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Face It

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‘I was saying things in songs that female singers didn’t really say back then. I wasn’t submissive or begging him to come back, I was kicking his ass, kicking him out, kicking my own ass too. My Blondie character was an inflatable doll but with a dark, provocative, aggressive side. I was playing it up, yet I was very serious.’


DEBBIE HARRY is a musician, actor, activist and the iconic face of New York City cool. As the front-woman of Blondie, she and the band forged a new sound that brought together the worlds of rock, punk, disco, reggae and hip-hop to create some of the most beloved pop songs of all time. As a muse, she collaborated with some of the boldest artists of the past four decades. The scope of Debbie Harry’s impact on our culture has been matched only by her reticence to reveal her rich inner life – until now.

In an arresting mix of visceral, soulful storytelling and stunning visuals that includes never-before-seen photographs, bespoke illustrations and fan art installations, Face It upends the standard music memoir while delivering a truly prismatic portrait. With all the grit, grime, and glory recounted in intimate detail, Face It recreates the downtown scene of 1970s New York City, where Blondie played alongside the Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.

Following her path from glorious commercial success to heroin addiction, the near-death of partner Chris Stein, a heart-wrenching bankruptcy, and Blondie’s break-up as a band to her multifaceted acting career in more than thirty films, a stunning solo career and the triumphant return of her band, and her tireless advocacy for the environment and LGBTQ rights, Face It is a cinematic story of a woman who made her own path, and set the standard for a generation of artists who followed in her footsteps – a memoir as dynamic as its subject.

320 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 1, 2019

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About the author

Debbie Harry

17 books92 followers
Deborah Ann Harry is a Golden Globe-nominated and Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and actress most famous for being the lead singer for the punk rock/new wave band Blondie. She has also had some success as a solo artist, recording five solo albums and has sold more then 7 million records. In the mid 1990s she also performed and recorded as part of the Jazz Passengers. Harry has also engaged in an acting career with over 30 film roles and several television appearances to her credit.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 871 reviews
Profile Image for Julie .
3,998 reviews58.9k followers
November 1, 2019
Interesting, but lackluster memoir

You never know what you are going to get when you start reading a memoir, but it is always hard to write a review for one you feel a little underwhelmed or disappointed with.

So, fans of Debbie Harry, those who will brook no criticism of her, maybe you’ll want to skip this review. I can seem judgmental, more so with a memoir than with a biography written by a third party or a ghost writer.

That’s not really my intent, but I’ve been told I come off sounding that way. Still, these are my personal thoughts and I’m going to be straight up honest about them.

I desperately wanted to like this book. I couldn’t wait for my library to get a copy, so I listened to the audio on Scribd without the benefit of having a digital or print book to complement it- something I rarely do.

At first, I enjoyed listening to Debbie's narration. Being from Texas I don’t get to hear accents like hers too often, and she narrated the book with such an unusual cadence, I was mesmerized by her voice for a while.

But by the second full day of audio, her tone seemed flat and impersonal with little or no emotion or inflection. I really struggled to stay focused on it at times.

As to the format and organization, Debbie gets off to a good start, talking about her childhood, her road to success, and the atmosphere in New York during the seventies, which was bursting with creativity and artistry, but was also a dark, dangerous, terrifying city that was going broke.

Out of this tough environment punk and new wave carved out a fitting niche. Forget corporate rock and bloated songs showcasing guitar and drum solos! As a result, readers will soon learn the one thing Debbie DOESN’T do is gentrification.

Unfortunately, after getting off to such a good start, Debbie occasionally lost her train of thought, and her tight chronological format unraveled, and she started to insert odd little antidotes and wandering off course, playing around with timelines, which is something that rarely works for me with a biography or memoir.

As to my personal views-

I always liked Blondie. The music was catchy with a crossover appeal and I thought Debbie Harry was the perfect front person for the group. I can’t say I was a super fan and up until now I knew very little about Debbie from a personal standpoint. I had heard she had a drug addiction, but other than that I couldn’t have told one other thing about her.

