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I Walked the Line: My Life with Johnny

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  485 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
When Johnny Cash died in September 2003, the world mourned the loss of the greatest country music star of all time. I Walked the Line is the life story of Vivian Cash, Johnny's first wife and the mother of his four daughters. It is a tale of long-kept secrets, lies revealed, betrayal and, at last, the truth. Johnny and Vivian were married for nearly fourteen years. These y ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published September 4th 2008 by Simon & Schuster UK (first published 2007)
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Jun 08, 2012 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
First, I would like to say that I had barely even known who Johnny Cash was or even heard any of his songs until the movie came out. With that being said, I was able to read this book from an unbiased view point since I have no pre-established loyalty or emotional ties to Johnny Cash or June Carter as individuals and/or their music. Furthermore, the only information I had upon starting this book was from the movie and I do not take Hollywood adaptations of "True Stories" very seriously (especial ...more
Being a die hard Johnny Cash fan, it was a little difficult for me to read this and hear Vivians side to their story. I think Johnnys letters were cute but a little overpowering sometimes. If someone were to write me those kinds of letters I'd be scared rather than in awe. The kind of love he had for Vivian and June were very different and I don't believe for a second as Vivian says, that they would be together still after all those years had certain things not played a role in their lives. One ...more
Nov 05, 2007 Nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read the letters part, which is actually probably worth it. (Though you have to ask yourself - how seriously can you take love letters from an 18 to 20-year old?)

As for the rest of it, I totally understand how Vivian feels betrayed and angry - it comes across loud and clear. OVER and OVER. I get that she wants her point of view out there - there's just not much of a point of view, except that June was evil, slight clarity on his addictions, and what it was like for her to be married to
Jul 19, 2009 Mfreeman72 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very little of this book is actually Vivian's story, that element of the book could be compressed into a well-edited pamphlet. Instead, it's mostly comprised of 240+ pages of his love letters from Germany, which I forced myself to read mostly to indulge my masochistic side. And let me assure you, there's NOTHING more painful to read than mooning love letters from a twenty year old male. Petrarca, he ain't.

Let me save you the time of reading this book. In a nutshell:
1. He was sanctimonious ass as
Jul 29, 2011 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Everything about this book just seemed wrong. For a start, her name is NOT Vivian Cash - she was married to someone else for 30-odd years. Then, when I flicked to the photos in the middle, the same photo appeared twice. Only about 60 pages of the book were actually written by her, the remaining 250 being love letters written by Johnny. And I am of the opinion that love letters should only be read by their intended recipient.

I don't think that I'm speaking from the viewpoint of a disillusioned fa
Oct 24, 2010 Rosemary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very confusing. On one hand, I want to believe Vivian's story of how things happened but maybe she was a little bitter? Then again, June had been married several times before marrying John so it makes it difficult to believe either story completely. I also think the media played a huge role in defining June and Johnny's relationship to make it a love story they could sell to the public.

Either way, my opinion of Johnny Cash is forever changed.
Jul 06, 2010 Bre rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I felt like this book was nothing more than Vivan trying to say "Look world, he loved me and June is evil". I definitely felt bad for her, being in love with and married to an addict like that isn't easy but I felt the book was overdone and exaggerated. And the countless letters just got redundant, we get it, he loved you too! I just felt the story was entirely too one-sided, nothing more than a childlike rant.
Jamie Leach
Jun 28, 2013 Jamie Leach rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too many love letters and too much bitterness...even though she claimed not to be bitter. I get it because I am divorced, but you can't wait to write a book until all the key players are dead and then claim that you are right and they are wrong...
Jan 20, 2012 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow... this book really impacted me. I really enjoy Johnny Cash's music. It makes me feel like when I was a kid and there are no worries. I absolutely loved the movie "Walk The Line" with Reese Witherspoon & Joaquin Phoenix. I had mixed emotions about how I felt about his first wife Vivian. The movie portrayed her in an uncaring, selfish wife type roll. After reading her book which had the blessing of Johnny & their 4 daughters, I have changed my perspective of her. What a strong woman t ...more
Chris O'grady
Jan 25, 2013 Chris O'grady rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Book OK. Got bored plowing thru all Johnny's letters but where the hell, yes, the hell were hers? Didn't she write any? Pure propaganda in my opinion. Sorry Viv but this is a miserable book. Big shame you're not still around to read my comment. Two sides to every story but this gave only one.
Sep 10, 2011 Wyked rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by the resentment and bitterness Vivian Cash had toward June Carter Cash, even when she died...
It wasn't a bad read, I guess both sides of the story needed to be heard....
Apr 24, 2014 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was super interested in this book, written by Johnny Cash's first wife. They corresponded for three years while he was overseas in the air force. There are always two sides to every story, and this is Vivian's chance to tell her side of their life together and their divorce.

