Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
3 words: lyrical, creative, personal
One of my clearest childhood shopping memories goes like this: My mom and I were at Target, and I made a very compelling argument for why she really should buy me the album Born in the U.S.A. And as we continued our Target shopping, I pushed the cart with the album facing me, and I felt so cool.
(Let’s be clear about this: I was in 7th grade and was the polar opposite of cool. I’d offer photographic evidence, except I’ve caused most of it to be either destroyed or hidden in a very safe spot. That crap’s classified.)
Anyway… point is: The Boss, even by association: COOL.
And we know the man can write. At least, we know he can write lyrics. Happily for us readers, he can also write some seriously solid prose.
I found his narrative voice real and compelling and lyrical. His writing is raw and it’s also beautiful. I love that combination.
What made it even better is that I listened to the audiobook, which he reads himself. He’s a little bit deadpan sometimes, but it’s real. And there were some inflections that made me laugh.
I really liked hearing him tell his own story.
What surprised me: I didn’t know he’d been basically homeless for a while (crashing on friends’ couches or living in a surfboard factory) when he was a young musician.
I didn’t know the musical influences that inspired the song “Born to Run,” but once he described them, I couldn’t believe I’d never caught on before. I’d never listened to “Born in the U.S.A.” and listened specifically to the drums.
And while we’re talking drums, let’s also get back to what I said about writing style. This passage about Max Weinberg full-on blissed me out:
“There are twenty thousand people, all about to take a breath; we’re moving in for the kill, the band, all steel wheels on iron track, and that snare shot, the one I’m just thinking about but haven’t told or signaled anyone outside of this on-fire little corner of my mind about, the one I want right… and there it is!” (p. 239)
He writes reverently about the people in his band, and even more reverently about his wife. And he’s fairly self-deprecating.
So reading this book means you get to hang out with one of the biggest names in rock and roll, and he seems like a pretty decent guy who can really spin a tale and make it worth hearing.
Give this book a whirl if you like… celebrity memoirs, solid writing, the back story
My fellow readers… Any great celebrity memoirs to recommend?