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I Walked the Line: My Life with Johnny

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  827 ratings  ·  121 reviews
"I Walked the Line" is a chronicle of first love, long-kept secrets, betrayal, forgiveness, and the truth--told at last by Johnny Cash's first wife, the mother of his four daughters. It is a book that had the full support of Johnny Cash, who insisted it was time for their story to be told, despite any painful revelations that might come to light as a result. Many myths and ...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Scribner Book Company (first published 2007)
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 ·  827 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 to have g ...more
Jul 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
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
Jul 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 05, 2007 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 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Jamie Leach
Jun 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
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... ...more
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 02, 2012 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
Feb 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Chris O'grady
Jan 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it liked it
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....
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Kristina Hoerner
Oct 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
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 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
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 handwriting changed fro
Bonni Sweet
Nov 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book because I was working on a scene from Walk the Line for my acting class, and boy am I glad I did! What a different perspective it gave me. The movie Walk the Line is a great story, but not necessarily a true one. This book opened up my eyes to a very complex man in black, and the things that all too often come with the price of fame. I wish the movie would’ve told Vivian’s story more accurately, but I’m glad she got to say her peace and make her peace with this book.
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
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
Phyllis Pavis
I wanted to read this because I wanted to learn more about the life of Johnny Cash and I thought this would be a good read.

I was disappointed.

The main story line was letters between Johnny and Vivian while he was in Germany. While nice to read, I didn't really see any genuineness in them. The rest of the story was bashing June Carter Cash. This is really a story of a woman scorned and not a real life story. Way too many gaps in the story line.
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
I wanted to read this since I'm a fan of Johnny Cash and his story has always intrigued me. This book was difficult for me. I wanted more of the story about their life not pages upon pages of letters and woman trying to convince the world she was once loved by him. Poorly written and a bit pathetic if you ask me. Interesting to hear her side, but would not recommend to anyone. ...more
Jessie Gussman
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
There are two side to every story, I suppose. There was an underlying tone of bitterness here (rightfully so), but it made it just a little hard to believe. Especially anything she said about June Carter. Totally understandable. I'm guessing, like most things, the truth lies somewhere between the two sides.

I admit to skimming some of the old love letters.
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Since getting back from our TJYC trip, where we made our scholars listen to great music, I am on a Johnny Cash trip. I really enjoyed this book. It was tragic to see how someone can throw their life away, but in the end they all came through it. I loved the letters and the look back in time.
Kelly D.
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Not everyone wanted to hear this side of the Johnny Cash's story. Written by his first wife and tells her side of the story. I loved this book and have ready Johnny's autobiography too. Was refreshing to read the other side and hear her point of view. ...more
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A completely different perspective on Johnny Cash's life by his first wife, a phenomenal woman... the love story that was never told. ...more
Apr 24, 2014 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Carolina Morales
A bitter wife plays the victim while her deeply traumatised husband searchs comfort in the arms of a kindhearted country singer and ilicit drugs.
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
During my stay at home time because of COVID-19, I've been watching more television with Julia. Amazon had all the movies that were supposed to be at SxSW for free. The story of Vivian Cash (sorry I don't remember the exact title of the movie) was one of these movies that we watched. I was intrigued by Vivian's story so I got this book as a digital library download.

I didn't learn anymore than what I saw in the SxSW movie. The love letters from Johnny, sent during World War II, were at best mild
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