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Publisher's Summary

Simon's memoir reveals her remarkable life, beginning with her storied childhood as the third daughter of Richard L. Simon, the cofounder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster; her musical debut as half of The Simon Sisters, performing folk songs with her sister, Lucy, in Greenwich Village; to a meteoric solo career that would result in 13 top 40 hits, including the number-one song "You're So Vain". She was the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe Award, for her song "Let the River Run" from the movie Working Girl.

The memoir recalls a childhood enriched by music and culture but also one shrouded in secrets that would eventually tear her family apart. Simon brilliantly captures moments of creative inspiration, the sparks of songs, and the stories behind writing "Anticipation" and "We Have No Secrets", among many others. Romantic entanglements with some of the most famous men of the day fueled her confessional lyrics as well as the unraveling of her storybook marriage to James Taylor.

Includes original music composed especially for the program by Carly Simon and Teese Gohl plus a previously unreleased bonus song from Carly Simon.

©2015 Carly Simon (P)2015 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Carly Simon exuberantly narrates her memoir, which reads like a history of rock and roll from the 1970s onward. Simon's warm and personal style sounds as if she's telling her story directly to each listener." ( AudioFile)

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Gorgeous and Sad

Still trying to decide how I felt about it. On the one hand it was gorgeous. She reads it herself and the audiobook is interlaced with lots and lots of her music throughout. It has to be a completely different experience from reading it with eyes only. In many ways it confirms how sensitive and brilliant she is.

On the other hand it also seems like it was her attempt to come to terms with the fact that she has never come to terms with the failure of her 10ish-year marriage to James Taylor which ended in the early 1980's. Yet she was married again for about 20 more years to someone else, and unless I nodded off toward the end, there's not even a mention of that. There's something disturbing and downright pitiful about how she seems so determinedly stuck in the long-ago.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Beautifully told with Carly's music.

Beautifully written and narrated by Carly Simon. The book is scored to many of the songs she's written, thanks to the genius of Ken Burns. The music and lyrics enhance the story Carly shares. Interesting insight into her relationship with James Taylor--not the easiest man to love or live with. One of the best audio books I've ever listened to. This particular book demonstrates the power of an audio book over the printed version. So many feelings and subtleties are conveyed to paint a more vivid account of the events in her life. After all the years have past since her divorce from Taylor, you can see that Carly still has a place in her heart for James Taylor.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Surprisingly AWESOME Audio.

If you could sum up Boys in the Trees in three words, what would they be?

Entertaining, revealing, thoughtful.

What other book might you compare Boys in the Trees to and why?

"Me" by Katharine Hepburn.

What about Carly Simon’s performance did you like?

Who knew that she'd be as good acting out her life story on an audio as she is singing it out on a record? This is really wonderful. She's got a great voice for storytelling, her pace is spot-on and she brings you right into the story.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I usually find the childhood stories in biographies to be tedious, but this one really is colorful and is just as interesting as the rest. I like the first story of the book, and like glimpsing into the world of her dad, who was the Simon in Simon and Schuster.

Any additional comments?

I did not expect this to be as entertaining as it was. Listened all the way through and enjoyed the whole thing. She's honest about her flaws and strengths.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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She's Not Vain

What made the experience of listening to Boys in the Trees the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed hearing Carly's familiar voice and inflections, which ensure that the story is told as she would tell it to a friend (minus the few details she leaves out of the print version to spare the feelings of still-living family members and friends). While she "overplays the drama" (as Janet Maslin of the NYTimes wrote) sometimes in her writing, with a style slightly overdone, precious, and redundant (stringing together multiple metaphors to describe the same person or event in the same sentence), she is humble and self-effacing enough to prevent that style from seeming overly pretentious.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Boys in the Trees?

The story behind the writing/recording of her hit song You're So Vain...and all of her other celebrity conquests (or, more accurately, their conquests of her). As the title implies, there are a lot of boys, men, and sexual encounters OF ALL KINDS in this book...YOU WON'T BE BORED! One of my favorite moments was when she finished telling her therapist about the night before, which she had spent with Warren Beatty, and her stunned-looking therapist replied.....but NO! That would spoil a hilarious story for you, if I revealed the punchline here.

