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The Billy Bob Tapes: A Cave Full of Ghosts
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The Billy Bob Tapes: A Cave Full of Ghosts

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  345 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Raised in small-town Arkansas, Billy Bob Thornton grew up amid a rich storytelling tradition. See, the South is just different than other places. . . . You can feel the ghosts there. As a kid, he would sit on the porch listening to his family or some old man down the road spinning yarns about colorful neighbors. These stories didn't have to be made up. The characters were ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by William Morrow (first published May 1st 2012)
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Jun 10, 2012 Laila rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who don't mind cursing
This is not great literature, but I gave it five stars because I enjoyed reading it so darn much. People who have a problem with swear words, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. I'm not a superfan of Billy Bob Thornton, but I do enjoy his films, especially Bad Santa, for which I'm probably going to hell. Anyway, this is just a book of him talking, telling stories of growing up in small-town Arkansas in the 50s and 60s, and his struggles when he came out to Hollywood. There's also some insightful ranty stuff ...more
I like this "oral tradition" approach to a biography in which I suspect snippets of random, rambling, late-night conversations, between a bunch of friends hanging out, have been recorded and transcribed. BB is a storyteller by nature, so he tells the stories of his life to trusted friends, then Kinky F weaves in the poems and songs BB has written throughout his life with his writing partner and close friend, Tom E.

I sensed his past before he ever began telling his anecdotes -- I saw it in his fa
Alex V.
I endorse the Billy Bob Thornton book with the same enthusiasm that Nicolas Cage's character in Wild at Heart does his snakeskin jacket.

EDITED after finishing: this book is 5 stars for the front end where he talks about things like cutting up a giant cod fish in the bathtub of a fleabag motel he lived in and cooking it in his roommate's toaster over when all of a sudden the man/woman from down the hall with the melted face knocked on the door with his/her arm stubs and asked if he/she could have
Synamon Sugar
I loved this book. I've always been a fan of Billy Bob and this book was just as interesting as I thought it would be when I read the inside cover. The fact that he didn't write it but instead was recorded while just telling stories made it better. Not one boring patch in the entire book. However, there were PLENTY of moments I laughed out loud. Five stars, easily.
Barry Hammond
Although it's transcribed from tapes of Billy Bob talking to an audience of friends and acquaintances (and so is very conversational)this is a very interesting memoir of his childhood,early experiences as a musician and roadie, his later ventures as a writer, actor, and director and an insight into his life in general. Since the chapters are headed by quotes from his songwriting repertoire (which are surprisingly good) you also get insight into how that discipline reflects his life. Yes, he's a ...more
You MUST be a fan to enjoy reading this book. I laughed out loud at the bus trip. Too much profanity but that's from being in Hollywood too long.
3 1/2 stars for sure, I think I would have liked this book even better if I listened to it as I'm pretty sure it would have been read by the author.
Raised in small-town Arkansas, Billy Bob Thornton grew up amid a rich storytelling tradition. "See, the South is just different than other places. . . . You can feel the ghosts there."

This is an interesting read, I had no idea Thorton written and produced "Sling Blade" as well as starred in it. HIs story begins in Arkansas and takes us to California
Originally posted at

I love a good autobiography and I love Billy Bob Thornton’s films, so when his autobiography (co-written with Kinky Friedman) appeared on my radar I knew I had to read it.

The dedication of the book, along with a quote from ‘Poor Buds’ Almanac’, is hand written/drawn by Billy Bob Thornton himself, though I’m not entirely sure who the 2 characters are that Billy Bob has dedicated the book to (there’s no names, just caricatures!). The next part that surpris
This isn't a memoir in your typical sense, it is more a one-sided conversation with a really interesting person you don't need to ask a bunch of stupid questions of anyway. You may come to this book wanting to get the scoop on Angie and the vial of blood (which you will, surprisingly enough) but you will stay for the This Boy's Life anecdotes and the fascinating musings of a mad hillbilly movie star. This also provides behind the scenes gems from Sling Blade, A Simple Plan, etc. A must for fans ...more
I Like Billy Bob Thornton. I have a special interest in him right now because I enjoyed him in Fargo. So I picked up his biography. It isn't that Billy Bob sat down and wrote this biography. He had Kinky Friedman and some other friends over to his house. I imagine there was some drinking going on. But Billy Bob just told stories and they taped them. The tapes were later published in this book Billy Bob Thornton and Kinky Friedman The Billy Bob Tapes A Cave Full of Ghosts.
My opinion of Billy B
Carol Dunn
I knew it was going to like this one when he mentions that as he was growing up they ate 3 meals a day: Breakfast, Dinner and Supper. He didn't know jack about something called Lunch. He's honest and funny. He said he shook a chicken foot at his head and the next day his hair grew back (he went to Bosley). This bio reminds me of Neil Young's book, just a plain old good read.
As close as you can get to sharing a beer with the guy. Billy Bob has some great stories that make for an interesting read. He comes across as a genuine, no bullshit kind of guy - humble too, and for that you have to respect him. The later chapters tend to read more like a rant on the current state of affairs but over all a good, easy read.
You can see from reading this that Billy Bob is...well...Billy Bob. I'd have to say that since this is transcripts of tapes made of him, I would have preferred to hear a CD of the tapes rather than read them. But...anyone who is into Billy Bob, into music, or into movies should read this book and have the same enjoyable experience I did.
Debbie Hovey
Yes I'm a huge fan of both Billy's acting and singing talents. Right from the start, Billy lets the reader know that this is a book written from interviews with his dear friend Kinky Friedman. It's like sitting around a campfire listening to amazing stories. I didn't want it to end.
This book is fantastic. My only wish is that I could listen to this an audiobook. The book is a transcription of audiotapes and it would be amazing hear Billy Bob narrate this. Can't say much more because it would be spoilers...but it this book pure brilliance.
Just finished this, enjoyed it. I did not know that he started out as a musician and then became a screenwriter/actor. I liked that he did not dish dirt on people in the business, and was very open about his problems and trials and tribulations.
Bonnie Boyd
If you are even a slight fan of Billy Bob, check out this book. If you're from the south, check out this book.. If you are a music fan, check out this book. It's funny, sensitive, grumpy, touching, enlightening. No, it's not a book about he and Angelina. (There is so much more to him than a cute ex wife). No, it's not The Inquirer with stories about fellow actors or musicians (though he does know some really cool people). It's an entertaining book, transcribed from tapes made of he and the guys ...more
As you read you can hear Billy Bob's drawl. Very honest and I agree with his opinion on our culture's decline.
awesome. read it. even if you aren't that into billy bob thornton. very interesting and not your typical autobio.
Given that I wrote a small part of this book, how could I give it anything but five stars?
I was hoping for more. Is Billy Bob interesting? Yes. Has he lived a varied life? Absolutely. Do I see strains of the southern style in his stories? Definitely.

