Piece by Piece
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Piece by Piece

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,367 ratings  ·  134 reviews
I choose to fight my battles through my music . . . I was born a feminist. And then at age five, when my strict Christian grandmother punished me, I realized, I’m not penetrating here. I’m just pissing people off. So I had to find another way to penetrate. I had to redefine what that word means. That word now is really about an opening, an entering into a separate space. A...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 10th 2008 by Broadway (first published February 8th 2005)
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Lizzie
Man, what a pain! This is a tough call. I'll go with the 2 stars and call it even, I guess.

Unfortunately, I feel like I need to talk about my Tori feelings first. Curse it!



Before reading this, I correctly worried I would find it all so annoying that I'd be sad. But I picked it up because I conducted an experiment where I re-listened to every Tori song that I've had since high school, which I can't say is every song? But is a few hundred. I just shuffled them around for days. I wasn't allowed to...more
Nicole
Oct 01, 2007 Nicole rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: No one!
This might be the worst book I've ever read. The only reason I even gave it ANY stars is because Tori Amos co-wrote it, and I think maybe it wasn't her but her co-writer who can't put a sentence together worth reading. Anyone who knows me, even a little bit, knows how obsessed, and I mean OBSESSED, with Tori Amos I am. I have pictures of her. I have her autograph framed and hidden in the back of my closet. It's my special secret. I don't want just anyone knowing I have such high regard for someo...more
Ruth
I loved Tori Amos when I was in high school, but this book was hard to take. In fact, I can't even remember if I finished it. It was almost like reading an unedited, disorganized, self-obssessed diary -- and not a well-written diary at that. I was looking forward to the promised insights into what her songs are about, but she only discussed her most recent work (which I'm not as into).
Popular Soda
I like Tori Amos, and I like reading Tori's words. You expect her to be a little off, a little weird, and a little vague, and that's okay because for her, it works. But for some reason, Ann Powers, the journalist co-author, comes off like she's trying to out-Tori Tori. I don't expect Powers to be overly critical, but I wasn't ready for this level of wannabe asskissery.

It's brilliant when Amos is talking about herself, her personal development, and her life in the business. If you're familiar wi...more
Abby
I love Tori Amos' music and have for years. I have nmet her and found her very inspiring and lovely. She is a bit odd though.

This is a great biography and it is clear that she finds inspriration in many well researced places. However, she goes off on a lot of tangents and some of them are hard to follow.

It is nice to see a full picture with interviews with many people in her life. I also liked the biographies of some of her best known songs.

A good read for fans but a little much for the everyday...more
carrie
I used this book extensively when I started my own book project this past summer. It's exhaustive. She wrote it with Ann Powers, one of my favorite cultural critics, and it's a candid look at her life as it influences her musical process. As you might expect there are many kooky discussions of mystics, Mary Magdalene, and goddesses. You get a really good sense of Tori as a person through this book.
Swankivy
Tori Amos's biography, written with the help of Ann Powers, a rock journalist. I really enjoyed hearing about her journey and most of all her experience being an artist, how she thinks about her music and herself. Recommended!
Reneein Dallas
A very descriptive look inside the mind of Tori Amos and the way she creates her songs. A must read for music lovers and lovers of biography
Andrew
Just like Tori herself - slightly wacko, slightly kooky. There I said it - "kooky".