As such, much of what was revealed in her memoir was news to me and I did find her background to be quite interesting. She did reveal one very shocking detail in her life that left me feeling shaken and was the most harrowing moment in the book. (I’m not talking about her alleged encounter with a serial killer- although she does mention that episode in the book)

Excepting that one intensely personal and brave revelation, Debbie remained aloof for the most part. While I realize she plays up her sex appeal, and that is a big part of her stage persona, I was a bit surprised by her strong reliance on her outer appearance, and how, despite believing her music was cutting edge, and that she was standing up to men, and for herself, through her music, she placed a very heavy emphasis on her looks and sex kitten persona rather than on her talent. I was disappointed by that and wish she had relayed a stronger stance against the misogyny in the male dominated and controlled music business. In fact, she went out of her way to avoid that subject, explaining that she just put up with it and got on with what she needed to do- which is a cycle we are desperately trying to break.

I suppose she’s still holding fast to her public image and mystique, and maybe she feels like it is still her bread and butter, so she didn't want to shatter that image.

But, that air of mystery leads me to another qualm about the book. A good memoir gives readers an intimate look at the person and is not just about naming names- which Debbie did a lot of – or an oral history of facts and events.

Unfortunately, Debbie skimmed over some of the things I think people are most interested in knowing. Details!! We want to know about Chris Klein- not just that there was a relationship- but what came between them- what broke them up. Tell us about the drug addiction in a way that perhaps suggests a little regret or remorse- some hint of the agony she must have endured to get clean. None of those intimacies are here and I’m wondering if perhaps Debbie was not really all that interested in giving us a prolonged peek behind the curtain, which leads me to believe that she may have been better off going with an authorized biography instead.

All of that said, Debbie Harry is an icon, and although I didn’t get much of a feel for who she is, deep down, I still love her music and was glad I had the chance to learn a bit more about her history.

Those who are very dedicated fans, or were much more involved in the punk scene, and are far more familiar with the atmosphere of that time and place, may not glean anything new from this memoir, but I’m sure the trip down memory lane will be worth your time.

Although I was a little underwhelmed by the book, and I may have made it sound worse than it really was, I’m still glad I read it. There are plenty of interesting, juicy bits of information, lots of sex and drugs, and it was fun to hear Debbie talk about her hair colors and fashion styles over the years. Her work as an actress was far more accomplished than I realized and I enjoyed hearing about her movies, although I don’t think I’ve seen anything she played in. I think Debbie has lived quite a colorful life and deserves her place in music history and as a pop culture icon.

Cruise on!

3 stars
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,809 reviews28.4k followers
January 13, 2020
1.5 to 2 Stars

This was super disappointing on several levels...

First, I feel like there was no Debbie Harry in this book about Debbie Harry. Meaning, there was literally NO emotion. I feel like I never really got to know Debbie Harry at all, having just read an entire book about Debbie Harry, supposedly written by Debbie Harry.

Harry didn't seem to be connected to the the book at all and there was nothing that felt personal or overly interesting in the entirety of the book.

Secondly, the book was more like a list of random facts (which had no bearing or importance in regard to Blondie the band, or Debbie Harry as the face of Blondie) just sprinkled on the page and interspersed with, "and boy was I pretty."

She jumps around and and talks about everything under the sun, but without really making much sense at all. In one scene she talks about how Miles Davis was a patron in a bar she worked out and all she says is that his date spoke for him and she (Harry) didn't understand why they sat him in a table upstairs. Um...okay.

Also, Harry claims to have memories from when she was three months old...side eye...talks about how she had "bedroom eyes" as a veritable toddler and basically couldn't even go outside without being hit on by anyone with pulse, cause, 'boy, was I fucking pretty."

Now, I get it. A lot of Debbie Harry and her success was because of her face. I mean, the book is called FACE IT, for fucks sake. I guess I was just hoping for more than her expanding upon her beauty. I mean, yes, she's beyond gorgeous. But I wanted more than that.