What about Carly Simon’s performance did you like?

The singing!! I hadn't known there would be any, and that was a nice surprise.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There are some laughs, some "Oh my ---" jaw-dropping shockers, and some times when listeners who have had some of the author's same experiences might be moved to tears. I felt as if anyone who has ever been through a difficult breakup could relate to the author's pain surrounding the terrible times in her own marriage and divorce. She made that pain especially palpable, as if it is still fresh to her and she has never really gotten over it.

One thing this book MIGHT make the reader feel is a little bit disgusted by the hyper focus on sex. Honestly, as the child of sexually wild parents, and as a little bit of a sexually shy, somewhat sexually conservative person myself, I sometimes found this aspect of the book hard to swallow (pun acknowledged). Let's put it this way: If you are a true social conservative, you should be forewarned that you will probably actively dislike much of Carly's memoir...and if you're a sexually liberated former flower child you may very well love it!

Any additional comments?

I ended up very much wishing that this memoir had covered all of Carly's life, continuing to the present, not just up until her split from James Taylor. Perhaps there will be a second volume??

28 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • STAMFORD, CT, United States
  • 01-20-16

That husky voice...

I chose this book because Carly Simon was reading it herself, and I have always loved her voice. She did not disappoint, reading with a wistful softness. Her life has been filled with privilege and opportunities, yet she is candid about her anxiety and--something I never knew--her stutter. (Another great book about a stutterer is David Mitchell's bildungsroman "Black Swan Green"). Her childhood was fascinating, filled with artists, writers and musicians who visited her famous but troubled father. Her brief career as a rock star is amusing, and it was fun to hear about how she wrote songs like "You're So Vain." There are a couple of suspenseful set pieces toward the end, as her failing marriage to James Taylor tears her up.

The audiobook includes a lot of guitar strumming and piano, which tended to be distracting. Sometimes I could not follow what Carly was saying because the music was too loud. But this grew on me, and by the end of the book I was moved by the new songs she sang, new to me at least, including the Walt Whitman poem O Captain! My Captain set to music.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Music overlaid over narration

Loved the book; very open and sweet and honest and a great listen except for one thing: music was played during many parts of the narration, which made it (1) difficult to hear and concentrate on the narration, and (2) the tempo and mood of the music being played did not necessarily match what was being conveyed at the time. Very distracting and irritating. Made me wish I had the book instead of the audiobook.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

best audio book ever heard and i have listen to over 50

This is a 10 the reading with music more musician should read this before they audio a book totally amazing

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Highly interesting and entertaining

This one makes my top 5. The story she has to tell is riveting at every stage. The musical background is very well done and makes it really wonderful as an audible book. Carly is admittedly nervous as a narrator, so I loved hearing her explain that before listening to this book. She's not a professional narrator, but I only thought that added to the authenticity of the memoir. Her story is not a moral guideline of how women should live their lives, but she surely has lived an extraordinary and full life. I enjoyed it so much. I only wish James Taylor would be her friend now, then maybe she could let it go. She adores him maybe more than he deserves.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Narrative, wonderfully detailed

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes ...
Carly Simon not only reads her own book "Boys In The Trees" but the background music and her occasional vocals make this a thoroughly entertaining experience. She put a great deal of thought and time into this audible version of her book and the result is a delightful, poignant journey with a soulful, honest woman struggling with her relationships, insecurities and fame. Her detailed remembrances with dulcet often emotional narratives draw the reader in and we're made to feel as if she is speaking only to us as her intimate closest friends. I have loved her music for over 40 years and then fell in love with her words all over again .. Highly recommend !

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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An Entertaining Listening Experience

Carly Simon's instantly recognizable voice serves her well here. Lower and smokier than ever, it helps bring out the pathos in her stories and makes sections of this book quite moving. Some of her descriptions of place and people (Provincetown in the '60's, her uncle, childhood friends) are wonderfully written--vivid and full of feeling. The climax of the book---her on-stage breakdown as her personal life was falling apart--is harrowing and reads like a thriller.

