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Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  241 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Patsy Cline, the beloved country singer, soared from obscurity to worldwide fame before her life tragically ended at age thirty. After breaking all the barriers in the Nashville boys' club of the music business in the 1950s, she brought the Nashville sound to the nation with her torch ballads and rockabilly tunes like "Walking After Midnight," "Crazy," and "I Fall to Piece ...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Chicago Review Press (first published March 1993)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Dec 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

"She was a hurt individual, a great cut-up on the outside but hurting on the inside . . . The secret behind Patsy was how she lived every note and word of her songs . . . You could feel the hate and bitterness, her own experiences. Patsy had a story to tell, and nobody ever knew what is was. If there were parallels in her music, she had a way of identifying with them." -- musical colleague Lightnin' Chance, page 181

Patsy Cline (1932-1963) was a rising vocal superstar - and arguably one
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All you'll ever want to know about the turbulent life of the great Patsy Cline. Very well documented.

Having been a fan of this woman with such an extraordinary voice for most of my life, I learned, frankly, more than I wanted to know.

Being older than dirt myself, she hit it big with her crossover hits while I was still in school.

My takeaway . . . . . she was a driven woman; she had but one goal . . . . and she made it. My other takeaway . . . . . she really never realized what a huge talent she
Apr 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really 2.5. The photos are very interesting as they span Patsy Cline's career and family life. The text is written in an amateurish style. It's probably ninety percent dialog and lacks the setting and depth I would expect of a comprehensive biography. But, I wanted sense of who Patsy Cline was, what she was about, how she became famous, and what her personal life was like that may have influenced her approach to interpreting songs. I did get a strong sense of that through this biography. Though ...more
Lindy Crichton Bezuidenhout
Good but not great

I enjoyed the first 20% of the book and the last 30%. The middle was beyond tedious! I grew up listening to Patsy’s music in my family home. I was always very curious to learn more about her and I was very excited to read this book. I got off to a quick start and then I got stuck. The middle is filled with too much information - names, dates, venues, street names etc etc. I was so confused and could not remember who was who. It took me months to get through this part. Then earl
Rob Foster
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was not all sugary fan worship, but a detailed biography that presented the stormy side of Cline's life and career as well. That is what I'd hoped for, rather than a glorified P.R. piece as some biographies tend to be. She was by no means an innocent wallflower. She was obviously a very complex person, despite the hayseed stereotype that neophytes often assume of all C&W stars. Her place in music history is so epic, despite her career and time of output being so short – like Hank Williams, sh ...more
This was pretty good overall, but needed a good editor. I also am not a fan of Nassour's writing at all - luckily I adore Patsy Cline, so I got through it. In terms of the writing, It felt like, especially in the last chapter, Nassour was frantically trying to include every detail, of everything, that everyone he interviewed ever said about Patsy Cline. There were moments when I lost any thread - as if he just threw in a random anecdote with no rhyme or reason. Around the middle of the book, whe ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A huge fan of her music I had only an inkling of her background other than her roots in country and the tragic plan crash that took her life. This book fills in the details to as in depth as one could want. Much of it is based on remarks and reminiscences of those that surrounded her particularly her friends Dottie West and Loretta Lynn.

