Guest Review: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

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Please note that the reason this review is of especially high quality is that I didn’t write it. Instead, I got my lovely friend, Sarah H., to contribute to my blog. For the sake of my blog, my readers and my TBR list, hopefully this becomes a regular occurrence. Enjoy! 

To start, I’d like to point out that there are really two types of people who are going to read Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run: 1) people who are massive Boss fans and will understand every musical reference and artistic allusion no matter how obscure; and, 2) people like me who heard it was worth reading. Whether you fall into group one or two is going shape whether you think it is a great book or just a very good one.

Born to Run is, in many ways, the archetypal story of the American Dream. Young Bruce, penniless and intermittently homeless wannabe singer, propels himself to the heights of fame, wealth, sex and rock ‘n’ roll. His driving force? A combination of talent, luck, sweat, and single-minded dedication to his craft. He is a successful white heterosexual guy with all that implies — and a very interesting one.

Born to Run introduces Springsteen’s father in the first couple chapters as a mentally ill, alcoholic, blue collar, isolated work-horse who gets in frequent spats with his moody teenage son and barely makes ends meet. But as the book goes on you realise how many of the Boss’s songs are about his father’s class and generation and how, with his success, Springsteen realises he has become the antithesis of the kind of life he sings about — a crisis of representation if there ever was one.

What I ask of the authors of autobiographies is that they offer up some part of themselves in their writing: Springsteen does this. He is also eloquent, insightful, and passionate. He goes on for too long about musical references for my taste, but you know what group of people I fall into. And so let me say that Born to Run is a very good book, and may even be a great one — that last part is up to you.

  

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