avoiding road rage one book at a time...
I absolutely loved everything about this book, including Janis's awesome and honest narration. She uses her stunning voice to sing the listener in to each new life chapter. Her words paint pictures, her voice sounds heavenly. GREAT story of a hard-working optimist.
Being a few years older than the cast, I was never a fan of 90210, which appealed to a younger sect. Nor do I consider myself a fan of Jennie Garth, having never followed her career. I am however, a voracious reader (listener) of autobiographies and found myself without something to listen to when this book popped into my 'we thought you'd like’ list. Really? Aren’t I out of her demographic? Even the title of the book made me wince a little. I grappled with myself, considering the purchase and listened to the free preview provided. She sounded really interesting and she did have a story to tell… desperation for material won and with a guilty conscious I clicked ‘purchase’.
Guess what? I AM a fan of Jennie Garth; the person. This book is great and skillfully read by the author. She is candid, funny, a great story teller (or received excellent advice/assistance on how to tell her story) and extremely likable.
This book tells of Jennie’s life, from start to present: her idyllic childhood as the youngest member of an alternate version of the Brady Bunch, her painful adolescent years, her accidental career path, her relationships and how she dealt with all that she encountered, with grace and humility. What is revealed is a fiercely-loyal, hard-working, genuine, real person. I’m here to tell you not to consider this book a guilty pleasure, it is worth every penny.
I enjoyed this book so much, I listened to it twice. I've never done that before. Scott Shepherd sounds just like Sammy - INCREDIBLE narration. What a life, Sammy! He is the living representation of what a can-do attitude can accomplish.
This narrator has an amazing understated deadpan humor. There are various other voices that come in to read quotes by people other than Bacharach - and those are fine - but the voice of Bacharach himself (about 95% of the book is in the 1st person) is extraordinarily good.
I listen in the car
The time period covered (40s, 50s, 60s) and types of music (early rock & r&b to the Beatles era) are of course very dated, but Bacharach's best work was of timeless genius in terms of pure melodic and harmonic inspiration and originality. I mean - listen to Walk on By - it's pure, unadulterated genius. The lesser stuff like Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head sounds corny after 5 decades, but there are at least 20 Bacharach songs that will always sound like masterpieces - Beatles-level classics. Bacharach was the bridge from the great Tin Pan Alley composers like Kern, Gershwin, Rodgers, Porter and Arlen, and the post-Beatles composers. I don't think Motown and Beatles could have been what they were without Bacharach to show the way. The 32-bar standard had been exhausted. Rock & Roll was fresh and vital but harmonically limited. Bacharach (at his best) showed how the sophistication of Tin Pan Alley (to say nothing of Debussy) could be freed from ii7 V7 I and used in a rock context. He paved the way for Holland Dozier Holland, Lennon & McCartney et al.The book is satisfying in terms of talking about the musical details - although not as good as, say, the Geoff Emerick Beatles book. If you're a musician you might hope for more of a discussion of the technical elements, but there are still valuable insights in that regard. But what makes this book so special is the humor. I see how the negative reviewer in this thread might (inaccurately) consider him narcissistic in that he recounts all his affairs with beautiful women - he would sound like a name-dropper, except for the fact that he really did move in those circles on a continuous basis - but he's also extraordinary self-effacing in the most humorous and endearing way. I'm about 30% of the way through and I've had at least 25 major laughing attacks. I'm not sure if it's the writing or just the narrator's pitch-perfect delivery but I really love this book.My advice is not to be put off by the opening 15 minutes or so. At first, it sounded like he was 1) full of himself and 2) had a chip on his shoulder, but that impression faded very quickly once he started his story chronologically. And, from an audio point of view, this narrator is as good at his job as Bacharach was at his.