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And I Don't Want to Live This Life: A Mother's Story of Her Daughter's Murder
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And I Don't Want to Live This Life: A Mother's Story of Her Daughter's Murder

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,111 Ratings  ·  257 Reviews
For most of us, it was just another horrible headline. But for Deborah Spungen, the mother of Nancy, who was stabbed to death at the Chelsea Hotel, it was both a relief and a tragedy. Here is the incredible story of an infant who never stopped screaming, a toddler who attacked people, a teenager addicted to drugs, violence, and easy sex, a daughter completely out of contro ...more
ebook, 408 pages
Published October 12th 2011 by Ballantine Books (first published 1983)
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Kat Stark
Nov 23, 2015 Kat Stark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: others, reviewed


I can tell you that while I was reading, I felt like I was on a roller coaster of emotions. I'll go through the ups and downs, but just for a little insight, this novel is written by Deborah Spungen, mother of Nancy (famously known for being "Sex Pistols," Sid Vicious's girlfriend in the late 1970s). I was never really into the Sex Pistol's music, but I adore the punk movement and some of the later punk bands. I'm a 90s kid, so this whole era was way before my time and lost to me. I listened to
...more
Zoe
Jun 27, 2009 Zoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book I first read it when I was 14, being a Pistols fan, & Nancy Spungeon I was fascinated with her life. Wow! Her poor suffering mother writes a really harrowing touching well written book about a child who was clearly born 'disturbed' came out of the womb screaming & biting & never stopped. Then wandered NYC stripping whoring & following cool bands in a time I wish still existed. I know many people who came in contact with nancy they all say the same thing, she was t ...more
Jessica
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joi Smith
Dec 27, 2013 Joi Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I was a young girl I was always drawn to the story of Nancy Spungen and her "Sidney". Though my younger, very troubled self was drawn into their story of love, death, drugs, and mental illness for all of the wrong reasons.

After reading this book written by Nancy's mother for the first time, I found myself clinging to her every word... I simply couldn't put it down. On Christmas Day this year I wanted to get home just to continue reading.

The way she expressed her deepest, darkest, an
...more
Josephine
Feb 24, 2010 Josephine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book broke my heart. I read it nearly 25 years ago, yet I can recite parts of the story. It documents the incredible pain, sadness and heartbreak that the Spungen family endured throughout Nancy's turbulent and tragic life, even continuing after her death.

The public only saw the fabricated image of Nancy Spungen that was created by sleazy tabloid reporters. Yes, Nancy was a disturbed heroin addict, but she was also sensitive and could not find peace and happiness in life. She found somethi
...more
Serena
Apr 16, 2013 Serena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-reads
Easily one of the most hauntingly beautiful books I've ever read. The Sex Pistols were the first band I was ever really obsessed with and like most of their fans, I hated Nancy. From everything said about her by the remaining band members to people who hung out with The Pistols, I considered her to be the punk Yoko Ono.