However...however...he just stops halfway through a story and then says "I'll never forget it." Or it's equally annoying counterpart "I'll always remember." Then BB moves on to the next anecdote. And I can see why Hollywood types or non-southerners would find this interesting. The stories are unusual. I just want more from them. I want to
Jul 22, 2012 Angela rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
For some reason, I’ve never been much of a Billy Bob Thornton fan. He’s a character (in real life and in the movies) that didn’t appeal to me. I’m not sure if it’s his name – Billy Bob – or that he’s an actor trying to be a singer (we’ve seen that with Eddie Murphy and Bruce Willis) – or that he married Angelina Jolie (who I’m also not a fan of).

I unfortunately got caught up in his reputation and perception – a very common thing that occurs thanks to the media – specifically the “illegitimate”
Lynn Sandell
Not quite as good as Keith Richards but I felt a connection afterwards. A lot of present up to date stuff left out, he only briefly praises Angelina, not too much history listed there. I only connected with him in his earlier, unfortunate days, which is pretty much what this book is about. Terrible editing, because it keeps jumping from past to present and back again so many times you can't keep track of it! But hey Billy Bob for having dyslexia and ADD I think u did a great job. My 13 yr old so ...more
I chose this book because: 1. I needed a book to read 2. It was on the library shelf 3. I had heard it was good and funny 4. I live in Arkansas

Actually the book was very entertaining despite not expecting to enjoy it. I would have given it another star but the profanity in it kept my rating down. He sat down with a tape recorder and talked into it rather than the usual way of writing on a computer. It made it more personal but not as professional.

He covers his childhood, struggles breaking into
I knew this wasn't a Hollywood tell all book but I was dying to read it because I love Billy Bob and his peculiar quirks and sense of humor. Sadly the book was very disappointing. I was looking foward to reading about his strange upbringing with a Mom who was the town psychic but he barely touches on this. I was also forward to his ramblings on media and modern day life but he just comes off as an out of touch curmudgeon with the same opions being stated over and over again. Also, the book goes ...more
Glenda Ricord

I wanted to give this book 5 stars and would have except for the fact that he called Roger Ebert "Robert" and called Rick Dial "Robert" also. Maybe too picky but there it is. That being said, otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even more than I expected to. And strangely enough, he and I are much alike and view things mostly the same way.

The first part of the book was definitely the best. Five star. The second half was still interesting but I got to the point that I thought "okay Billy B
Well, the thing I liked least was the profanity, yet Billy Bob Thornton warned about that, as he would say, "straight up in the beginning".

I really could relate to his upbringing, loved his observations about the 3 Bedroom Brick Home being the epitome of making it to the middle class in the rural south in the 50's and 60's. He and I are close to the same age and that just sweetens the pot as he rambles on about the way things were. His parents, many cousins, friends, could have been my neighbor
I love Billy Bob Thornton! So needless to say I loved reading his book. He is such a masterful storyteller, and since this was actually written as told, I could really hear his voice, and I just got the biggest kick out of it! Toward the end, he offered more of his opinions on things, and again, I enjoyed "hearing" his take on things, especially the entertainment industry, and I found myself nodding in agreement, right along with him...... I highly recommend it. It's so very entertaining!
Kate Woods Walker
Billy Bob Thornton's Cave Full of Ghosts: The Billy Bob Tapes is all I wanted it to be, and more. As a cohort from just across the state line, I found myself awash in pleasant melancholy as the author/screenwriter/director/actor/musician described what it was like to come of age in his particular place and time. Angelina Jolie described him in the introduction as a "hillbilly Orson Welles" and I certainly can't improve on that.

With Kinky Friedman as conductor, Thornton's voice sings the lead in
I am a fan of Billy Bob. Ever since my husband introduced me to "Sling Blade", I have looked for other movies he has done. So, of course, I wanted to read this book. Unlike some reviewers, I am not going to pan it by talking about how it could have been written better. The book is upfront in telling you that it wasn't written, it was transcribed from tapes. So it's more like listening to Billy Bob talk than anything else. And that's a good thing!

There were some parts that didn't keep my attenti
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