Tell It Like It Is: My Story

Hachette. Sept. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9780306832536. $29. MEMOIR
R&B singer/songwriter Neville’s memoir is a candid, joyful journey into his life as a young Black man in New Orleans during the Jim Crow era, his drug-fueled career as an early touring artist, his struggles as a young father and husband, and his rise to fame in the ’70s and ’80s. Although he knew from a young age that he wanted to be a singer, obstacles such as drug addiction, marital upheaval, and unscrupulous record companies consistently seemed to keep him from fame until he joined forces with his family and found success as the Neville Brothers in 1977. This strikingly honest story of Neville’s struggles and triumphs pulls readers in from the first chapter with its staccato sentence structure and a cast of fascinating characters. Written in a stream-of-consciousness style, the book spotlights Neville’s voice, loud and clear. Readers may feel they are listening to him tell his grandchildren the story of his life.
VERDICT A gratifying, spiritual, and hopeful against-all-odds memoir. An essential read for both Neville fans and those who may be unfamiliar with his music.
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