This book is 80% Johnny's letters, which are intimate and fun to read at first. After a while they become repetitive and almost boring. They reflect a childish sort of infatuation that young lovers experience, and the desp
Diann Blakely
Vivian Cash's memoir acts like a kaleidoscope in its own small world, turning this way then that on all of the characters involved. In the film I WALK THE LINE, the first and recently deceased Mrs. Cash is portrayed as a whiney shrew who wanted Johnny to work for her daddy rather than follow his musical dreams. “I will have him,” Vivian reports being told by June when Johnny was struggling between the two women. Being on the other side of June Carter’s ferocious ambition, says Vivian, was terrif ...more
Dec 02, 2012 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was looking at this book for quite a while. I decided to read some of the reviews and read the one from her daughter Kathy. That review made me decide to read this book.

I have to admit that all the letters from Johnny Cash were getting to sound the same. I passed them by and started reading to book. Boy what an eye opener. I felt so sorry for Vivian. From the books she seemed like such a nice and trusting person. I can't beleive all the stuff she put up with from Johnny and June. It is amazing
Jul 10, 2011 Bookworm rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I did not know much about Johnny Cash's first wife. It's been a while since I've seen "Walk the Line", so I don't think I was influenced by the Hollywood version of events.

Yet I felt VERY uncomfortable reading this book. The first 2/3 or so of the book are letters. I felt fairly uncomfortable about reading such intimate and personal letters, and actually got kinda bored after a while. When the book switches to prose, I felt REALLY uncomfortable at bitterness Vivian Cash still felt at the dissolu
Kathy Barton
I enjoyed hearing the story of Johnny and Vivian Cash's love and marriage, but could really have done without EVERY love letter that they exchanged for 3 years! It was the same thing over and over and finally I skimmed through them.

