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Piece by Piece

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  1,745 Ratings  ·  160 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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 did not like it
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
Aug 25, 2007 Ruth rated it did not like it
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).
Alex
Feb 27, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I love Tori's music. Generally speaking, I love her mind. She's a bit.. out of the ordinary sometimes, but generally I can appreciate and enjoy that. So I went into this with expecting to fall in love.

Straight away, I was put off. In the introduction, there are some interesting glimpses about Tori's approach to songwriting - how she is a vessel for songs - and her outlook on performance and 'the artist'. But then there's also passages like...

"I was born a feminist. And then at age five, when my
...more
Andrew
Sep 11, 2009 Andrew rated it liked it
Just like Tori herself - slightly wacko, slightly kooky. There I said it - "kooky".

So sue me.
Christina Bouwens
Aug 03, 2011 Christina Bouwens rated it it was amazing
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
Julie Decker
Aug 19, 2014 Julie Decker rated it really liked it
This isn't your usual biography.

Oh sure, it covers the gritty truths of Tori's life: Miscarriages, rape, alienation, disillusionment. And yes, it yields the highlights: Her marriage, her daughter's birth, her musical success. But more than anything, this book records not the life of Tori Amos itself, but the *experience* of being Tori. Of being an artist.

It's not organized in a necessarily coherent way. It seems to flip-flop around a lot in time, so much so that when her more recent career is th
...more
Swankivy
Aug 19, 2014 Swankivy rated it really liked it
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
Oct 05, 2013 Reneein Dallas rated it it was amazing
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
Popular Soda
Feb 25, 2012 Popular Soda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 17, 2007 Abby rated it liked it
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
Ryland Dinneen
Jun 22, 2014 Ryland Dinneen rated it liked it
this is a very interesting read, but only if you are a devoted fan and follower of Tori Amos. i cant imagine how anybody who isnt completely head-over-heals in love with this woman could stomach this book. romantic doesnt do it justice; amos literally refers to her songs with the pronouns Her/She and then proceeds to discuss the meaning of flowers and that cloud you saw yesterday that looked vaguely like a dick and OH WHAT COULD IT MEAN and how you could write a "Sonic Painting" about it

I love t
...more
Scott
Oct 18, 2015 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The potential for me to be disappointed in this book was so great that it took me ten years to pluck up to the courage to read it. Not only did it live up to my possible expectations, it exceeded them. I have no idea what other readers were looking for, but I found something that electrified me to such an extent that this is now my favourite book. I'm not surprised some readers hate it - after all Tori Amos is well aware she's not for everyone. She's anchovies. The strength of her singular visio ...more
carrie
Mar 22, 2007 carrie rated it liked it
Shelves: work-reads
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.
Shannon DeRespino
Nov 30, 2015 Shannon DeRespino rated it liked it
# of Times Read: 1
Date(s) Read: 2012

General Thoughts: As a massive Tori Amos fan, this book is fascinating to read. Tori is an incredibly interesting human being with an entirely unique worldview. Her passion and creativity shine through and her thoughts on songwriting craft are simply not to be missed by fans. This is perhaps the closest we will get to an autobiography from Tori and it should be on the bookshelf of every Tori Amos fan because of it. It reminds me why I have been obsessed with t
...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
A very interesting look into a singer/song writers life.
I have enjoyed some of her music and found this book to be a glimpse of what her life is like. She comes off to me as kind of odd, but then aren't we all?!
Mateusz
Sep 13, 2014 Mateusz rated it liked it
First of all, I want to say that I love Tori Amos and I respect her as a singer, songwriter and a wonderful human being. “Piece by Piece” is mostly about myths, archetypes and muses that influence her songwriting. Still, I especially liked the chapter about the music business. I think every upcoming singer/songwriter should read it! I had no idea what’s going on there! Now I understand why TLC were broke while having #1 albums! I love the parts written by Tori but not really the ones by Ann. I g ...more
Elizabeth Davis
As a big Tori fan I was looking forward to finally reading this. It was really interesting to read about her battles with record companies, her touring schedule, etc. The problem I had with this book was that it read like one big interview between her and Ann, and when Ann did actually write something it was a little too pretentious. Tori repeated herself a few times (this book didn't really seem to be edited all that well) and she talked much more about her beliefs/faith/etc. then anything else ...more
Rem
Jun 13, 2016 Rem rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, biography
I'm really surprised that the song Talula, in the soundtrack for Twister wasn't covered at all or mentioned. Neither was the death of her brother.
Also, I was a little surprised that there was sparse details for her cameo appearance as a wedding singer in the film "Mona Lisa Smile".
Other wise I loved this book, as I've been waiting some 6 years or so to read it. I feel like I can understand Tori Amos and respect her a whole lot more after I read this book.

"The Native American way of thinking sa
...more
Evilynn
Jun 08, 2009 Evilynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2009
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
Dominic
Oct 22, 2011 Dominic rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 13, 2010 K8e rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 really liked it
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
Jan 21, 2009 Emilia P rated it liked it
Shelves: real-books
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
Jan 22, 2008 Caroline rated it it was amazing
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
May 31, 2011 Jace rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Don Quichotte
Jul 12, 2014 Don Quichotte rated it it was amazing
If you want to know more about Tori, this is the book to read. She explains why she is who she is. And in doing so, she also sheds some light on the history and meaning of some of her songs. Do not expect that so explains the songs completely, because they are personal stories. Stories for her, to explain her world. The result of her research into a certain subject. This, however, does not mean that these stories have no meaning for us. For she is on a mission to unite the two Mary's.

Some chapte
...more
Matt Fox
Feb 21, 2008 Matt Fox rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing
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
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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.” 141 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.” 28 likes
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