I wanted an emotional biography about one of the coolest bands of that era, with personal details about how they and Debbie Harry herself came to be. What I got was a book with uninteresting random facts that had no bearing on Blondie and a bunch of weird fan art.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,734 followers
June 26, 2020

Your enjoyment of this book will increase with each one of the following criteria you can answer “Yes”:

- You are a fan of Debbie Harry
- You enjoy stories – fiction or non-fiction – set in New York during the tumultuous 60s, 70s, and 80s
- You like punk/new wave music
- You enjoy the music of Blondie
- You enjoy autobiographies – no matter who they are about

If you can answer all of these yes – then this book is a must read. If you can’t answer any of them yes, then there is no reason to even try this one. If you can answer one or some of them yes, you may enjoy this book, but you may find some parts uninteresting.

I enjoyed this a lot because I can answer yes to all of these questions. I was pretty young in the 1980s so I did not get into that scene during its heyday. But, in the 90s, my friends and I were all about late 70s and 80s alternative music. I listened to a lot of Blondie and many of the other acts she talks about in this book. I regret that I never got to see CBGBs or witness the late 70s music scene in New York – even though it sounds like it was not an “if” but a “when” I would have been mugged or beaten up! It is amazing how harrowing and interesting day to day life was for Harry as she spent her formative years in New Jersey and New York City – and she mentions several times that this was before they cleaned it all up.

I can guarantee you that if you read this, you will spend your free time looking for old footage of Harry and Blondie on YouTube. You might download an album or two or ask Alexa to play The Tide Is High. It is a great way to extend the experience of this book beyond the pages.

It sounds like Debbie Harry and Blondie have still been going strong in recent years. She is 74 as I write this review, but maybe she has enough of that old punk energy left that I might get a chance to see her in concert someday.

443 reviews1 follower
October 15, 2019
A true page turner for me. Hard to put it down. I have always been a fan of Blondie and never realized that she was in so many other bands. Quite a fascinating tale from one of rock and roll's living legends.
October 8, 2019
It was ok. She didn’t really put a lot of emotion into it. It was interesting but lacked detail of relationships and how she felt about some of the events. It felt glossed over and lacking detail regarding her relationship breakdown etc however she mentioned she was a private person so that may explain it. The photos in my kindle were too small to see clearly. The artwork people sent her was interesting but took a lot of the book up. A bit of a let down for me.

Profile Image for Leslie Ray.
175 reviews94 followers
May 20, 2020
Deborah Harry starts in recounting her early years in New Jersey and how her adoption shaped her view of her world as evidenced by one of her more poignant reflections, '...everybody was trying to do the best they could for me. But I don't think I was ever truly comfortable. I felt different; I was always trying to fit in.'
She was a huge part of the early 70's punk scene and forged her way in a very male dominated industry. Some may dismiss her obvious femininity but it is actually a homage to her admiration for Marilyn Monroe and the smarts behind her "acting" dumb.
There are a lot of descriptive scenes of New York in the 70's and name dropping of people of whom some I were familiar with but others that I had to look up. She is honest about the drug scene, her use, and the her life, with Chris Stein, and their struggle to make it without abolishing their punk mentality.
She is still going strong today and continues to write new music without just relying on hits from Blondie's past. As she states in the book, people today just want to be famous but in those days it was about making something happen, which she definitely did.
Profile Image for Madeline.
771 reviews47k followers
February 19, 2021
I'm still doing a good job of sticking to my resolution not to read any more rock memoirs written by dudes, but for whatever reason, I still really like reading accounts from the 1970's era of music - so I'm always looking for books written by the women who were around for that era.

And of course when I saw this in the bookstore, I couldn't resist - is there any person on this planet cooler than Debbie Harry? Did "cool" as a concept exist before Debbie Harry? The answer is no, friends. No it did not. (Did anyone else watch the Zoe Kravitz-led reboot of High Fidelity? There's an unexpected Debbie Harry cameo in one of the early episodes and that one brief scene is worth the entire price of admission alone.)

It goes without saying, sadly, that this memoir will NOT teach you how to achieve Debbie Harry-levels of coolness, but we can't expect miracles. All I really wanted, and all I ever want from memoirs like this, is a clear-eyed, no bullshit look at the past while also giving me a good amount of hot gossip.

