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Composed: A Memoir

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,709 ratings  ·  320 reviews
A candid and moving memoir from the critically acclaimed singer and songwriter For thirty years as a musician, Rosanne Cash has enjoyed both critical and commercial success, releasing a series of albums that are as notable for their lyrical intelligence as for their musical excellence. Now, in her memoir, Cash writes compellingly about her upbringing in Southern California ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Viking (first published April 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's a hard road but it fits your shoes.
--50,000 Watts

Fans of Rosanne Cash know she's been writing her memoir for decades... through her songs.
The pain, the joy, the love and the heartbreak - stories of a life. laid out for your musical enjoyment.

But, this is the "official" version, the one for you to read instead of listen to... Cash writes quite candidly about her relationship with her famous father, the importance of family, and her struggles with balancing her career and motherhood, Many
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I grew up listening to the different songs by Johnny Cash on the radio and TV. His eldest daughter Rosanne carried on his legacy as a musician, forging her own impressive body of work. She has written a candid, penetrating, and, at times, wryly humorous memoir. I like how sincere, compassionate, and proud she feels about her family and friends. She talks a lot about her famous dad and shares her thoughts on him. All in all, it's a delight to read.
Gary Anderson
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the most moving concert experiences I've ever witnessed was from Rosanne Cash. This was toward the end of her Black Cadillac tour. She'd done a great set, including some of her hits and some of the songs that later became The List. The audience was clearly with her. She came out for the encore seeming like she'd enjoyed herself. As she prepared to go into her last song, someone yelled out "I Still Miss Someone, Rosanne." She said, "Yeah?", turned to her husband John on piano and asked, ...more
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have yet to call myself a fan of Rosanne Cash's music. She is a great songwriter, but not a lyricist of the quality of, say, Suzanne Vega, who I think possesses some of my devotion that I could have diverted to Cash. Now, Cash has finally won me over, because while her lyrics might not have Vega's poetic flexibility, her prose writing is solid and evocative. For example, her explanation of the analog recording process is fascinating and enlightening without seeming technical, although she did ...more
Pris robichaud
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"I'll send the angels to watch over you tonight/And you send them right back to
me./A lonely road is a bodyguard/If you really want it to be."
song: 'Sleeping In Paris' from the album 'The Wheel'.

