Customer Reviews: Life
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on March 22, 2016
I listened to the audio version of this book. It’s read by 3 people – Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley and Keith himself. In my opinion, Joe Hurley deserves an audio book version of the academy award for his take on Keith. I was several disks in when it switches from Johnny to Joe and what a difference! Joe really captures Keith’s essence (maybe even more so than Keith!) Johnny sounds like he was dosing off in parts. Aside from that, listening to this book gave my humdrum commute to work some excitement. It was like having Keith in the car telling his story. As a 51 year old female who grew up listening to 60’s and 70’s rock and remembers all of the gossip about Keith’s bad boy ways – I found his memoir fascinating. He has a great story to tell and I highly recommend it to all who are interested in the history of one of the most important rock artists of all time.
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on December 21, 2012
I bought the hardcover when it first came out and just bought the Kindle version for a friend in anticipation of our seeing the Stones here in Brooklyn two weeks ago. Anyone reading this already knows how good "Life" is but since I got an email from Amazon just now asking for review, I thought I'd throw my twopenneth in!

What sets this above and beyond most other autobiographies is Keith's voice rings loud and true through it - it's intimate, self-deprecating and of course wry and funny as hell (it's almost impossible to keep a smirk off your face while reading it). Starting with one of the best opening chapters you'll ever come across, you're whisked along in breathless fashion that's almost the literary equivalent of what a ride in Keith's Bentley must've been like back in the day: white-knuckle at times, but the adrenaline rush leaves you gasping for more! I've actually felt a sensory overload reading some of this; amazing that the fella who actually lived it is still here to tell the tale.

But what's best of all is for the musicians out there: Keith delves into discussion of his influences and his distinct style - the description of his excitement at discovering open tuning jumps off the page (and you'll have a guaranteed "AHA!" moment yourself if you didn't already know this secret to the Stones sound). So many (auto)biogs neglect the music bit entirely or paint it as merely the means to getting the sex, money and fame - for Keith, it's the reverse: that the whirlwind of excess around the rock lifestyle - while occasionally hugely entertaining! - is in a way the baggage one puts up with to afford the freedom to get what he *really* wants: spending sleepless days on end in the studio recording, playing live, going to gigs and hitting local record shops on days off - it really is all about the music, baby. It's crystal clear that's what drives the man at his core - and that is why we love him and the Stones at the end of the day.

It's a book that I will revisit every few years as it's like uncorking a bottle of your favorite vintage wine or single malt whisky. I'd give this 10 stars if I could.
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on November 1, 2015
I grabbed this audio book from the library because I was in a hurry and wanted something to listen to in traffic. I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't that I would be transfixed by Jaycee Dugard's story. I usually steer clear of non-fiction audiobooks that are read by the authors, because they are frequently difficult to listen to simply because writers don't always make good narrators. I can't imagine this book being narrated by anyone else. I find myself sitting in my car after I've arrived at my destination so I can continue to listen. If I'd read the print version I would have read it in one sitting.

Jaycee's story is terrifying, and that she survived it at all is miraculous. An 11 year old child, torn away from her home and held for 18 years, being repeatedly raped and bearing her first child at 14, and the second at 17, is almost too much to imagine. That she came out of it with grace and forgiveness is awe inspiring. I wish her nothing but the best life has to offer for the rest of all time.
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on May 16, 2012
I should probably qualify this review by first saying that I don't read many autobiographies (in fact, this may be a first for me). Generally speaking, I'm not very interested in the personal lives of famous people. I don't care who they are dating or who they've broken up with. I read Life because I'm a big fan of the Rolling Stones and I'm interested in the music. As I read my interest fluctuated up and down. I was interested in how the band came together, their influences, their rise to stardom, the origin of songs, the recording sessions for albums, the creative process, the collaborations with other artists and so on. My interest waned when it focused on Richard's personal life.

The book starts very strong with an entertaining story about a run-in with the law in rural Arkansas during the Some Girls tour, Keith's childhood (which I didn't mind reading about despite my lack of interest in his personal life) and the formation of the band. The book focuses on the music in the early years providing some interesting insights, how the Glimmer Twins started writing their own music instead of just covering the music of other artists, the genesis of many of the early guitar riffs, and Richard's discovery of `open tuning'.

I enjoyed much of the middle section of the book as it covered the period of time when the Stones were at the peak of their powers and recorded many of their best albums. This section though does get bogged down considerably with tales of drug use and relationship troubles which didn't interest me nearly as much (although others might find it fascinating).

The final section of the book really doesn't have much to offer and seems to only be there to complete the time line and bring the reader up to the present day. Much of it reads like a series of unrelated amusing anecdotes. For a reader primarily interested in the music, the Stones didn't record anything worth getting excited about after 1982, and as far as that goes, the music was barely mentioned anyway.

From my perspective I'd love it if the autobiography of Keith Richards glossed over his personal life and focused almost entirely on the music (up to and including 1981's Tattoo You). Of course, I recognize that this isn't what most people want. Most people want to read about the drug use, the drug busts, the court dates, the withdrawal symptoms, the parties, the trashed hotel rooms, the romances, the break ups, the children, the suicides, and the funerals, and everything else that makes up a Life. So you'll have to take my 3 ½ star rating with a grain of salt I guess.