Unfortunately, as far as rock n' roll memoirs go, Face It is pretty toothless. It follows the familiar celebrity memoir pattern of a) spending a little too much time regaling us with stories from the person's childhood (the only truly interesting thing I gleaned from this, which I was previously unaware of, is that Debbie Harry was adopted) and then b) documenting their rise to fame as something that they casually ambled into, rather than through a combination of hard work and crazy good luck. In fact, if I had to use one word to describe the tone of this memoir, that word would be "breezy" - there's a part where Harry recounts the time a guy broke into the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, robbed them, and then raped her, and based on the way she retells it, it's given about the same amount of emotional weight as a missed bus.

There's no particularly deep insight to be had at any point, although Harry does go into some detail about her songwriting process, and she also had the interesting experience of being the female leader of a rock band - but even then, she doesn't have too much to say about what this was like, aside from the obvious frustrations that come with trying to make it in a male-dominated and unashamedly misogynist industry. The overall vibe this memoir gives off is that of an artist who has been prodded into writing a memoir by her marketing team, and clearly has no interest in laying her soul bare. And of course she's under no obligation to do so, but I do wish that this rock n' roll memoir had, y'know, rocked a little bit more.
Profile Image for Roman Clodia.
2,392 reviews2,375 followers
July 5, 2020
I expected something cool and fierce, instead this is dull and unengaging, told in a rambling monotone. Regardless of whether DH is talking about her house burning down, Blondie splitting up or throwaway waitress jobs, there's no change of pace or tone and only the merest superficiality of detail. A few cameos of Bowie, Warhol and Basquiat add some brief interest but blink and they're over.

If you're a fan, you probably know all this. For those of us who weren't there, this won't make you feel like you were. And what's with the pages and pages of fan art?
Profile Image for Robin.
1,424 reviews36 followers
September 15, 2019
4.5 stars

Although I have fond memories of listening to the music of Blondie and watching the videos of the winsome Debbie Harry prancing in front of the camera, I wasn’t a mega-fan and never followed her career after the break-up of the band. However, that didn’t stop me from anxiously awaiting my early reading copy that promised to be revealing and compelling and I was not disappointed.

I hate coyness in memoirs so I appreciated Debbie letting loose with names along with her honest feelings and opinions of her talent, looks, friends, and past relationships. Not being familiar with the punk music scene of the 1970s (I couldn’t name a Ramones song to save my life), some of the name dropping went over my head but I was captivated by her stories that were heartbreaking (Chris Stein's illness), infuriating (bankruptcy due to ignorance), and hilarious (Penn Jillette’s hot tub invention due to Debbie's rant).

The tone is chatty and personal (it read as if the editor let her have reasonably free rein), and I had to take frequent breaks to locate videos and photos mentioned in the narration. And while Debbie is very candid, there is a feeling some of the really good stuff was omitted which is validated near the conclusion when she admits there are more stories to tell but she is a "private person" and unsure if she'll divulge them at some future date. This reader hopes she does.

(Note: I couldn't comment on the promoted artwork and photos as they weren't part of the advance copy.)

Thanks to the publisher for advance reading copy.
Profile Image for Steven Fisher.
48 reviews34 followers
Want to read
March 15, 2020
1930's Jean Harlow
1940's Betty Grable
1950' Marilyn Monroe an Bridget Badot
1960 Michelle Phillips. Anita Ekberg an Mary Ann Faithful.

When you believed that you have seen them all.

Comes Debbie Harry.

1 review
October 23, 2019
The stories from 1945-1981 are lifted from Making Tracks: The Rise of Blondie a bio published in 1982, which was written by Victor Bockris from interviews with Debbie and Chris Stein. The new stuff 1982-2019 is almost filler with nothing of any substance. Regarding her and Chris, just saying "we split up" is a cop-out. She couldn't bother to mention her participating in a satanic ritual during 2011 (She cut into a life size cake of a nude Debbie Harry and ripped out the heart) -WTF was that all about? I got the audio book and she reads it in a near monotone like she is reading a book about some other person. Very little emotion. Many fan drawings of her face from 1979 Blondie period. Guess she prefers to hide behind that persona than write a true memoir.
Profile Image for Kristy.
787 reviews
October 18, 2019
2.5/meh. Debbie Harry is 74 and I'm sure she's lived a colorful and interesting life, but the only real interesting parts of this seem to be made up

Also, I lost count of how many times she mentions how pretty she is/was. So, here's the deal... she's more than old enough to be my mother but I'm still old enough to have owned at least one album as a kid and one 45 (young people will have to Google that lol) and she was never considered pretty by any means during that time period. Not ugly, just "hard" or "rough". Maybe she was really pretty in the 60s or 70s but, still, who wants to keep reading that?