Patsy's life, tumultuous from beginning to end, is a profile in the earlier rough and tumble era of country music. Particularly it encompassed how difficult the
Sandy Saunders
May 27, 2022 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book and have read it a couple of times now. However, if you want to know Patsy the book doesn’t tell it as much as any one of her songs does. For a woman who had a very short life span, she achieved much more than most people can even dream about and more than anything else it was her own determination that got her to the top.
The book does drag on a bit in the middle section and it does jump around a bit in the story line but overall there is a lot of information on the life of P
Naomi Krokowski
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terrific, balanced biography! I think it must be tricky to revere a talent as legendary as Patsy Cline and still give us a picture of the complicated person. There’s a good amount of research and interviews used to paint a well rounded portrait of a pioneering genius of country and pop music. Listening to Patsy Cline is still a thrill for me today. Thanks to Ellis Nasdour’s dedication., I can appreciate the emotional range of her work even more.
Mar 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with hesitation, based on some of the reviews I read beforehand, but I really wanted to read a Patsy Cline biography. This one seemed to be the best of what's out there, which is to say that a good Patsy Cline biography needs to be written. This is one of those gossipy biographies that leave you feeling dirty when you finish it. Despite the author's claim that it is fact based, it reads as a he-said, she-said, dialogue-based biography. Very disappointing. ...more
M. E.
Oct 12, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The author doesn't appear to like Patsy Cline at all.
The narrator, dreadful
Susan Clingman
Oct 13, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nls2022
Tue good, the bad and the ugly of the life of Patsy Cline
Tom Ryasko
Oct 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i agree with Scott when you cant get your mind off some one item she could cause ive washed dishes as proof
Chelsea Darnell
As a big fan of Patsy Cline I was quite excited to read this book. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite compel me in the way I’d imagined it would, mainly because it’s really dense, and goes into a lot of rather boring details about the music industry. I liked the bits about her personal life and how she was so feisty and good to others and determined to succeed in the face of opposition. It was a surprise to hear about her perhaps loose ways at times, and how she wasn’t so good to her supporter Bill ...more
Kit Fox
May 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had no idea that "Walkin' After Midnight" was originally supposed to be a Kay Starr song, or that, with almost no exception, Patsy just about hated every song of hers that went on to become a big hit. Sometimes even after they actually started earning her money. Glad that this wasn't a scholarly as it appeared to be, and was still full of a healthy amount of drinkin', singin', lovin', losin', and all other forms of honky tonkery. Also, Patsy gets even cooler when you find out that she often refe ...more
Bridget Litten
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well researched biography. At times the book moved fairly slowly when the details and specifics (of places, names, recording sessions, musicians, dates, etc) overwhelmed the narrative. But I guess that comes with a thorough biography.

Interesting to learn what it was like to be a singer in those days. Kind of a hard life, actually, as it probably is today -- endless travel, not enough money, and always craving to become more famous in the chase.

The last chapter of the book (afterword) was pa
Jun 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Patsy's house in Winchester, VA. It is a small house, but the tour is very interesting, informative and well-done. I also would recommend the exhibit nearby at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Winchester had not always embraced Patsy, but it is good to see that they are celebrating her life the way they are now. ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful book to read. Gave in depth background on Patsy Cline's life, her rise to fame, and personal relationships. Friends, fellow celebrities, and family members share their memories of the late star. ...more
The author of this book made Patsy Cline's life kind of boring. How is that even possible? The writing was kind of dense and not very engaging. I pushed through the whole thing, 'cause that's the way I am, but if I were any less stubborn, I would have given up before I was halfway done. ...more
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this on a plane ride from Nashville to Hartford and didn't realize when we took off or when we landed. Highly informative, it tells the story of Patsy Cline's life and death and clears up some misperceptions about the movies that attempt to portray her life. ...more
Sep 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what a biography should be - the story of a spitfire, full of conversations that probably never happened, and conjecture that contradicts itself.
It's a little eerie how her songs mimicked her life and her life mimicked her songs.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patsy Cline, was human with the voice of an angel and I still consider her voice to be the best ever. This book is very well researched and provides a balanced unbiased biography of a legend. The update in the new version was informative, as was the whole book.
Nancy Noble
I picked this book up somewhere and thought I'd like to read about Patsy Cline as I like her music. I did learn a lot about her but found the book to be not as good as I had hoped. Too much uninteresting detail. And Patsy wasn't a very likeable person. ...more
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very technical, but structured in a way that shows how much effort and research the author put in. I love Patsy Cline, and loved all the behind the scenes stories included. You could really get a sense of how much people really did love her.
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book about 15 years ago and loved it, I am a huge Patsy Cline fan and this is a great read for anyone who is interested in her story!!!!
Oct 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
Pretty stick-it-in-your-ear kind of gal.
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