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Born to Run
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Archives 2016-2017 > Born to Run/Springsteen - 3 stars

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Anita Pomerantz | 6437 comments Bruce Springsteen fans ought to love this book, but be forewarned, it really is an autobiography and not a memoir. It tells the story of a life. It doesn't really reveal the life. Springsteen starts at the beginning and tells his story without missing a single detail. When I use the word "tells", I mean it. He recites what happened to him. He really doesn't use many specific anecdotes or bring his stories to life for the reader. But if you want to know what happened, the book does a great job on that front. He also sometimes uses lyrical or poetic language that I found enjoyable to read and hearkens to his songwriting roots.

For me to really love this book, I needed to care more. If I was a huge fan, I'm sure I would have. If he had told his story with more emotion, I might have. But, neither was the case. Combine that with the tremendous amount of detail about the actual creation of the music and the tours, I just felt as though it was more of a chore than a pleasure to read.

The most interesting parts, from my perspective, were the decisions he had to make regarding band members and how to lead the band. Early on, he positioned himself as the sole decision maker and the final voice on creative and business matters. It is fascinating how any organization, no matter how small, must struggle with personnel decisions and personalities. The relationship with his father was probably where Springsteen was the most frank and how he dealt with the ups and downs of that relationship was also interesting to read.

All in all though, I really didn't like this book more than 3 stars. This is what happens when you read an autobiography for a book club. I think that most people who care enough to pick up the book in the first place will be quite delighted.


message 2: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments I was going to ask you what interested you in the book if you weren't a big fan. Book club! That clears it up.


Ladyslott | 1880 comments Respectfully disagree. 5 stars for me. I'm on vacation so no time for review writing, but will post when I get back.


Anita Pomerantz | 6437 comments Glad you are loving it, Linda. our book club was 50/50. Three of us felt the same and the others LOVED it.


message 5: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7759 comments I am not surprised that Linda enjoyed it more given that Anita was up front that fans would enjoy it more than she did.

Anita, I think I would feel similarly to you. I am not a big Springsteen fan and I would need to make up for that in the memoir department, which it doesn't sound like it does.

My boss raved about this book for weeks! Maybe even close to a month, and kept telling me how much I would love it. I do think her love for it is tied to her absolute love of Springsteen and the memories that he and his music evoke for her.


Anita Pomerantz | 6437 comments Nicole R wrote: "I am not surprised that Linda enjoyed it more given that Anita was up front that fans would enjoy it more than she did.

Anita, I think I would feel similarly to you. I am not a big Springsteen fa..."


Too funny about your boss. I've seen and hear similar raves about the book. It's interesting because in my mind, Springsteen did a great job at using language, but I didn't think he brought the stories to life. He didn't use the typical memoir techniques of writing the anecdotes using specific dialogue, etc. to make the reader feel like they were really capable of picturing the scene.

It's like the difference between the following stories:

I made a pizza last night using salty anchovies and olives and creamy mozzarella. It tasted very good, beyond good really. Then, I served an incredible dish of chocolate ice cream for dessert.

versus

Peering into my fridge, I finally located some topping that would work for my pizza. The anchovies were past the expiration date, but what the heck. I grabbed the green olives and mozzarella hoping my breathe would survive. Now, I just needed the perfect dessert . . .

I can't explain it, but even though he used descriptive (and often poetic) language, it felt arms length to me. Detailed yes, but still distanced from the reader emotionally.

But I can totally see how this might not matter at all to someone who is a fan. The song titles alone would evoke memories and emotions. The story of his life would be inherently interesting no matter how it was narrated. He certainly didn't leave gaps in his history, so a reader does feel like they are getting the whole story, so that would be satisfying.

It's just not a book that really is meant for book clubs. It's meant for fans! If it were about Derek Jeter, written the exact same way, I am sure I'd be raving about it.


message 7: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7759 comments Anita wrote: "It's just not a book that really is meant for book clubs. It's meant for fans! If it were about Derek Jeter, written the exact same way, I am sure I'd be raving about it. ..."

I loved your example and I know EXACTLY what you are talking about.

And hahaha! about Derek Jeter's memoir! I think we all have people like that. People we respect and admire, who have played a significant role in our personal lives and we connect them with specific memories. So we would read about anything about them and rave!

I would be endlessly gushing about a memoir by Dierks Bentley (my favorite country artist) or David Attenborough (my favorite person ever).


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