Rosanne Cash, it seems has been writing forever. The above song was written after the demise of her first marriage. She remembers as a school child writing a sentence and feeling the extraordinary power of words. What she has given us in her memoir is a lifetime of writing that is, indeed, so
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
I had never heard of Rosanne Cash, and certainly had no idea she was remotely famous as a musician; my in-house librarian just brought it home thinking my fondness for Johnny Cash might spill over to her life and this book. I did enjoy learning a bit more about Johnny and his family. (With apologies to Rosanne, I'm afraid I didn't stay all that interested in *her* life, which is her cross to bear, I suppose.) For the first 75 pages or so I had no idea why anyone was reading this book and ...more
Kerry Dunn
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Gee, I'm really not sure how I feel about this book. It's a memoir but she never seems to delve deep enough into her own life. It all feels like surface. Impressions. Feelings. There are big ideas here about art and grief and living an independent life, but it just never connected for me. The part of the book I enjoyed the most was her eulogy to June Carter Cash. That was truly beautiful and touching. Near the end when she writes about her traumatic brain surgery I was disappointed in her ...more
Rene Saller
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a wonderful memoir--intimate without seeming exhibitionistic, well-written but not in a preeningly "poetic" way, perceptive, compassionate, and wise. I read Cash's collection of short stories several years ago and thought it was excellent; this memoir is even better. If I have to quibble, I'll note that there were times when the unpredictable, possibly intuitive arrangement of the material became needlessly confusing. (I don't know why, but there's some kind of new rule in publishing ...more
Had it not been for Cash appearing on the On Being podcast and showing herself not only to be intelligent, articulate and thoughtful, but also a bit of a geek, I would probably never have checked out this book. Bios and memoirs of musicians or actors (or, really, anyone still alive) just isn't my thing. I like her music well enough, but the interview with On Being downplayed the "famous family" angle and played up the angle of someone who is curious about everything from Jung to quantum physics ...more
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, music
Lovely little memoir from one of my most beloved country musicians-- though I hasten to add that you don't particularly have to enjoy, or even know, Cash's music to be charmed by this book. Actually, those looking for behind-the-scenes discussions of the recordings themselves are those most likely to be disappointed; Cash talks just a bit about the conditions surrounding some of here albums, perhaps more than a bit about the three biggies (King's Record Shop, Interiors, Black Cadillac), but ...more
Anne Jordan-Baker
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is probably the most interesting autobiography I've read, full of strange and fascinating language. I am in love with the paragraph that starts with, "If Magritte had painted my childhood...." A very interesting way to sum up her most memorable childhood images. Brilliant and breathtaking.
Scott  Hitchcock
Parts were interesting but overall it was very dry and hopped all over the place with a rambling style.
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
It's not surprising that Rosanne Cash is a good writer. As a musician, composer and lyricist, she has honed these skills nearly all of her life. And, it didn't hurt that she's got some pretty powerful genes coming from, not only her famous father, but also her less well-known mother. Ms. Cash's ability to relate family and relationship dynamics is paramount in this book. And she does it without judgement, but rather as a seasoned observer. Both the dysfunctional and the exemplary models are ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was planning on giving this book 3 stars until I got to page 224 and read this: "I adamantly refuse to join any community that identifies itself by an illness. This idea of becoming a spokesperson for this condition, which I was asked to do before the staples were even out of my head, was appalling to me, and entirely against my nature and sense of privacy - I was not inclined to trade publicly on anything related to my health or body, even, unfortunately in the service of others who suffer ...more
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I saw the movie "Walk the Line", but the film did not portray the rich and wonderful relationship Johnny Cash had with his oldest daughter that comes through in this book. Johnny Cash is constantly there for her, as a father, mentor and friend.

2010 seems to have been the year of the singer memoir. Of ones by women that I've read "Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir", "Lips Unsealed: A Memoir", "Just Kids" and now "Composed", the life stories are very different. While Smith's book is

“Loss is the great unifier, the terrible club to which we all eventually belong.” ― Rosanne Cash, Composed: A Memoir

There’s an awful lot about loss in this book, COMPOSED: A Memoir, by Rosanne Cash. In fact, her eulogy of her step-mom, June Carter Cash, was the most interesting, one of the most poignant passages of her tale.

It is amazing all the things that happen to people in the course of a lifetime. Some uplifting, some tragic. On balance it would seem that Rosanne Cash
Oct 20, 2010 rated it liked it
I'm not entirely sure what I expected from Composed, but I picked it up with a vague idea in mind of learning more about Johnny & June Carter Cash from the perspective of one of their children. I was wrong, and I was pleasantly surprised. Composed primarily tells the story of her professional development, as it was affected by her childhood, adolescence, and her non-professional adult life. While it contains some wonderful notes about her parents & stepparents, it is first and foremost a ...more
Bonnie G.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Not a lot to say about Cash's book. I am a fan of her music, and that of the Rodney Crowell. Johnny Cash, and to a lesser extent the Carter Family. It's an interesting road Cash has taken, and I was pleased to hear about her formative experiences as a musician, and about the dynamic of this well known family. I somehow came away from this wanting more information about all of it. Her family, her time in England, her marriage to Crowell. Though she is very up front about what happened in her ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Having just finished Rodney Crowell's Chinaberry Sidewalks, reading the memoir of his former wife seemed fitting. They were both very respectful of each other. Neither book is a trashy "tell-all" meant for the National Enquirer's readership.