This book was written by her mother. It begins with Nancy's childhood and weaves a tragic tale of a misunderstood girl. It recounts her illness, her drug abuse, a family confused
...more
Stephanie
Feb 21, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing, because it lets people know more about Nancy Spungen, humanizing her instead of just viewing her as a minor, murdered character in the history of punk rock. I don't usually get teary eyed over books but reading the struggles that Nancy's parents faced from the time she was a child, ending with the way the police treated them when they went to claim her body had me bawling. I also think this is a must-read for anyone who is raising a learning-disabled child, perhaps if help ...more
Kristin
Sep 08, 2007 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Courtney Love was not the first Borderline personalitied junkie to attempt to usurp the underground! The handwringing in this book is stellar; no wonder the child was so crazy. GREAT BEACH READ and cautionary tale for those of you with teenage girls!
Bunnyhugger1
Nancy was most famous for her relationship with Sid Vicious (the Sex Pistols' bass player), who stabbed her to death in the Chelsea Hotel in 1978 (he died of an overdose before the case came to trial.) "And I Don't Want To Live This Life" is the story of Nancy's life as written by her mother and it is truly a harrowing one. Deprived of oxygen after a difficult birth, her life continued with non-stop screaming (as an infant) and uncontrollable episodes of rage and violence that placed an unimagin ...more
Chuck O'Connor
Mar 31, 2012 Chuck O'Connor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about murder, specifically, the murder of Nancy Spungen at the hands of Sid Vicious, but it is also about the small murders that Nancy encountered from her mental illness, and the insufficient medical system in place in her time to deal with her disease. It is a moving story told by Nancy's mother, and while the narrative can become mechanical sometimes, Deborah Spungen's courageous insight regarding the trauma of a parental caregiver to a mentally ill child, and a survivor of fam ...more
Amanda
Aug 14, 2012 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nauseating Nancy, of Sid and Nancy fame, was actually schizophrenic. I think this book does a really good job of explaining multiple things in a very honest and compassionate way. Mental health services for young people with psychosis (especially at the time Nancy was in the system, but in some cases today as well) can be woefully inadequate to help patients and their families contend with the heartbreak and frustration they face on a daily basis. Nancy Spungen was "nauseating" because she was s ...more
Erssie
Jul 09, 2012 Erssie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
Mar 30, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
let me just say first that Nancy's mom should definatly get the award for best mother because after reading this book and all the stuff she had to go through since day one I do not see how she did it without having a freaking heart attack. This book scared the shit out of me being a mother myself, it's hard to read what another mother had to go through. I do however think this is the best book I have read in years it kept me interested and I could not put it down. I laugh because I know so many ...more
Terra
Apr 14, 2013 Terra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-read
This was one of the hardest books to read - as a mother and as a woman. It was heart wrenching to read the very private side of a very public story. I applaud Debbie for writing this book and sharing her story and "her Nancy" with the world. This was a book club pick that I would probably never have picked up otherwise but am sure glad I did. I made so many highlights and notes while I read in anticipation of what will certainly be a fabulous discussion at book club this coming week.
Ally Stefanides
Mar 31, 2011 Ally Stefanides rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rated this book so high for personal reasons. Nancy sounds like me in so many ways and I believe she may have had Borderline Personality Disorder as well. Mrs. Spungen tried to be as unbiased as she could be as a mother while giving as much detail about the tragic life of her daughter and one of punk's most visible icons, however undeserved that title may be.
Kristin Rose
this is one of the most harrowing, hard to read books i know of. nancy spungen was troubled from her very birth. this is written by her mom and it is truly, truly heartbreaking.
Adriane Devries
Jun 18, 2012 Adriane Devries rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What mother doesn’t want their teenage daughter to get entangled in hard core drugs and the famous punk rock scene of the late 1970s? This one: Deborah Spungen, mother of the infamous Nancy, whose only claim to fame was and still is her two-year relationship with and subsequent alleged murder by British punker Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. And I Don’t Want to Live This Life is Deborah’s account of Nancy’s deeply troubled life, from a traumatic birth experience to her prophetic death before the ...more
Sarah Hasanat
Sep 30, 2014 Sarah Hasanat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw this book in my college library I was hooked because it was a real story and when I found out that it is the story about Nancy Spungen the girlfriend of the guitarist of Sex Pistols Sid Vicious,Ii took the book to read it. This story is one of the saddest stories ever written especially that the mother is the person who's talking about her child. The story is amazing the way that Deb wrote it, and shockingly unexpected what kind of life Nancy had when she was little. I came to a point ...more
Amanda
Jan 04, 2014 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, women
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lucy Nichol
Oct 20, 2012 Lucy Nichol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Could not put this book down. Makes you think about the caricatures the media turns people into and feel guilty for first impressions. Nancy Spungen, the junkie girlfriend of Sid Vicious. Murdered in a hotel room. And the daughter of middle class suburban parents, who could never sit still as a toddler and screamed at her childhood night terrors.

You take it for granted these days that there is less taboo and more help for people. Are they just problem children or is there something else going on
...more
Amy Layton
Sep 22, 2011 Amy Layton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: change
I love this book. I just plain love it.

The mother's pain, love, and hard work. How she didn't cry until her daughter died.
Nancy's siblings and the pain she caused them.
Her parent's marriage and how they made it through it all.
How Sid was so devoted to her that he killed her.

This book has so many controversial topics, and I love bringing it up as to further support my opinions.
Mental illness, assisted suicide, family issues, and the differences between love and lust.

