It's a Long Story: My Life
2015 / Little, Brown and Company
Review by Kathy Parsons
I have been writing about and reviewing music for many years and although I have never been much of a country music fan, Willie Nelson has always intrigued me because he and his music fit into so many sub-categories and genres. I've always felt he was and is very genuine, generous and a one-of-a-kind person, and his autobiography confirmed those thoughts. Truly a legend in his own time for his music as well as his take-it-or-leave-it lifestyle, I was anxious to read about his life in his own words.
From the beginning, Nelson's life was unusual. Both of his parents both took off when he and his sister were very young, leaving his grandparents to raise them both. Many readers will be amazed at how many years and how much blood, sweat, and tears went into breaking into the music industry and will find Nelson's stories of the many jobs he took in the meantime - including selling Kirby vacuum cleaners and encyclopedias door-to-door - amusing and surprising. My main disappointment with the book is that it is mostly anecdotes that are fairly short and then it moves on to the next thing. I didn't find much depth or detail in a lot of the stories. I usually feel like I know a person quite well after reading an autobiography, but I don't feel that from this one. Yes, I learned a lot of facts, but little detail was given about most of the people and events mentioned in the book so I don't feel I've gained much insight. I know Nelson is very laid back and easy-going (except when he's not!), it would have been nice to go a bit deeper.
I enjoyed reading the song lyrics and learning the history behind the songs (although Nelson claims that most of the songs are not autobiographical). It's a fun and breezy read that moves along very quickly - perfect for vacation or summer reading. There are a LOT of f-bombs in Nelson's writing, so if you find that offensive, be forewarned.
May 28, 2015