And if you're going to talk about all the times you've done heroin while heroin use and overdose deaths are on the rise, literally an epidemic, maybe follow up with something like "it was stupid, we were lucky to survive, and I wouldn't recommend doing it these days". Just a thought.
Profile Image for MicheleReader.
680 reviews125 followers
November 7, 2019
An interesting memoir. I enjoy tales of the early days of the New York City punk scene and Blonde certainly had an important role in it. You get a sense of the grittiness of those early days. There are books that chronicle those times better (Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil, Gillian McCain) but hey, it's Debbie Harry - nice to read her perspective of her journey and learn of how some of the band's top hits and records were created. Impressive that she kept so many pieces of fan art which were nice to see.
Profile Image for Bert Z.
601 reviews12 followers
November 24, 2019
Debbie Harry: the most badass and effortlessly cool person to ever exist.

This woman has lived a hell of a crazy life. My favourite kind of memoirs are the kind that feel as though you’re just sitting down with a friend and having them tell you a story, this is that kind of memoir.

A fantastic read from one of the greatest music and film icons of our time!
Profile Image for Stephen.
513 reviews152 followers
October 14, 2019
Well that’s shattered my memories of my early teenage years when I bought Heart of Glass as my first single and thought Debbie Harry was “cold as ice cream but still as sweet” (Sunday Girl).
Profile Image for John.
36 reviews
February 26, 2021
I confess that I am puzzled by some of the Goodreads reviews I have read of this book. Lackluster? Unemotional? Really?! This is a memoir by *Deborah Harry.* There is nothing lackluster about her! Some of us are more expressive than others, and I've always thought (rightly or wrongly) that Ms. Harry had a sly, ironic, even Cheshire Cat-like quality that perhaps is read as "flat affect." But it's all in the arch of her eyebrows, the curl of her smile. The quip. The wry observation. It's subtle. It's sublime.

And, yes, I am a fan.

But a fan who knew very little about Ms. Harry post-1990. And even pre-1990. For example, I did not know about her time in New York on the Downtown Scene. Sure, I knew she came up through the punk era, was there at CBGB's, was mentioned in the same breath as Patti Smith and Tom Verlaine, but I really had no idea how deeply involved she was with the people and places of that lost era--her memories of which certainly made me emotional at times.

And I didn't know as much about her career after Blondie broke up in the early '80s, despite owning copies of KooKoo and Rockbird, despite watching her in concert at Gay Pride in New York in 1990 (at least that's what I recall--she sang "Sweet and Low," I'm fairly certain), and despite seeing and hearing Blondie in concert at the Palace Theater in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, for one of my birthday celebrations in the early 2010s. (Debbie, the gods bless her, actually smiled for the camera when I tried to take her picture!) There have been movies, plays, and TV shows; recordings with the Jazz Passengers; the showcase at the Carlyle (for which I would have moved heaven, earth, and Delta Airlines to have been in the audience); the activism; the friendships.

And while reading this book, I couldn't believe that it's already been 20+ years since Blondie regrouped in the late 1990s and recorded the album No Exit (an album that now appears to be out of print). Time flies when you're sleepwalking through life in pointless meetings and unsatisfying relationships. (Thankfully, one of those scenarios has changed over the years. Hint: It's not the pointless meetings.)

There is certainly more that I want to know--more details about Parallel Lines and Eat to the Beat, Blondie's two best albums (in my opinion) from the Early Era; more details about the transition from Eat to the Beat to AutoAmerican, which seems drastic even now, although it was probably something completely normal in the evolution of the band; more of her thoughts on the reaction to KooKoo, which even now seems mixed, despite it being something of a quirky, musical milestone in pop history. More, perhaps, about what she likes to read and listen to and whether she still paints. And some pics of her dogs would not be amiss.