Even more interesting, I fi
...more
Rosemary Allix
Jan 22, 2012 Rosemary Allix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that inspired a lot of my own writing. I've lost my original copy and haven't read it for years, so not sure how I would respond to it now. But at the time it blew me away. It is the story of an ordinary womamn - an ordinary American family - who had to deal with something extraordinary and impossibly heartbreaking in their lives. Nancy Spungen (who went on to be girlfriend of Sid Viscious and was murdered) was, her mother says, "Born angry". Nobody ever discovered why she turne ...more
Aria Francesca
May 10, 2012 Aria Francesca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This nonfiction story about Nancy Spungen (the infamous girlfriend of punk rockstar Sid Vicious), told from her mother's perspective, is a fascinating read. It humanizes the fantasy creatures that were Sid and Nancy as they made headlines, and gives insight into what they were really like. It also gives a background on life during the seventies - the lack of medical knowledge that couldn't help Nancy's severe psychotic issues, the emerging punk rock scene in America and England, and the overall ...more
Alison
May 18, 2010 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: punk fans & those who enjoy psychology
Recommended to Alison by: Brian Enright
I'm totally not into punk music and still this book was absolutely fascinating. I almost had to stop reading it in the beginning because Nancy's behavior was so super disturbing that I was getting freaked out that someday I'd have a kid like this. But I absolutely couldn't stop reading it. I thought that it was well written and you really feel bad for her parents and family for all the stuff that she put them through. I'm surprised that her mother could remember all the different problems she ha ...more
Helmisade
I read this book as a teenager and I think it was probably the heaviest book I read at that age. Nancy's life was so far from mine (I was a nerdy girl who loved books and studying and folk dancing...as I still do) that it was hard for me to understand that people could actually experience something like this. Why would someone want to hang out with a rock band (yes, I really was utterly non-cool)?

Still, I think this book was good for me. And looking back, I think it might be a part of why I lat
...more
Emily
Dec 13, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I read this entire book when I was in the 5th grade but I did. It was a sad book, but I loved it. Her mother wrote about the unimaginable difficulties she went through trying to raise Nancy (of Sid and Nancy). I felt awful for the mother and I'm sure I cried several times while reading this book.

Even though I read this book over 20 years ago I still remember it to be such a touching and painful story of a mother pouring her heart out about how hard she tried to help her daughter
...more
Catherine
Jan 28, 2014 Catherine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found the book to be uneven and self-justifying rather than an honest and clear depiction of Nancy and her mother. I didn't like it at all because the more I read, the more it took on a very self-centered viewpoint with very little compassion or understanding of Nancy as a person. I would hope that if my daughter died, and I chose to write a book about it, I would reflect more on the loss of a very unique and special (if troubled) woman without filling the pages with self-gratifying explanatio ...more
Grace Caruso
A lot people are condemning the mother for her inability to control her daughter, but the reality of it is that Nancy had Schizoaffective Disorder. A disorder that is still very hard to understand to this day. This was in the 70s! In the 80s, bipolar disorder did not even have a name or let alone a medication to help with the symptoms. When Nancy was alive a lot of people were confused. Imagine having a daughter going in and out of psychosis and having no answers from people who called them prof ...more
Violet
Sep 24, 2008 Violet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mothers everywhere
Recommended to Violet by: St. Francis
The main thing I took away is the knowledge that although the Spungen family had a pool, they were not rich. Got that? NOT RICH! No matter what the press said! Regular old American family! Also, the fact that the author, Nancy's beleaguered mother, had "no time for the luxury of tears." I hear that!

I'm slightly bitter about this book because after I read it, my mother confiscated it, issuing the accusation that I wanted to be "just like Nancy Spungen." Oh, please! I look terrible as a blond.
Manu Schon
May 29, 2015 Manu Schon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very touching biography of Deborah Spungen, the mother of Nancy Spungen.
Usually if you read the story of Sid (Vicious) & Nancy you don`t learn much about her life before she met Sid, she is only introduced as the stripper (sometimes prostitute), drug-addicted Groupie Nancy.
Deborah Spungen describes her battle in life that started right from the day she was born and the inability of all societal institutions to help a human being that had been traumatized on the first day being alive in th
...more
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And I Don't want to live This live 1 20 Mar 25, 2014 03:46AM  
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“You had to laugh, if you wanted to survive.” 6 likes
“Murder: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines it as “the unlawful killing of one human being by another, especially with malice aforethought.” The mother of a murdered child has a different definition: “The blackest hell accompanied by a pain so intense that even breathing becomes an unendurable labor.” I know; I am the mother of a murdered child.” 0 likes
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