Much of Keith Richard’s life is on record and well-known to his fans – great musical talent and success, substance abuse,arrests and near fatal injuries resulting from falls from trees. Life by Keith Richards also presents the son, husband, father and friend behind the image.Life has been getting a great deal of attention since its release. Rolling Stone said, “You can’t imagine that this book could be any better than it is…Keith holds nothing back. It’s funny, gossipy, profane and moving and by the time you finish it you feel like you’re friends with Keith Richards.”
If this book was a work of fiction, I’d think it was over the top. His stories are excessive and indulgent and he is clearly unapologetic and delighted with his life. It has everything you would expect in a rock and roll memoir – riotous and sometimes violent living, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, and naming names. He doesn’t hold back. Perhaps most significant and anticipated are his opinions about Mick Jagger and first wife Anita Pallenberg. I think one of the reasons this book has made such a sensation is the depth of kindness and introspection Richards has revealed. Though he does not suffer fools gladly (or quietly), he is fiercely loyal to friends and family. (And kind to kittens and puppies) His passion for music is intense. He has lost none of his focus and will continue into his seventies and beyond creating. learning, teaching and collaborating.
Life was written with journalist James Fox. “I have such reverence for Keith, really wanted to make a book which turned him into a really superb storyteller,” Fox says. “I was trying to make it into a sort of work of literature, tis true, without wanting to sound pretentious. I wanted it to be a very good and very sort of… I remember at the very beginning of the project, Keith looked at me and kind of growled, ‘What I want this book to have is panache.’” The Daily Beast
Life has a kind of pulsing energy which will propel you through its 500+ pages. Short chopped sentences laced with profanity are mixed with emotional moments that are almost lyrical. Within the first few sentences you forget that there was a another writer involved and you are convinced that it must be Richard’s voice alone.
Another musician biography which has gotten alot of positive attention recently is Composed by Rosanne Cash. “This work is a rare treat, as Cash, first-born to country music legend Johnny Cash, is not only a hereditary celebrity musician, having made scores of albums and #1 singles, but a terrific writer in her own right. Indeed, her memoir is an intensely reflective, carefully hewn chronicle of her coming-into-her-own as a writer.”- Publishers Weekly