So sue me.
Evilynn
Tori Amos is probably my favourite artist, all genres, and I've listened to her since I was 13 years old, so to say her music has been a big part of my life is an understatement. Nevertheless this book sat, unread, on my bookshelf for a couple of years until I picked it up, and when I did I got almost immediately stuck. I don't think it's the Tori-speak, I have years of experience reading that after all, and once I got passed the first half of the book or so I found myself engrossed in it. I thi...more
Christina Bouwens
Remarkable study/autobiography of a remarkable musician/woman. Wickedly dark humor throughout, and a razor-sharp intelligence. No doubt other Tori fans saw this coming, but I often found myself struck with how many life threads and literary commonalities between the woman and her fans (namely, this one). I always knew she writes somewhat autobiographically in her songs, but I had no idea of how much she borrows from other people's lives as muse, and the way in which she writes about her close fr...more
Dominic
After I read Patti Smith's memoir earlier this year, I was determined to read Tori Amos' book again because Tori has had such a critical influence on my development--and in a way, still does. While Amos is not as good as a prose writer as Smith, Piece by Piece relies on Tori's strength. Tori, for example is an amazing interviewee, and the book is structured as an amalgam of interview, reflection, comment and metaphor. I've never read a book quite like it, but the collaboration between Amos and j...more
K8e
This book has really made me realize the amount of talent that Tori Amos has. I started listening to her music because my older sister bought me a CD in 1997- and have enjoyed her work, but this book really made me start listening to older stuff, newer stuff and really realize the strength, the smarts and the determination that Tori has to be a creative singer, songwriter, performer. She spends a great deal of her time perfecting her art, her songs, her sound- I just really enjoyed reading this....more
Tanya
Feb 18, 2008 Tanya rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tanya by: Holly
I've gone from owning a couple of her CD's over the years to becoming more intrigued of her creative process. Thanks to a dear friend for sharing her box set I have become a routine listener. After reading Tori's book and engrossing myself in her music I think she may have just singlehandedly knocked out all of my top favorite live performers. This woman was born to create music and relay messages from a spiritual realm. Yes, her music is that deep, that moving and some may even say that disturb...more
Emilia P
If Tori Amos lived in her own universe (which in some ways, she does) I would love love love this book and would think the way she sees the world works out really well. Invoking pantheons of various cultures and being strong and weird and all of that stuff is pretty cool in some ways, and it helped her songs make more sense, the way she sees her creative process. Or at least let me know that I was more or less getting them all these many many years.

But Tori Amos lives in the real world, like the...more
Sonja Isaacson
This book is under 400 pages and took me about 10 weeks to get through. Ugh! I kept complaining about it and trying to avoid it. But now it's done.

I think she is a very intelligent person. But she is a much more spiritual person than I, and she incorporated religious figures from many different cultures and parts of the world. I rather wonder if in her day-to-day life she makes as many references to goddesses and Mary Magdalene as she puts in her book.

I think a lot of what bothered me about the...more
Caroline
Ok...I read this book the day it came out...as a matter of fact I went to the book signing at book people in Austin. All I know is I may not be right about the date i read it but I can say it was during hurricane katrina she came to book people in austin and when the book came out. I know bc I spent hours in line talking and forming a few relationships with refugees that last till this day. Ok, if you know me youre not surprised I'm reviewing this book you know my love of my favorite pianist and...more
Jace
Rather than writing a traditional autobiography, Amos narrates her life story by ruminating and reminiscing about events from her past. It progresses along a fairly linear path, but it's much more introspective story than you'd normally find in a standard factual biography. Frankly, I wouldn't expect anything less from Amos.

She discusses her pretty convoluted philosophies, encompassing feminism, ancient Sumerian goddesses, gnosticism, Mary Magdalene, and and the plight of Native Americans--all...more
Matt Fox
Feb 21, 2008 Matt Fox rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Tori fans, music lovers.
A friend asked me to write a review of this, expecting that this autobiography would be a scathing tell-all like Mommy Dearest. It's far from that. While Tori does share initmate details of her life and career, she does not really name names or attacks anyone maliciously. She does provide a lot of insight into the creative process, the role of feminism on musicians, native american beliefs, the music industry, Mary Magdalene--it's a wide gamut in a relatively short book. She also goes into painf...more
Rachel
Mar 30, 2008 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone
Piece by Piece is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. It is one of those books that has the potential to forever alter one's outlook on the world. Tori has an ability to articulate the artist's connection with the Creative Source that is imperative for any artist, no matter what her medium, genre, or trade to study and take heed of in order to cultivate a healthy, enriching connection to her art and to the art of others. Like Francesca Lia Block, Tori has a way of writing about her o...more
Jacqueline Lincoln
Tori Amos offers some of her insights into the music industry, social trends, and life in general. The book felt a bit convoluted at times, but it really does have some remarkable stories and revelations about Tori and her Tori-verse. I agree that Ann Powers could have done some more wrangling when it came to the editing, especially on the topic of archetypes, which came up again and again. If you can get through the more repetitive parts, you're in for some fascinating stuff, and helpful advice...more
Holly
I waffle between loving this book and feeling sort of "meh" about it. It's really hard to take in large doses. Sometimes I felt like I stumbled into the babblations of one of those crazy people who try to bum cigarettes off you on the streets of Santa Cruz. Other times, I am fascinated by the thought process behind creating such amazing songs. She reminds me a lot of Alice Walker, with her talk of how the "girls" come to her and how she is a channel for them to come to life. The times she truly...more
Nicole
I started reading this book like 2 summers ago, put it down and never picked it back up. I got distracted. When I finally picked up this lovely biography again, I thought "wait, why didn't I finish this book at the time?" I just plowed through the 2nd half of it in a few days. Great book if you are a Tori Amos fan. I liked the first half best, as it gives you a lot of her life's history and better understanding of some of her songs. The 2nd half goes a bit more into touring life and dealing with...more
h
there were moments when i felt conflicted about this book, put-off. the archetypes stuff becomes heavy-handed because it is just so overused. which i think is the failure mostly of ann powers, for not offering different types of insights in her italicized interjections.