It may be the case, as Harry notes, that some of the Early Era was a blur because the band was so busy. It may be the case, as Harry notes, that this would be a better memoir if she'd kept a journal over the years.

Nevertheless, I was enchanted by her girlhood in New Jersey and somehow making the decision after high school to become an artist (of a genre to be determined) in New York in the 1960s--and, despite all odds, actually accomplishing it. I felt moved by her losses over the years and about her coming to terms with childhood trauma. I was entertained by her storytelling and (sorry, Debs!) her inherent nerdiness (comics and the space program, oh my), something you would never think possible in the life of an Icon of Cool like Debbie Harry. I felt pride in her inherent, unapologetic Americanness, a quality as post-modern Americans we dismiss too easily.

So if you found this book "unemotional" or "lackluster," I don't know what to tell you. I rarely give a book 5 stars, and the rational being in me might not award this one with that many. But my emotional self values this book and Debbie Harry's revelations more than 4 stars, maybe even more than 5 stars.

Maybe you had to be there--and I really wasn't, as I was marooned in Mayberry in the '70s and early '80s. Maybe you had to want to be there, which I most certainly did but didn't know how to. So this memoir is one way to get a taste for an era I lived through and yet still somehow don't know very well at all. As a result, I'm grateful to Debbie Harry for sharing her life stories with us.
Profile Image for Diana.
141 reviews39 followers
December 19, 2019
I always liked Debbie Harry.

But now I LOVE Debbie Harry!

She's so honest and forthright. This book is like listening to someone as they sit and tell you spontaneously about their life. And I really love her voice: she's so in-the-moment. I love the sense of momentum she imparts, you get the feeling she's constantly in motion. Whatever setbacks she encounters--whether it be an abusive stalker boyfriend who could've killed her (and who inspired One Way or Another!) or a violent attack by a robber in NYC--she keeps moving forward. She doesn't let the bad things that happen to her define her. She is the quintessential artist: sublimely creative, yet self-conscious and insecure at times, but determined to GO FOR IT because she simply has no choice: she must perform, write, create, sing, act, express herself--because, for the artist, to create is to breathe, and the non-creative life is death.

She also has a bit of an ego, and I love that. Good artists must have a strong ego in order to see their creative vision to fruition.
613 reviews
October 14, 2019
Sorry, I got to Debbie at age 4 and couldn’t any more. The audiobook read by the author is painfully dull. I wish an editor had told Debbie that an autobiography does not have to be laid out linearly. It’s OK to swirl, and swoop back. It’s OK to start somewhere far more interesting than her life as a beloved child living in the middle of nowhere. And it is never OK to minimize pedophilia, even if the exposure did not traumatize you. And, when writing an autobiography, it is never OK to be so utterly boring. Pass.
Profile Image for Michael Ritchie.
502 reviews9 followers
November 4, 2019
Disappointing. The most interesting part of the book is the first third in which Harry talks about her pre-Blondie days. But once she hits the mid-70s, her examination of her life becomes very surface. She says almost nothing about the writing or production of her music, and she seems reticent to talk about big events like the dissolution of the group and the break-up of her relationship with Chris Stein. It does seem like every apartment she ever lived in caught on fire. Not essential reading (and I'm a big Blondie/Debbie fan musically).
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,693 reviews280 followers
December 22, 2019
interesting biography via interviews to the ghost writer but nothing to go wow about its okay better than some musical bios about felt could of gone into more depth
Profile Image for Phil.
1,541 reviews87 followers
September 16, 2020
I had major high hopes for this one, but alas, I barely managed to finish it. I was/am a Blondie fan, and really loved them back in the late 70s and early 80s. I am not sure what I was hoping for here, but this was not it.

Debbie Harry takes us on a journey from her childhood through today, but rarely have I ever read a memoir that had less soul; in fact, Harry comes off as something of an empty sociopath here, completely lacking in any emotional aspect. We start off with her childhood in New Jersey and her wanting to make it in NYC as, basically, anything. We get a superficial account of her childhood and her adopted family and then move to NYC in the late 60s. Lots of name dropping, but very little of what anything really meant to her. I am sure someone has written a great account of CBGBs in its heyday, but you will not find it her.