All in all I enjoyed this autobiography. Richards comes across as funny at times and for the most part he's as frank and honest as I think he could be (although I think he has `rationalized' some of his behavior and convinced himself that he wasn't as big an a**hole as he almost certainly was). I was disappointed that he skimmed over some significant album releases with only a cursory mention and some important songs were completed ignored.

If you're a fan of the band, Richards provides some fascinating insight into the music. For me, I could have done with less of the other stuff but I understand there are millions of people who love it. This is why it will probably be long time before I read another autobiography. I'm glad I read this one though.
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I thoroughly enjoyed Keith's autobiography. It may be the best autobiography I've read. Certainly the most fun. Reading this short book is like being inside this unique man's head for a few hours. Definitely not a paint-by-the-numbers project. Loaded with details about the creation of many Stones classics, and always upbeat and honest. Put on some Stones and dig in.
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on November 1, 2011
After reading "Life" I was exhausted. I could only imagine how tired Keith was while writing this great book;being this guy seems grindingly laborious. He lets us see, warts and all, his life unfold as a young man finding his place in the world. What impressed me the most about Keith Richards, was the savage work ethic he possessed. There is no way a person can play a guitar like this guy, without commiting to an inordinate amount of work. To me Richards is simply a working stiff, who happens to love what he does to make his dollar. I got the sense that this whole persona he has the burden to carry, is secondary to who he truly is.

In "Life" we see Richards the son, friend, husband,and parent. We see a guy who has had a good run with his career. We see a leader, who will throw down, and have the courage of his convictions. We see a guy who knows full well that he is a flawed creature like us all. Moreover, we see a guy who has enjoyed the ride, and simply tilts his hat at the persona that has evolved with him. I got a sense that Keith Richards doesn't take himself seriously;however, he takes his job very seriously-remember the "savage work ethic?" Once I got through all of the sex, drugs and war stories, blah, blah, blah,et al. the book got really interesting.

An image I kept seeing, was Richards and Jagger bashing out melodies and lyrics;doing the work as it were. I found nothing glamorous about being in this band of talented players. I saw this as a very hard job, which was done to the best of the band's collective abilities. Being Keith Richards is dangerous work and not for the feint of heart.

There are some great photos in "Life." One picture in particular really spoke to me. There's a shot of Keith sitting in his library(he has an expansive literary knowledge base),and he looks like a happy guy. He has a guitar, a pack of smokes, a drink and his stacks of books. Amid this sanctuary swirls musical and literary energy, in other words life itself, and Keith has dared to live it. If I ever had the chance to ask this hotshot Rock icon something, I'd ask him if I could look through his book shelves and see what he reads. Here would lie more insight into this man's extrordinary life, a life which dares us to live ours.
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on November 25, 2015
an amazing book. Keith is blunt. He seems to be a really good guy, just caught up in drugs and stories how he and Mick wrote some of the greatest songs of all time, Angie is about his wife. Lots of inside info. So to me its worth every penny
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on July 6, 2015
Written as if Keith is telling you rather then writing to you, I like the style of the book it does go in depth about his life and obviously his drug and alcohol addiction. He's an honest man and quite comfortable to tell you about it all. I like the book and I've always been a huge fan of he band and music so was a real treat to read for me. The only draw back I've noticed is that because of the way its written it can be a little all over the place to read but that's how I imagine Keith's mind to be now though.
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on July 15, 2014
I'm not a huge fan of the Rolling Stones in general, but I do like a lot of their songs. This book was a nice surprise on several levels. For one thing, I had no idea that the Stones were so heavily into the blues - I certainly never got that impression from their music! But the real surprise was finding out that Keith Richards actually has a brain, and it functions quite well, thank you. The only other book I've read about the Stones was the notorious "Up and Down with the Rolling Stones" by Tony Sanchez, a guy who basically claimed to be Keith's main drug dealer for years. From that book, I got the impression that Keith was interested in absolutely nothing but drugs, ever - not music, not his kids or family, no interest in anything except getting his next fix. This book totally changed my impression of Keith, and I am glad that he finally decided to tell his story himself.

The book reads like they just gave him a tape recorder and told him to start from the beginning, and then simply transcribed it verbatim. That is not a bad thing, since he is surprisingly sharp, witty, and eloquent. The tone of the book is both informal and intimate, as though you're sitting there listening to him reminisce about his entire life. It has not been boring, to say the least, and even he is surprised that he's still around. He doesn't pull any punches and he is brutally honest about everything - his absolute passion for music, the early days of the Stones and on up till today, how he writes songs (including how specific songs came to be written), his love/hate relationship with Mick, his relationships with other musicians, his women, his family, his kids, and yes, his drug use. Other people chime in with their memories of various times in his life, allowing you to hear different perspectives on the topic at hand throughout the book. And he even gives you his personal recipe for bangers and mash.

This is his remarkable life, told in his own words. There is much, much more to this man that I ever would have imagined, and whether you're a fan or not, this book is definitely worth reading.
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on May 10, 2016
Keith tells his story of the Rolling Stones and shares his views and feeling about life as he has experienced it. I'm a rock and roller from that era but had forgotten about some of the attitudes of the time. This book took me back a lot of years. A good read.
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