that said, this was exactly the right moment for me to read this book and i feel that i got a lot out of it. it's a sort of inner monologue. tori's discussions of creativity, of what it means to be a creative woman in the 21st ce...more
Melissa Fernandez
Dec 24, 2007 Melissa Fernandez rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Tori fans
Overall, I think this book was pretty good, but I can't shake the feeling that there was something missing from it. I appreciated her insights on creativity, the music business, (such as the state of music and women in music today), and her stories of her personal struggles with pregnancy/miscarriage. But I expected more and came from it feeling like something was missing. I would've liked to have heard more about the stories behind the songs.

Otherwise, this is a great book for Tori fans who'd l...more
Stevie
Oct 03, 2008 Stevie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Stevie by: Julie
Wow! This took me a little while to get into but once I did, I was really amazed and intrigued. I started it I think, 4 times before I actually read the whole thing, the first time being about three years ago. It was recommended to me when I was venturing forth to study theatre performance at a conservatory and now that I have finished with that part of my life, it really made me take a look at what is important and how to balance a performance career with personal life. It brought me back to my...more
Writer's Relief
Having been a Tori Amos fan since 1991, I couldn’t resist reading her memoir when it was published in 2005. What makes this memoir work is that you get an insider’s view of what it’s like to be a recording artist who’s trying to sell nonmainstream material.

What’s also interesting is how her spirituality and life observations play an important part in her song creations. A particular thought of hers that struck me (and I’ll paraphrase here) was her belief that, regardless of your religious or spi...more
Mary Fons
Sep 20, 2007 Mary Fons rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Artists of all kinds.
Shelves: finito
This book is a fantastic resource for artists of all kinds.

Learning about Amos' artistic process almost feels wrong, like you're peeping on someone getting undressed. But her theories on what an artist's role is in the creation process, her warnings about the inner workings of the music business, and her historical notes all combine to make this a book that belongs on my shelf next to all my other theatre/art reference books.

Sure, Tori goes off on tangents from time to time: What artist doesn't...more
Alice
So it won't surprise anyone if I say I had high expectations for this book. For the most part, they were met, although there were times when I was still craving more detail about where the songs came from and what inspired them. But that's the one thing Tori's probably never going to go into detail about, so we'll just have to keep figuring it all out for ourselves.

Interesting side note: In recent interviews Tori has been saying how she felt like The Beekeeper sort of ended up like a collection...more
Miss Zero
There was some really interesting insights in here about her music, history and such, but it felt really bloated and contrived at some points, and I've never been a big fan of Tori-Speak (blasphemy, I know) and this book is doused in it. I enjoyed learning about the history of Siren and what was happening with Tori around that time, and I think the events that took place really led to the amazing recording and vocal of the Siren many fans know and love, including myself, despite the tragic event...more
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Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos) is an American pianist and singer-songwriter. She is married to English sound engineer Mark Hawley. Together they have one child, Natashya "Tash" Lórien Hawley, born on September 5, 2000.

Amos was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few pop performers to use a piano as her...more
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“What girls do to each other is beyond description. No Chinese torture comes close.” 116 likes
“A guitarist or a drummer can get a cold and still play; I get a cold and sound like a wet mitten trying to sing you a love song. Charming.” 25 likes
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