The actual telling of their life was very interesting and a bit sad when June Carter came into the picture. You really feel sad for Vivian, who was trying to hold her marriage together and got shut out due to another woman and drugs. Vivian believes that if the drugs
Kristina Hoerner
Nov 14, 2008 Kristina Hoerner rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued by this book which is the only time you get to hear Johnny Cash's first wife talk about her view on what happened in their marriage (she died in 2005). What a let down the book was. 3/4 of the story was the entire collection of love letters he wrote her while he was overseas in the Air Force before they married. Incredibly boring! The last tiny part of the book was an angry rant on why June Carter Cash was a wicked, drug-addicted woman who intentionally set out to steal away her ...more
Oct 01, 2015 Connie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 3/4 of the book were slow to get through. Very repetitive. Johnny's love letters to Vivian. The occasional spat and jealousy between made it a tad interesting, other than that I am sure that at least half of them could be eliminated. Or throwing in some of Vivian's letters would have been nice.
Once I got to the part where they start their life together it was interesting to hear Vivian's side of the story. Absolutely nothing like the Hollywood movie. What this poor woman went through w
Bonni Sweet
Nov 23, 2015 Bonni Sweet rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not a soul
I was soooooooooooooooooo not impressed with this book. First of all only about 65 pages were actually written by Vivian, the rest of it were so called letters from Johnny. But were they? You could tell from some of the photos that she had kept some of their original letters from him but I find it hard to believe that she kept so many of these so called letters, especially since so many other books written about them talk about the messy divorce that they had. Secondly anyone could have typed up ...more
Mar 28, 2010 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I seriously just didn't get the point. The first 200+ pages are letters from Johnny Cash to Vivian while he was in Germany. Then she writes about 100 pages at the end. She is really nasty to June Carter, not that that is shocking. But it was this weird thing where everyone else is to blame but her. It was just an odd premise for a book. It would have never been published if she weren't who she was. Regretable read.
May 18, 2015 Steph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good insight into their life at the time. I did have a hard time stomaching the love letters. I'm sure it meant the world to them.
Jan 08, 2014 Karlee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was amazing! It was almost like reading a Nicholas Sparks book due to all the love notes. I learned a lot about Johnny that I never knew based on movies and other books.I like how the book gave us a n insight on how Johnny was before the music and drugs really got to him, this shows me that he was a truly down to earth man. I also thought it was neat to know the truth about Johnny's first marriage, whereas the only one the media seems to care about is him and June.
The only dislike i ha
I'm finally finished, hallelujah, thank ya Jesus. Honestly, the beginning & the end were just fine, informative & believable. But the letters....oh, golly the letters...they dragged on forever & ever. It was just lovesick mooning & it made me a little uncomfortable as they wore on & Johnny began to describe with more clarity what he had in mind for Vivian & her undergarments. It was a little sickening.
I agree with another reviewer on here that brought to my attention the
"A few weeks ago I was careening through Barnes & Noble. I usually like to skim a book before I buy it because I’m not a big reader and let’s face it, books aren't cheap. For whatever reason, a particular book popped in my head that I was curious about. Some years back, Vivian Liberto, better known as Vivian Cash, wrote a book chronicling her marriage to the late Johnny Cash. She had apparently been planning to write this book for some time and even sought Johnny’s blessing to publish it. It ...more
Feb 21, 2010 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The majority of the book is Johnny's letters to Vivian during the war. They met two weeks before he left then stayed together for Three years while he was away. Reading the letters was a little like listening to someone on the telephone - you only got one side of the letters. Her letters to him weren't included. They also start to be repetitive pretty early on. The book really depressed me. It was hard reading the letters already knowing part of their futures. Although I think the truth lies som ...more
Of the 323 pages, only 75 are Vivian's actual story about her life with Johnny Cash and beyond. The main content of this book are Johnny's letters written from Germany to Vivian during his three-year stint in the army. Johnny knew Vivian for three weeks prior to being sent to Germany, so the letters are revealing in the development of their relationship. However, the letters quickly become repetitive and redundant, which swayed my rating of the book to only average. Having seen "Walk the Line," ...more
Craig J.
Aug 18, 2014 Craig J. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was interesting but disappointing at the same time. 90% of the book is letters that Johnny sent Vivian before they were married. Again, interesting but got old after a while. There was not that much insider information with the book... fairly general.
Pris Campbell
Since I liked Johnny Cash's music and had seen the movie about his romance with June Carter, I was curious to see the other side of the picture. The book consists mostly of three years of letters from a lonely overseas service guy hoping his hometown gal he'd dated only a short time before deploying would wait for him. The last part of the book is narrative, describing the increasing use of pills and booze, his long absences, his affair with June Carter while the wife stayed home to raise their ...more
Jul 09, 2009 Alix rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This read was okay, at least 85% of the book is Johnny's letters to Vivian when he was deployed and it gets pretty redundant, and then it made me squirm when he was somewhat scolding her for having a good time with her friends and going out dancing and probably innocently flirting with other guys. I know times were different then, but it still made me slightly uneasy. His letters seem almost pathetic at times though, and it's hard to see him struggle with drinking when he is obviously miserable ...more
Feb 26, 2015 Courtney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not like that this book was composed entirely of letters written by Johnny. I found this hard to engage and neither an easy nor interesting read.
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