Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Woman Like Me” as Want to Read:
A Woman Like Me
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Woman Like Me

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  131 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
An inspiring, no-holds-barred, audacious memoir by Bettye LaVette, one of R&B's greatest legends - guaranteed to make news, and make hearts break, too.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 27th 2012 by Blue Rider Press (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Woman Like Me, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Woman Like Me

Girls to the Front by Sara MarcusClothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv AlbertineA Girl Called Dusty by Sharon DavisGirl Power by Marisa MeltzerPink Noises by Tara Rodgers
Feminism and Music
109 books — 19 voters
Detroit by Charlie LeDuffMiddlesex by Jeffrey EugenidesDetroit by Dan GeorgakasDetroit City Is the Place to Be by Mark BinelliDetroit Noir by E.J. Olsen
136 books — 37 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Christopher McDonald
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bettye LaVette!! You held nothing back!! Nothing!!!!!

This is hands-down the most open auto-biography I've ever read. I'd recently read Gregg Allman's and that held the crown, but Bettye stole it, ran off with it, and buried the crown with her name engraved on it. In this book, she chronicles her very slow rise to fame throughout 30 years, despite all types of adversity like prostitution, alcohol, dishonest record execs, poverty, etc. In addition to airing out her own dirty laundry, she does the
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very early into it I realized I don't like this woman very much but I like the book and the story of her trying to make it in the music business. I was struck by her brutally honest story telling and sometimes put off by it. I kept reading because this woman is one of the best singers I have ever heard,she is the truth.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I Say I TORE Through This Book??

....that is what I did. I made the mistake of starting this book, late last night - and literally could NOT put it down. I never thought I would find a book that was more fire than Raymona Gordy Singleton's, or more candid than Bobby Womack's....but mannn...I FOUND one. This one. All I can say - for those who are considering this book - GET IT, and buckle UP!! This book is a awesome ride of brushes with fame, missed opportunities, and at last, vindication....
Bobby Simic
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
R&B/Soul singer, Bettye LaVette, offers a matter-of-fact account of her (slow) rise to fame. LaVette is a survivor in the best sense, never giving up her dream of becoming a singer and only finding success well after middle-age.

But this isn't one of those warm and fuzzy, "You can do anything, if you put your mind to it" memoirs. This has sex, drugs, and drinking in spades, and LaVette is making no apologies about any of it.

Growing up in Detroit, LaVette was at the center of Motown's rise a
Jun 19, 2014 rated it liked it
To say Bettye LaVette likes to live life on her own terms may be an understatement. The book begins with a pimp hanging LaVette out of an upper story window. The R&B singer’s exploits don't get any tamer from there. LaVette dishes on her numerous sexual liaisons with famous musicians, petty criminals and hardcore gangsters. The main focus, however, is her music career. LaVette has spent the majority of her life in Detroit. As an R&B singer in 1960s and 1970s Detroit she rubbed elbows wit ...more
Candace R
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This has to be the most honest autobiography by a singer I have ever read, and I have read a lot in the last 35 years. I first heard Bettye while listening to a compilation album many years ago. I thought then, Why is this woman not famous? This book describes why. This is the definitive " hard luck" , yet never give up story. Every time she falls down, she says " Buzzards luck. Mutha f*ck". You laugh at her choice of words, but you feel so sad and angry for her. At the end of the book, you are ...more
Terri Kempton
Oct 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I love Bettye's voice and applaud her tenacity to become a success - and her frankness in writing this book. Ballsy, courageous, and heartbreaking in turns, I appreciated learning more about her history. But the actual narrative could have used a little less name dropping (if you were around in the Detroit RB/blues scene in the 60's and 70's, man, will you LOVE this part!) and a little more reflection. It reads like she's still very much living the story, as she is, so it's more of a plot breakd ...more
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: friends
Recommended to Kathy by: Joe Madison "The Eagle"

