PERFORMING ARTS

Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band

Random. Sept. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781984854131. $28. MUSIC
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Willie Nelson and his sister, Bobbie Nelson, take turns chapter by chapter telling the story of their lives, both together and apart. Raised by their grandparents in a small town in Texas, Willie and Bobbie remember a hardscrabble life but also one of love, church, and music. Grandma and Grandpa Nelson bought Bobbie a piano and Willie a guitar, and the two formed a band when both were only teens. The rest is history for Willie (and he told his story in his 2015 memoir It’s a Long Story), but Bobbie faced challenges in not only relationships (failed marriages, losing custody of her children) but also her music career, though she eventually joined Willie’s band later in life. Coauthored by David Ritz (On Time, with Morris Day), this is a deeply personal and familial look at Willie that may surprise (his deep religious faith, the revelation that he thinks Bobbie is the stronger, more talented one), but though Willie weighs in, this memoir is really about Bobbie, as she tells her story for the first time, an often tragic tale that reads like an old Tammy Wynette song.
VERDICT Country fans, especially Willie Nelson devotees, will devour this down-to-earth yet inspiring account of an unbreakable bond between brother and sister. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/20.]

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