PROS: nice edition, and a fair amount of photos.
CONS: just about everything else. Probably 1/4 of the book consists of 'fan art' of Debbie, most of it without any context.

The only reason this is 2 stars instead of 1 is that I liked Blondie.
Profile Image for Nova.
9 reviews1 follower
November 2, 2019
A weirdly tone-deaf memoir with a ton of mixed messages. Debbie spends a lot of time detailing instances where she was harassed, assaulted, or generally treated poorly by sexist men but then ends the bio by saying she "could never put [herself] in the position of whining about being a woman" because sexism played little part in her struggles.

When talking about harassment she encountered (David Bowie exposing himself in dressing rooms, a band member staring at her chest while speaking to her, producers making a semi-nude picture of her into an ad without her consent, etc.), she refers to these incidents as "flattering", "sexy", and "adorable".

While Debbie's experiences are obviously her own and she should be able to be truthful about her feelings, it's still an odd choice in the current climate to double down on the idea that just going along with sexism and using your looks to your advantage is the best way to "win" in the music industry.

Add to that the stilted, rambling writing and the lack of any real detail or emotion in the stories that she tells... I had just really hoped that this one would be better.
Profile Image for Ian.
131 reviews
October 25, 2019
I really wanted something juicy with all kinds of crazy punk 70's NYC shit and this was a major let down. It's PG-13 and in many cases, you’re trying to read between the details of what really happened. The tone was watered down and not at all convincing. The linear structure (we did this and then this and then this...) is almost a powerpoint presentation but with no style or getting to any real story. Harry seems like she's holding back and trying to skate around some major events and not really telling the reader what the heck she really felt/thought at the time (or even now in hindsight).

I expected more blunt truth rather than a safe zone around the rocky stuff. It was in those jaggy crevices that the reader wants to go but she just skims along not even giving us a glance.
Profile Image for Caroline.
6 reviews2 followers
October 26, 2019
Loved hearing the story of a female artist finding her voice. A large portion of the book covers the late 60s and 70s in NYC, which is always a draw for me. Lots of names, places, and people are mentioned rounding out the picture of the NYC punk scene. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Andrea.
910 reviews70 followers
December 11, 2019
I was utterly charmed by this memoir. Debbie read the audiobook herself and it came off as slightly stilted but it was worth it to hear her periodic hearty interjections of, “Hah!” I like Blondie but I’m not a super fan by any stretch. I loved hearing Debbie’s stories of New York in the 70’s and beyond. I definitely recommend the audiobook.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 13 books121 followers
October 18, 2019
I received a copy of 'Face It' at an Oct. 3 panel discussion with Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and interviewer Rob Roth, who co-designed the book. The event, held at San Francisco's Jewish Community Center, was sold out, and a hoot. Harry and Stein told some of the episodes of their lives together that are also featured in the book. The design of it is nice, with thick pages, some black pages with white text in interspersed sections with color fan art portraits of Ms. Harry. For more photos, Stein's own book has more.

Harry's memoir is divided into many chapters; each read like transcribed interviews, because they are. But some sections read as if Harry wrote them down (including the amusing 'thumb'-themed afterword). She discusses her childhood, early years in New York City, the near-chance meetings that led her to form a few bands that led to Blondie. Their early struggling years, and rock and punk and art world friends are a Who's Who of Andy Warhol's 'Interview' and the Bowery/East Village scene, CBGB's in particular.

Their ensuing fame, success despite managerial problems, record corporation resistance, and financial ruin and break-ups, then reunions, are told in a personal way. Yes, Harry glides over some darker days (drugs, assaults and near-death experiences), but counters them with the simple joy of collaborating with the likes H.R. Giger, touring with David Bowie and Iggy Pop, and enduring the trials of fame. The details of some song ideas are mentioned, but not much is shared about how songs were created. Exceptions are the click track for 'Heart of Glass,' Fab 5 Freddy's influence on 'Rapture,' and Georgio Moroder's initial version of 'Call Me.'

