Cyndi took on a series of jobs: racetrack hot walker, IHOP waitress, and, as she puts it, "gal Friday the thirteenth," as she pursued her passion for music. She worked her way up playing small gigs and broke out in 1983 with She's So Unusual, which earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist and made her the first female artist in history to have four top-five singles on a debut album. And while global fame wasn't always what she expected, she has remained focused on what matters most. Cyndi is a gutsy real-life heroine who has never been afraid to speak her mind and stick up for a cause-whether it's women's rights, gay rights, or fighting against HIV/AIDS.

With her trademark warmth and humor, Cyndi fearlessly writes of a life she's lived only on her own terms.

In an interview with SiriusXM, Lauper talked about what she went through.

The 59-year-old singer said that she left home at 17-years-old after her "creepy" stepfather had been spying on her while she was taking a bath. He also threatened to rape her and her sister. She took various jobs, including as an IHOP waitress, and pursued her singing career. She traveled by hitching rides which sometimes put her in threatening situations, which one time resulted in a man forcing her to perform a sexual act.

"Sh*t happens and then, you know, what are you going to do?" she said, reflecting on the incident. "I just wanted to be able to live through it, get to the other side of it."

In the book she also talked about when a male member of a cover band she worked with in the 80's sexually assaulted her with a dildo while his girlfriend and her sister held her down, according to the Huffington Post.

"That was shocking -- that was very shocking," Lauper said, recalling the harrowing scene. "It wasn't just a guy. It was women too. When that happened, I realized [that], okay, you have to look at this thing as it's not a male thing against women -- I mean, it is -- but it could also be women against women."

Other things in the book reveal her decision to have an abortion with a pregnancy from one of her first boyfriends in the early years. She wanted to have the baby but he didn't, and she still thinks about it.

"Nobody wants to run in and do that," explained Lauper, who is today married to actor David Thornton (since 1991), with whom she has a 15-year-old son. "It's just that I didn't want to have a kid that I love come into the world and not be able to share the kid with a dad. He didn't want to have a baby. Why have a human being feel not wanted? I felt strongly about not bringing a person into the world who was not wanted."

The "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" singer talked about the pressures of the recording industry and also how and why she took up the cause of LGBT rights in recent years. She co-founded the True Colors Tour to raise money and the True Colors Fund.

"Harvey Fierstein was very inspirational, because I heard him speak before we started the True Colors Tour," she explained, "and that really made me understand that maybe, possibly, there was something I could do."

She also said she is passionate about the cause because she is a friend and a family member.

"Because I'm not gonna stand by one of my best friends and watch them be discriminated against and have all their civil liberties stripped down -- or my sister or my cousin or whoever -- and just stand there and shut up. Up to 40% of the kids on the street are gay or transgender and they're only on the street because they're gay or transgender. We figured that is fixable. We could fix that. We could get that better."

The memoir also reveals love from the media, including an affair she had with "a really handsome Australian journalist who interview me."

"I kept talking and talking about my art and finally he picked me up and headed to the bedroom and I said 'Oh'," Lauper wrote, according to the HeraldSun.

CBSNews said of the memoir, " It's an engaging and charming look at a pioneering female artist who persevered against the odds to leave her distinct mark in music and pop culture."

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