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Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  278 ratings  ·  35 reviews
My Chemical Romance is the most significant band in alternative rock in the last decade. Inspirational, original, and stunningly creative, they forged an extraordinary connection with their fans. Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance is their definitive biography.

Author Tom Bryant has been given unparalleled access to the band over the years, and no
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Da Capo Press (first published September 9th 2014)
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Average rating 4.57  · 
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Christy Rasmussen
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Written by someone who was on very good terms with the band, the author was able to get a remarkable amount of collaboration on what is an unofficial biography.

The book is focused and interesting. It gives good insight, not just on the band members, but on the scene surrounding them.

Definitely a must-read for fans of this iconic band.
Peri W 3
This was an amazing book. I cried a total of four times, because I didn't know that the story of the band was actually like this.
You know you've hit rock-bottom when you read a book about your favorite band.
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
my favourite book about my favourite band.

I clung to this book in middle school. in the wake of the break up of the band that (cliché alert) "Saved My Life", this was a much needed reminder of all of the good and an explanation of the bad. the only thing was the fact that, only a year after the breakup, there still really wasn't a satisfying way to understand what had happened.
re-reading as a now 19 year old living through the California 2019 revival (which I TOLD YALL would happen! 13 year old
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
My Chemical Romance is one of my favorite bands so I really wanted to read Not the Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance because I wanted to know the background behind the band. I do really like this book because the author goes into great depth of the history of the band and the members of the band and their lives but there is one aspect of the book that is hard to look over and that is that the author tends to repeat himself very often. He will state something in one paragraph a ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4.75 Stars

I'll write a review when I'm ready. I just started school and I'm not sure how much I want to say/write about this book yet. Probably more than I'll ever be able to. Stay tuned!

Edit: So originally I said that I would eventually get around to writing a review for this, but then school took over, and then the band actually got back together lol, and now I have no idea what I was even gonna say. Basically, MCR is one of my all-time favorite bands and it was great getting to learn more abo
Elon Slootweg
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This one was an experience. Tom Bryant grants us all access to something fans of My Chemical Romance have so desperately been waiting for, for so long - information. This book gives us an idea, a view of the band behind, as well as in front of, the scenes. It explains, soothes and hurts those who have been heart-broken ever since the break op of the epic band. The last chapter, the last words, left me in tears, but they were good tears, because it hurt, but at least there was something like clos ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
worth it if nothing else for the final phone call with frank. not reinventing the wheel by any means, but largely good and sometimes great.
feel its too incriminating to mention that i don't feel i gleaned Huge amounts of new information, but that's more likely indicative of personal failings.
Lauren Evatt
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thought this biography was quite a bit of fun to read and was very insightful. As a fan of My Chemical Romance I found the descriptions of how they made each of their records to be very informative. I enjoyed reading the many quotes and interviews and adored the photos in the middle. I also thought that the author did an excellent job of conveying what was going on around MCR at the time which is really helpful for someone who wasn't there when it happened. Overall I loved this book and would ...more
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm a My Chemical Romance fanatic. I thought I knew every single detail about this band. With that being said, I learned so much from Tom Bryant's book about them.

The only reason I gave this book 4 stars was because I felt he could have dug deeper. There were no new revelations on why Matt Pelissier was kicked out of the band, why Bob Bryar was kicked out of the band, why they parted ways with their manager, or what happened involving Mike Pedicone. I wish Bryant had dug deeper.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Literally any Killjoy/MCRmy Member
Recommended to quinnley by: Goodreads
I got this book not weeks after finally calling myself a Killjoy and fully intended to read it after I had finished the other 10 or so books on my shelf, well I started it 10 minutes later. I started listening to MCR religiously a couple weeks after the reunion - so yeah, I'm really new - and I ordered my copy of the book around 2 weeks later. I've always kind of known that if I like something I become completely obsessed with it soon after but when I had listened to all of their songs and alrea ...more
Piper (An Ocean of Words)
"...if for one minute you think you're better than a sixteen-year-old girl in a Green Day T-shirt, you are sorely mistaken."