What I didn't know, despite seeing her in person at a 1990 Gay Pride rally in New York City, was how close Harry and Stein were (and are) to many LGBT friends and colleagues. Even as a teenager, listening to 'Parallel Lines' over and over in a college dorm room, I got an inkling of their cool metropolitan savvy, and an odd 'queer' vibe from them (none of the band members are, though). I also liked how Harry deconstructs the image and persona of 'Blondie' as a character, and compares that with her later work in films. She's one tough woman, and a rock icon. I'm happy that she got to tell her story her way.

Of course, I've since been listening to and watching Blondie concerts on YouTube for days afterward.
Profile Image for Lisastrawberry.
88 reviews
January 20, 2020
Really enjoyed this autoAmericanbiography! (See what I did there?) It's reconstructed from a series of interviews she did to reconstruct her memories, so it's a bit jangly and jumpy, but not overly so. She name drops constantly, so I had to just let that go, and focus on her descriptions of her feelings and the sensory details she would give to conjure 70's New York and beyond. She pays a beautiful tribute to her longtime partner (and former bf) Chris Stein. It's rare that someone can reveal the flaws in a relationship without being bitter or completely self oriented. Her tribute to Bowie at the end is lovely, as she recorded one of her most recent albums in the same studio where he recorded The Next Day and Blackstar. And she's doing her part to save the world by keeping bees!
Profile Image for Nestor Rychtyckyj.
161 reviews3 followers
May 28, 2020
The CBGB’s alumni list is very impressive considering the overall size and squalor of both the bar and its neighborhood. I was lucky enough to visit “ground zero” for American punk a little past its heyday but before it became almost a tourist destination. By the time I went there Patti Smith, the Ramones, the Talking Heads and Blondie had moved far away from this tiny stage. Of all these illustrious bands Blondie has had the most commercial success and is still making new relevant music decades later. For many people Debbie Harry is Blondie and his is her story.

Blondie was always a different type of band – their look and attitude screamed at you from every album cover. They were never as loud and fast as the Ramones or as influential as Patti Smith, but their music was irresistible. Early in the book, Debbie talks about the difficulties that Blondie had in getting a record deal. Seymour Stein from Sire Records had seen Blondie dozens of times, but didn’t consider them for Sire. In his memoir, he confesses that he didn’t think Blondie could write good songs. Of course, within a few years Blondie had become a veritable powerhouse of hit songs that topped the charts around the world.

Debbie doesn’t spend a ton of time here in discussing their quick rise to the top. She describes the albums and songwriting, but doesn’t spend much time talking about the other members of the band with the obvious exception of Chris Stein. In fact, she takes a very consistent approach in describing her career and spends as much time as on her solo records and movies as she did on her time in Blondie. She’s also pretty reserved about her personal life – she doesn’t go into any detail about her breakup with Chris Stein and doesn’t talk much about who may have replaced him.
She was and is one of the most recognizable stars in the world and makes no apologies about taking advantage of her looks throughout her career. She also doesn’t spend a lot of time complaining about the “boy’s club” mentality of the music business, but her determination and drive show clearly throughout the book. She knew exactly what she wanted to do and she worked really hard to accomplish her goals. To me – that is the underlying secret of Debbie Harry and her success.

On occasion she would go completely off-topic just to break up the thread of “this is my life” which I mostly found pretty enjoyable. The book also contains a lot of great pictures (not surprisingly) and artwork of her that was created by fans who send it in to Debbie. I was always of fan of Blondie (OK – I hate “Heart of Glass”) and this book shows that Debbie is a lot more than a singer in a rock & roll band. As she proudly says - “I’m still a NY punk”.
Profile Image for Leslie Carnahan.
247 reviews2 followers
August 31, 2021
Well...I listened to this book...and for once I wish I would have actually read it instead. Love you Debbie. I really do. But oof. This was so hard to listen to. The cadence was off. The book was all over the place too. Stories from different years and decades plopped here and there. The timeline ventured off a lot. That being said - I did enjoy the stories that Debbie shared. It was really cool to hear about those days and all the people she worked with. That's why it's at least a 3 star. This book would have been so much better if it was edited together better. And if Debbie had some reading coaching (if she insisted on reading her own book). Still love Debbie. Still and will always love her music. But this is a one and done book for me for sure. ✌️
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