I found a lot of the details about her marriage to James Taylor repetitious and uninteresting, maybe because I've never cared all that much for him or his music. He remains a boomer-generation icon (why???) so maybe that's what others want, but I would have preferred more insight into Simon's creative process and individual songs. Anecdotes such as a long one about the two of them being detained in Bermuda for drugs have no emotional payoff for the reader.

The childhood sections and descriptions of her privileged and culturally rich upbringing are fascinating. She evokes a lost world with precision and warmth. The underscoring is a little distracting at first, but mostly works well. In some sections, it adds a ruefully, jazzy atmosphere that enhances her words.

Simon's massive insecurities and anxieties have made her life and career a challenge for her, but give her memoir depth, humanity, and a kind of significance and approachability that other such works lack.

I wish it had been edited more vigorously to create more narrative drive. It ends in the early '80's and I look forward to (the inevitable?) Volume Two.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • TRIDENT
  • 01-10-17

Quite simply the best audio book I have ever heard

This mixture of honesty ,intensely moving story, and music. The best I've ever heard & I have over 200 titles thanks Carly.Brilliant !

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lucy T.
  • 09-16-17

Wonderful but background music too loud

I was concerned when music in the background started playing quite loudly - I assumed it would die down- it didn't and was rather annoying throughout the whole book. But Carly Simon was wonderful at reading her story - which I loved and highly recommend. Fascinating and heart breaking and funny - everything you want in a great book

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-28-17

One of the best I've ever read.

As a lifelong lover of Carly Simon's music, I was given this book as a gift. I expected to enjoy it- but I had no idea of the challenges which Carly had to endure and overcome. The book completely blew my away. It was beautifully crafted and provided insight to what must have been an extremely difficult life at times, although mixed with times of joy and happiness.
After finishing the paper copy, I bought the Audible version and it brought the book alive. It was wonderful to listen to Carly narrating it. I found myself listening to it as slowly as possible, rationing myself to a few chapters at a time, to avoid reaching the end too quickly.
I would recommend this book to everyone- as there is something to learn for any person in this fantastic book.

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  • Tanika
  • 05-07-17

Just wonderful

I can't believe reading this book is better than listening along to Carly Simon herself read it aloud. Full of emotion and song, though at times early on, the music balance was a little too loud for me, making it hard to focus on the speech. But this didn't detract from the audiobook as a whole, maybe you just need time to tune into the mix.
It's an open, sometimes raw story but filled with love. I didn't want it to end. I'm a fan of all the Taylors as well as Carly, especially Ben. As well as a stellar performer, she is clearly a wonderful, warm mother. Makes me wish I lived on the island myself, i have happy memories from my two visits in the 90s, though I never ran into them!I wonder if JT

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  • Stan
  • 11-12-16

Songwriter's story

I knew and enjoyed Carly Simon's early albums pretty well and after a friend's recommendation, looked forward to this. But she's a songwriter not an author and it shows - some good lines but not good sustained writing.

It's interesting enough if you already have an interest. Despite her singing sometimes as part of the audio, it did not grab me.

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  • T. Oakley
  • 07-13-16

Honest and massively enjoyable

This is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to for years. Carly reads her book perfectly, peppering the audiobook with her own music, adding to the emotion and stories.

Carly's life, growing up in the 50s and the trials of her life beyond are fascinating, and her seemingly balanced portrayal of James Taylor left me slightly heartbroken.

This really made me appreciate Carly's massive back catalogue and the meaning behind both the hits and wealth of hidden gems therein. The book was over 14 hours long but still had me aching for more. I listened to the final chapter twice, which is a first for me. Highly recommended, and for the whole experience I recommend having a serious listen to her autobiographical songs outside the book, between sessions!

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  • Matt
  • 02-25-16

a delight

What did you like most about Boys in the Trees?

any author reading their biography is always special. The nuances, the emphasis's and the emotions show through. Carly has a wonderful singing voice (of course!) but she has a wonderful reading voice too.

What other book might you compare Boys in the Trees to, and why?

Mike Fleetwood, similar era music wise (and behaviour wise?)

Which character – as performed by Carly Simon – was your favourite?

Carly...

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes, was hard to leave!! sad when it finished. Can't wait for next installment!

Any additional comments?

lovely book, well produced, having the musical interludes was a great bonus. Best book I have ever listened too!