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The Billy Bob Tapes: A Cave Full of Ghosts

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  397 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
There is—and could only ever be—one Billy Bob Thornton: actor, musician, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, and accidental Hollywood badass. In The Billy Bob Tapes, he leads us into his Cave Full of Ghosts, spinning colorful tales of his modest (to say the least) Southern upbringing, his bizarre phobias (komoda dragons?), his life, his loves (including his marriage to fel ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by William Morrow (first published May 1st 2012)
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Laila (BigReadingLife)
Jun 10, 2012 Laila (BigReadingLife) rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 30, 2012 Marcie rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 12, 2012 Alex V. rated it really liked it
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
Dec 23, 2012 Synamon Sugar rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 28, 2013 Kathy rated it liked it
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.
May 31, 2012 Nikki-ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 26, 2012 Renee rated it liked it
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
Barry Hammond
Aug 14, 2015 Barry Hammond rated it liked it
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
May 28, 2012 Suzanne rated it really liked it
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
Apr 19, 2014 Avdrdr rated it liked it
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.
Carol Dunn
May 22, 2013 Carol Dunn rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 11, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it
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
Oct 30, 2012 Debbie Hovey rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 25, 2013 Richard rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 03, 2012 Les rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
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.
Aug 15, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing
awesome. read it. even if you aren't that into billy bob thornton. very interesting and not your typical autobio.
Jun 07, 2012 Van rated it it was amazing
As you read you can hear Billy Bob's drawl. Very honest and I agree with his opinion on our culture's decline.
Jun 03, 2012 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Given that I wrote a small part of this book, how could I give it anything but five stars?
Jul 22, 2012 Angela rated it liked it
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”
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
Jun 18, 2014 Vikki rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
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
Lynn Sandell
May 22, 2012 Lynn Sandell rated it it was ok
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
Jul 21, 2012 Wendy rated it did not like it
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
Dec 03, 2013 Kay rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
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
Glenda Ricord
Sep 16, 2012 Glenda Ricord rated it really liked it

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
Mar 09, 2013 Sharon rated it it was amazing
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
Kate Woods Walker
Jul 19, 2012 Kate Woods Walker rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2013 Marguerite rated it it was amazing
I've always admired Billy Bob Thornton as an actor. He's not your typical run-of-the-mill Hollywood star, and I like that about him, too.

This book is a collection of talks between Thornton and several of his friends. It's like sitting out on the porch on a weekend afternoon, listening to your uncle or cousin telling stories that may or may not be true but are important just the same.

I learned more about Thornton and some of my favorite movies from this book than from a million press releases. It
Simon Peters
This book is unreadable. The mawkish maunderings of Billy Bob Thornton are a mess of vulgarity and apercus about matters of no consequence. A picture of Billy Wilder bears the informative caption “Great director. Great man.” Another picture names three people in it and says of the other two “The other two guys are just morons”. Witty eh?
It’s not only Billy Bob who has the gift of repartee; at a recording session “Kinky had to keep reminding him to ‘shut the fuck up’. Ted’s response, using a line
Sep 08, 2012 Paula rated it liked it
I found this book a bit slow to read, at least the first half of the book. After that, it seemed to pick up speed. I'm neutral about Billy Bob, or I was, until I saw him interviewed by Charlie Rose. I was so interested in their discussion about technology, movies making and the internet, it lead me to read Billy Bob's book. Disappointingly, it turned out that their interesting discussion on the show was barely touched upon in the book. But having said that, I really knew nothing about B-B except ...more
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