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Tori Amos: Piece by Piece

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,038 ratings  ·  184 reviews
I choose to fight my battles through my music . . . I was born a feminist. And then at age five, when my strict Christian grandmother punished me, I realized, I’m not penetrating here. I’m just pissing people off. So I had to find another way to penetrate. I had to redefine what that word means. That word now is really about an opening, an entering into a separate space. A ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 8th 2005 by Broadway
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,038 ratings  ·  184 reviews


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Lizzie
Man, what a pain! This is a tough call. I'll go with the 2 stars and call it even, I guess.

Unfortunately, I feel like I need to talk about my Tori feelings first. Curse it!



Before reading this, I correctly worried I would find it all so annoying that I'd be sad. But I picked it up because I conducted an experiment where I re-listened to every Tori song that I've had since high school, which I can't say is every song? But is a few hundred. I just shuffled them around for days. I wasn't allowed to
...more
Christina Bouwens
Remarkable study/autobiography of a remarkable musician/woman. Wickedly dark humor throughout, and a razor-sharp intelligence. No doubt other Tori fans saw this coming, but I often found myself struck with how many life threads and literary commonalities between the woman and her fans (namely, this one). I always knew she writes somewhat autobiographically in her songs, but I had no idea of how much she borrows from other people's lives as muse, and the way in which she writes about her close fr ...more
Ruth
Aug 25, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Tori Amos when I was in high school, but this book was hard to take. In fact, I can't even remember if I finished it. It was almost like reading an unedited, disorganized, self-obssessed diary -- and not a well-written diary at that. I was looking forward to the promised insights into what her songs are about, but she only discussed her most recent work (which I'm not as into). ...more
Andrew
Sep 11, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just like Tori herself - slightly wacko, slightly kooky. There I said it - "kooky".

So sue me.
...more
Alex
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I love Tori's music. Generally speaking, I love her mind. She's a bit.. out of the ordinary sometimes, but generally I can appreciate and enjoy that. So I went into this with expecting to fall in love.

Straight away, I was put off. In the introduction, there are some interesting glimpses about Tori's approach to songwriting - how she is a vessel for songs - and her outlook on performance and 'the artist'. But then there's also passages like...

"I was born a feminist. And then at age five, when my
...more
Nicole
Sep 26, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one!
This might be the worst book I've ever read. The only reason I even gave it ANY stars is because Tori Amos co-wrote it, and I think maybe it wasn't her but her co-writer who can't put a sentence together worth reading. Anyone who knows me, even a little bit, knows how obsessed, and I mean OBSESSED, with Tori Amos I am. I have pictures of her. I have her autograph framed and hidden in the back of my closet. It's my special secret. I don't want just anyone knowing I have such high regard for someo ...more
Swankivy
Aug 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tori Amos's biography, written with the help of Ann Powers, a rock journalist. I really enjoyed hearing about her journey and most of all her experience being an artist, how she thinks about her music and herself. Recommended! ...more
Renee CHAMPION
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very descriptive look inside the mind of Tori Amos and the way she creates her songs. A must read for music lovers and lovers of biography
Liz
Had read excerpts from this before that left my head spinning, but had never actually sat down to read the whole thing cover to cover.

Tori.... you definitely lost me a couple of times, and all the context on your Gnostic Gospels research didn't really give me the ganas to go back and listen to "The Beekeeper" (I am ride-or-die for American Doll Posse tho), and I have still not recovered from the disbelieving shock of being 19 years old and reading the printed-out lyrics for "Beekeeper" songs exc
...more
Jason Hicks
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tori Amos is my most favorite singer/songwriter ever, meaning that no matter what this book was I could not be disappointed by it for the fact that Piece by Piece didn't have to exist. But it does. It's completely supplemental to my obsession with her music.