I read this book because I was in the mood for some nostalgia, and I pretty much got what I came for. There were some issues: Terrible title, repetitive cliches, signs that the author (who is British) didn't know much about New Jersey, and 2-3 chapters that feel like they could've been edited out. Some of it doesn't seem to be his fault- the book got the band's blessing, b
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a detailed biography, and a fascinating look into the frustrations and joys of the creative process

Came into this after feeling bitter about not being able to make the reunion show/seeking out a comfortable bit of nostalgia. But what really gripped me was the description of what went into each creative process (specifically, the black parade - which, oh my god, nearly took everything from them). Each band member, each creative executive has a different philosophy on the function of the creative
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Honestly, reviewing biographies is so weird cuz it’s about real lives, y’know? How can I review life?

Anyway, this is my first time trying to review a biography cuz at the end of the day, it’s still a book (still gonna be weird tho).

Published the year after My Chemical Romance’s breakup, this book is an unauthorized biography, meaning that there were no new interviews from the band (save for Frank Iero’s) or from anyone connected to them for this book. That doesn’t mean this book was written w
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Didn't finish, sadly. It was interesting and had some neat tid-bits, but was pretty repetitive. The first several chapters were great and the whole section about the creation of "I Brought You My Bullets..." was absolutely fascinating but after that it felt a bit shallow and rushed. I do hope to go back to it to finish it because I'm sure I just hit a brief lull, but "Three Cheers..." is one of my favorite albums and this book didn't spend much time on it at all. But if you're a fan of MCR, give ...more
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic. I read as many interviews with MCR as I could as they came out over the years and this book brought back a lot of small details I had forgotten about. Bryant captures the band very well and reading this was a pleasure.
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm honestly just sitting here crying because I miss this band so much and they mean so much to be still after all these years. It's a scary thought to think I might never be able to fully move on from this band. ...more
Dani Kass
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
This is a great read if you love My Chemical Romance. It's full of a ton of great insight about the music itself — its context, influences and impact — how the members struggled with the band becoming bigger and bigger, and how they kept having to find new footing again and again. It's not nearly as intimate as an authorized biography would have been, but it's really damn close. ...more
Channah Carpenter
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I love this freaking book so much. I'm so glad I found this. ...more
Abby K
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I feel that this book is a must read for all fans! No matter how much you think you know about this band,you are destined to learn more. You will appreciate them more after reading this!
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was really amazing.
There was a lot of new information in it and nust in general interesting and a fun-read.
Loved it so much. ❤
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is technically a very good book and band biography, and of course I enjoyed it bc y’all know how much I love mcr...I’m a clown and now I run a cobra starship stan account on Twitter
Anton Reiter
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best biographies I have read. Tom does a great job of telling the complete story in a way that's fun to read and keeps you interested. Highly recommend. ...more
Christeyn Fremont
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great insight into the creation of the band, their albums, and the madness that it took to become what they are.
Apr 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. Towards the end I cried so hard. Especially around the part in Mexico and the UK.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My chemical romance is one of my favorite bands. Now after reading this, I understand more about them and their music.
Abbie Roalsvig
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is a biography about my favorite band called My Chemical Romance and it was very well written. It gave details about the band's story, the band members' lives and the songs they created over the years. The biography told me about the history of My Chemical Romance from the beginning to the end. The members of the band include lead vocalist Gerard Way, his brother and bassist Mikey way, and guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero. Not the Life It Seems tells about their journeys ...more
Matt Stevens
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I found this book a pleasure to read. Very well written with plenty of quotes from the band members, producers, and those surrounding them.
Truly, this story is a great reminder that what we see or think might not be all there is to it. "I want that life."
Are you sure? Are you sure you want everything you think you do?
Tyler Nelson
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book gives very insightful details on each of the band member's lives and how the band changed them for the better. This is one of the best biographies I have read and is incredibly well written and gives insightful interviews with each member. A must read for any My Chemical Romance fan. ...more
Helena Iero
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I absolutely LOVE this book! It covers the entire story of My Chemical Romance and contains super good black and white pics of the band. Even if you're just a casual fan or just like band biographies, you will love it. ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
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Book Review: Not The Life It Seems: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance | Diary Of A Book Worm Artist
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