Sunday, November 28, 2010

Life by Keith Richards

Life by Keith Richards-Memoir, 564 pages.
This much ballyhooed autobiography by one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones is as interesting as everyone is saying it is, but it is also a bit overlong and too forgiving of its subjects many faults and flaws. Keith Richards tells his own story, about his childhood, the forming of the band, about his friends, family, and drug problems. He gives his own, more prosaic versions of Rolling Stones mythology: the song "Angie" wasn't written about David Bowie's wife, and "Wild Horses" wasn't Mick's farewell song to Marianne Faithfull, they were just songs, and the words just sort of fit. And Keith never had a blood transfusion to remove traces of heroin so he could travel, he was just going into rehab and being glib with the press who were gullible enough to believe what he told them. Overall, Keith comes across as a good guy, funny, and not totally self-involved. But as the story goes on and on, I found it hard to overlook or forgive some things such as the way his kids were farmed out and ignored, and it was hard to take his word that once again some mishap on the road wasn't his fault (how many fires caused by "faulty wiring" should one man have in his lifetime?). A fun read, but in the end I found it all just a little too self-indulgent. Patrick

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