My actual rating is 4.5 stars, not 5. Here's why. Ann Powers' interjections feel unnecessary to me. In my opinion, they exist only to rehash everything Tori has just said in an attempt to keep casual readers hooked. I don't think there's too
...more
Byurakn
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a feminist and as someone who admires Tori Amos's music, this book was an important read for me. It tells the story of how Tori Amos became who she is, how she approaches creativity in general and in music in particular and her struggles in the music industry. I especially liked the chapter where she breaks down the details of how the music industry works and informs the reader what the artists actually go through and how the record labels behave. It's essential knowledge for any music fan. ...more
Julie Decker
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't your usual biography.

Oh sure, it covers the gritty truths of Tori's life: Miscarriages, rape, alienation, disillusionment. And yes, it yields the highlights: Her marriage, her daughter's birth, her musical success. But more than anything, this book records not the life of Tori Amos itself, but the *experience* of being Tori. Of being an artist.

It's not organized in a necessarily coherent way. It seems to flip-flop around a lot in time, so much so that when her more recent career is th
...more
Laura
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
Well I got through this, but only just. I'm actually not sure why I pushed through it instead of giving up when it started to drag for me. I'm glad I did because I actually found the last two chapters (on public vs private self and then the music industry in general) to be the most interesting. They are, in fact, what saved the book from a two-star rating from me. Don't get me wrong, Amos is an interesting person in her own right. I appreciated reading about her creative process and am impressed ...more
Michael
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you’ve ever watched an interview with Tori Amos, specifically around the Beekeeper era in which this autobiography was published, there are times when what she’s saying makes absolutely no god damn sense but you also know comes from this vast, endless well of knowledge within her that us mere mortals could never fully comprehend. Keeping that in mind, you have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into with this autobiography. And yes, I say all of this with my stan card waving passionately ...more
Josh
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Piece by Piece by Tori Amos for the same reason that I love her music. It is created for the intelligent, engaged and judicious consumer. Tori and Ann assume that the reader has a love and appreciation for language, mythos, psychology, composition, feminism, etc. Part biography, part treatise on psyco-spiritual compositional methods, and part dissection of mythological archetypes, this book carries the same synthesis of ingredients that make Tori’s music so transcendental.

Most of the ne
...more
Tanya
Dec 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tanya by: Holly
I've gone from owning a couple of her CD's over the years to becoming more intrigued of her creative process. Thanks to a dear friend for sharing her box set I have become a routine listener. After reading Tori's book and engrossing myself in her music I think she may have just singlehandedly knocked out all of my top favorite live performers. This woman was born to create music and relay messages from a spiritual realm. Yes, her music is that deep, that moving and some may even say that disturb ...more
Popular Soda
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Tori Amos, and I like reading Tori's words. You expect her to be a little off, a little weird, and a little vague, and that's okay because for her, it works. But for some reason, Ann Powers, the journalist co-author, comes off like she's trying to out-Tori Tori. I don't expect Powers to be overly critical, but I wasn't ready for this level of wannabe asskissery.

It's brilliant when Amos is talking about herself, her personal development, and her life in the business. If you're familiar wi
...more
Abby
I love Tori Amos' music and have for years. I have nmet her and found her very inspiring and lovely. She is a bit odd though.

This is a great biography and it is clear that she finds inspriration in many well researced places. However, she goes off on a lot of tangents and some of them are hard to follow.

It is nice to see a full picture with interviews with many people in her life. I also liked the biographies of some of her best known songs.

A good read for fans but a little much for the everyday
...more
carrie
Mar 22, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-reads
I used this book extensively when I started my own book project this past summer. It's exhaustive. She wrote it with Ann Powers, one of my favorite cultural critics, and it's a candid look at her life as it influences her musical process. As you might expect there are many kooky discussions of mystics, Mary Magdalene, and goddesses. You get a really good sense of Tori as a person through this book. ...more
Mauoijenn
A very interesting look into a singer/song writers life.
I have enjoyed some of her music and found this book to be a glimpse of what her life is like. She comes off to me as kind of odd, but then aren't we all?!
...more
Jessica
Dec 18, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: unquestioning fans
I looooove Tori's music; apparently, I hate her writing.