Bettye Lavette has led a hard living,loving,drugging, sexing and singing life. This book was really a good read. She was in the beginning of the Motown/Atlantic Soul R&B run of the 60's and 70's. Boy did she tell stories and the names were not changed to protect the innocent, if there was any innocent. She is a rough and tumble lady that has led a life and is still living. She didn't sugar coat the truth she just put it all on the line. Some of the characters that are still living may ha
Jun 15, 2012 rated it liked it
A super raw account of her years of almost-making it as a singer but always being broke and fucked over. Um, I love how she told all the shit. How much prostitution was(is?) a normal part of the music business. Omg, she had so much shit to say about Diana Ross and tons of other people. I love all her affairs with dudes (and one lady), I love her love of weed and blow, but you guys, she thinks some women just need to be hit and she thinks Ike got a bad rap. Wow! Mostly, I just want to listen to h ...more
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
A truly inspirational story with no appearance from God. From the first sentence you will find it hard to put down this book from a hard drinking, hard loving and hard singing blues legend. If you ever wanted to know what real people in Detroit think about Motown, Diane Ross, Aretha Franklin, etc. You'll love what Bettye has to say. Read the acknowledgements at the end of the book...hysterical! A moving and heartwarming story of rising above adversity to become a legend.
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bettye Lavette is one of my favorite vocalists, and this book, written with seemingly no-holds barred, will be of interest to music fans, LGBT folks, history buffs and especially fans of Motown-era Detroit, from the point of view of its most infamous underdog. There's dirt on everybody. LOL.

I will warn you--some of Lavette's opinions are shockingly misogynist, and will make many pro-feminist and feminists cringe in horror. But its still worth the read.

Darrick Williams
Apr 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Well, I’ll keep it simple; it is indeed raw and uncut. Bettye LaVette details her life and lifestyle as she tries to make it in the music business. She tells of sex, drugs, pimps and other star signers as they themselves were trying to make it. Some names she speak of: Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Gladys Knight and many more. In the end, the way you’re raised is everything.
Jon Kapp
Aug 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm not sure we know exactly what drove Bettye LaVette, but her book clearly chronicles an immensely talented woman who refused to give up. Her redemption comes in a degree of fame and more importantly recognition towards the end of a long career. No holds. For fans of an individual and an era.
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Bettye LaVette has always intoxicated me with her voice with this autobiography/memoir she has captured me with her words. Her life story is written as if being told to a dear friend sitting across from you while having drinks. A truly stunning read.
Mike Barnett
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not the most well-written book, but I absolutely love her music. And I love her refreshingly honest appreciation for alcohol and sex and her refusal to be anything but dismissive of religion. So first listen to her and then read this!
Gary R
Nov 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this autobiography but it was slow reading. But I still love Bettye Lavette.
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bettye's story is pretty amazing. Not the BEST writing (not bad either), but her story and spirit come through with the same unforgiving passion her singing does.
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought she was very bold in telling her life just as she lived it. Very strong women with a balanced sense of right and wrong. And she can really sing the Blues.
Dennis Mills
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brutally honest and raw, like her voice. Go Bettye!
rated it really liked it
Nov 19, 2017
rated it really liked it
Oct 20, 2012
David Freeland
rated it it was amazing
Sep 14, 2012
rated it liked it
Aug 13, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Aug 05, 2017
rated it really liked it
Dec 19, 2013
Nancy Taylor
rated it really liked it
Aug 23, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Nov 29, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2013
rated it really liked it
Oct 07, 2013
rated it liked it
Dec 23, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin
  • The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun
  • The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret
  • Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?: A Memoir
  • My Name is Love
  • Hello Darlin': Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales about My Life
  • High Times, Hard Times
  • Falling  Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins
  • Ska'd for Life: A Personal Journey with The Specials
  • My Way
  • Either You're in Or You're in the Way
  • Nothing Left to Burn
  • Orangutan: A Memoir
  • Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him
  • The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir
  • Stand Up Straight and Sing!
  • I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March up Freedom's Highway
  • After the Dance: My Life With Marvin Gaye

Nonfiction Deals

  • Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Funny In Farsi: A Memoir Of Growing Up Iranian In America
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France
    $8.49 $1.99
  • Bad Boy
    $7.74 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
    $4.99 $1.99
  • All Over But the Shoutin'
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change
    $13.99 $1.99
  • WEIRD: Because Normal Isn't Working
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness
    $5.99 $0.99