Putnam. 2013. 464p. ISBN 9780399171543. $30. MUSIC
British singer and performer Morrissey's long-awaited autobiography is at once insightful and hyperbolic. There is an almost melodious flow to his writing, and anecdotes and examinations follow one another as 50-plus years of history are placed in a volume that lacks chapters and any real section breaks. Often humorous and at times self-deprecating in tone, this is very much the story of Steven Patrick Morrissey—his first meeting with guitarist Johnny Marr (with whom he would found the seminal 1980s band The Smiths) doesn't occur until about a third of the way through. The exploration of his early years offers a fascinating look at an emerging postwar Manchester, where touring pop stars like David Bowie would later serve as both influence and escape. He doesn't shy from airing grievances: a particular sore spot is the 1990s court case in which former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce successfully sued Morrissey and Marr for royalties. Those looking for details of Morrissey's personal life outside of music will be disappointed, however; more space is allocated to his penchant for rescuing ailing animals than his romantic relationships. Readers almost know him more and less at the memoir's conclusion, as Morrissey remains ever the enigma.
VERDICT Highly recommended, especially for fans of the Smiths and 1980s music.
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