So out there, so nonsensical... interesting concept for a book (talk about how myth inspires music) but so poorly executed.
...more
Brenna
Mar 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What the fuck even is this? A book of people (especially Ann!) who just want to confess how amazing Tori Amos is and how in love with her they are? This whole thing is narcissistic and gross lol
Mel
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm being kind with the second star here. I'm also the biggest Tori Ellen fan, but only of her music. I find her personality in interviews very flaky at times and her stories in this book so dippy as to be incomprehensible. I bought this when it came out and just finished rereading. It was painful. It's interesting to me that many people are blaming Ann Powers for the book's failure. I don't care for her either but much of the book was directly quoted from Tori and the content is a lot of the pr ...more
Beth Harper
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was inspired to read this book after reading her more recent book, Resistance, which I thought was phenomenal!! This however was a very different book. I’ve loved Tori for years and years and years and reading this changed my perception of her both negatively and positively.

Positively—Tori once again exhibits that she is an insanely hard worker and puts a ton of thought and research into her songs and is a master of her craft. I loved the insights into the music business and the business of to
...more
Fancy
Apr 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
Damnit, Tori. I had such high hopes for you.

I gave this book a second chance, thinking I had failed to grasp its brilliance when I first read it a decade and a half ago. I was correct in my initial assertions - this book sucks. It seems as though our beloved singer has no talent for writing a cohesive memoir, often losing track of her thoughts from one paragraph to the next. (Think of a distracted woman who keeps losing the thread of her story. Now, multiply that by like 9 chapters.) This book h
...more
Kae
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Tori Amos is a song-writer, not a book-writer. The editor, Ann Power, failed at her job in this project. She should have taken the subject's stories and formatted them into something a bit more readable. This book is kind of all over the place and sometimes doesn't make much sense. These are things ghostwriters and editors are responsible for.

However, if you've ever gotten lost in her music, taken the time to sincerely contemplate her lyrics or read/heard any kind of interview with Torj, you rea
...more
Lisa
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a difficult book for me to rate. On the one hand, this book inspired me like nothing has in a long time. Tori's creative process and the way she approaches the world both fascinated and inspired me. I've been struggling with my own creativity for a long time and reading this book was exactly what I needed right now. My issue, however, lies in the editing and the way this book was put together. I am very glad I read this book, especially considering I am deeply familiar with the music ref ...more
Jean-François Tremblay
I’ve never been a fan of Amos, but I always respected the artist. I picked up this book for no particular reason. My girlfriend is one of Amos’s biggest fans, and she had this book for many, many years. I love books about musicians and artists, so I said to myself « Why not? ».

And I loved it. I discovered an artist so fascinating, so brillant. Now I just want to go through my girlfriend’s collection of Tori Amos CDs.

This book can be difficult to get into, and I understand the many negative revi
...more
Christopher Allen
Mar 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was kind of slow to get started, but I really enjoyed reading about Tori's early life and how her career got started. The struggles she went through and how she got through them was quite amazing. She is a great artist, and she writes eloquently and thoughtfully. Towards the end of the book she talks a lot about the business aspect/side of the music industry. Based on what she says, it sounds like a very grueling business to be a part of and you have to be so careful/aware of all the th ...more
Livian Grey
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this with the Beekeeper years ago and I remember loving learning about the mythologies that were a part of Tori's life. I didn't realise this book wasn't loved by everyone. I didn't find it achingly pretentious or egotistical. I thought some of her stories of her pregnancy were harrowing and worth being read to a wider public who have no idea what the music industry does to pregnant women (Sinead O'Connor and Halsey have their own horror stories). This was a more interesting way of deta ...more
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233 followers
Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos) is an American pianist and singer-songwriter. She is married to English sound engineer Mark Hawley. Together they have one child, Natashya "Tash" Lórien Hawley, born on September 5, 2000.

Amos was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few pop performers to use a piano as her
...more

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