While I connected with Crowell's book culturally, I read Cash's book with the enthusiasm of one who's found a new friend who "gets it." Cash's Nashville pedigree provides her with amazing experiences, but its her introspection and sojourner's spirit that
Scottsdale Public Library
A beautifully written memoir by Rosanne Cash, the famous singer and daughter of Johnny Cash, that covers everything from her parents painful split when she was a child, to touring with her father and launching her own career as a young adult, to living in New York on 9/11 and her recent brain surgery. Lush with stories and sneek peeks into the lives of the Cash and Carter families and other Country greats this is a must read for music lovers!

-Lindsey D.-

Oct 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Cash is likeable and a great storyteller. I enjoyed getting to know more about her and her friends and family. She's very upfront about her family's history of substance abuse, and she writes about heartbreak and pain very beautifully.

I felt that she treaded too lightly over her divorce from Rodney Crowell - she details the hurt she felt, but never explains why. In general, there were other relationships that I wanted to hear more about (like with her step-family and June Carter). Also, the book
Erika Marks
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
A lovingly and beautifully written memoir, understated and powerful, Ms. Cash shares, and often with aching honesty, pieces of her life and her passions. She reserves falling into tabloid confessions in private matters, which only serves to give more power to the sections of the book that address the intimacies of her music and her sometimes challenging, but always tender, relationship with her father. There are frequent distillations of her songs and how she came to shape the lyrics, which is ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: entertainment
Rosanne Cash's interview on Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast is what led me to Composed. I had never been particularly interested in Rosanne or her dad (although, years ago, I was riveted by the movie, Walk the Line), but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I recommend listening to the audiobook so you can hear Rosanne's memoir in her own voice, occasionally accompanied by original music from her husband, John Leventhal. Beautiful.
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Found this book at a used book sale. Since I'm a fan of country music and always enjoyed listening to her father's music, it was a safe buy.

Nothing special, but I enjoyed the book and the little inside stories about the Cash family.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
A view into a family from poor origins dealing with fame through two generations. Roseanne's unique way of coping with growing up in the shadow of her father and stepmother is not a linear path. Her persistence and honesty are admirable Maybe TMI at times.
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-biography
Rosanne Cash is a wonderful writer. Enjoyed this book very much. It’s not a linear account, but wanders around a bit. Terrific anecdotes. It’s interesting to read how different a creative, artistic person reacts to life. 9/10.
I love reading this lyrical book by a favorite author of great songs.
Highly recommended!
Janet C.
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Janet C. by: n/a
I really don't know why but I was disappointed in this book. It just didn't appeal to me but I did finish it.
Well Read Southerner Blog
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recently I listened to the Garden & Gun magazine podcastWhole Hog. It was episode 3 of season 2 and was entitled "Rosanne Cash's Arrow to the South" andhost John Huey speaks with Cash about storytelling; the influence of her father, Johnny Cash; speaking up politically; and the ability of songs to mean something different to each listener. They also discussed her memoir, Composed, so I checked it out at the library.

I'm a faithful listener of this podcast. Frankly, I could listen to John
Valerie J K
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Last month I was driving when Cash's song Seven Year Ache came on the radio. I remembered the powerful song well from childhood but hadn't heard it in years. I went home and listened to a number of her songs and read about her life, which led me to her memoir. The audiobook is narrated by Cash herself, which I loved. She is well known as Johnny Cash's daughter and has achieved success in her own right with a beautiful voice, eleven #1 singles, fourteen albums recorded from 1978-2018, 4 grammy ...more
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Roseanne Cash is a four time Grammy award winning American singer-songwriter and author. She is the eldest daughter of country music icon Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto.

Cash married country music singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell in 1979. They have three daughters: Caitlin, Chelsea and Carrie. They divorced in 1992. She married her second husband, John Leventhal, in 1995, and they
“For me, art is a more trustworthy expression of God than religion.” 5 likes
“Loss is the great unifier, the terrible club to which we all eventually belong.” 4 likes
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