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Tori Amos: Piece by Piece Paperback – January 10, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (January 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767916778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767916776
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After over a decade of making big-selling albums, but also being pigeonholed as an eccentric New Age princess, singer/songwriter Amos redefines her image in this appealing mishmash (coauthored with critic and Experience Music Project curator Powers) of her essays, quotes from her conversations with Powers and oral history observations from her band mates, husband, managers and friends. Readers may still find a few sprinklings of fairy dust in the proceedings, but Amos comes across as thoughtful, likable and witty, fully aware of her role as a female musician in the mainstream pop world yet determined to keep her work true to her spiritual and feminist perspectives. The book's structure lets Amos and Powers retain elements of a traditional biography--they candidly detail Amos's family history, her shaky entry into the music business, her relationships with formal religion and her multiple miscarriages before giving birth to her daughter--but it sidesteps a straightforward "this is my life" story line and lets Amos focus on how her experiences have shaped her songs. Powers and Amos also discuss practical issues about the music business and the roles female artists can take--or sometimes can't take--in controlling their public personae. With undoubted appeal to Amos's legion of fans, the book could offer additional interest to artists of all stripes, who may find reflections of their own experiences in hers. Illus. Agents, the Bridge Entertainment Group and Sarah Lazin. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Amos' music is the stuff of legend, literally: haunting music paired with lyrics that often mix mythology with the deeply personal. Her first book is a series of conversations between herself and journalist Ann Powers, with contributions from the people closest to her, such as her husband and the members of her band. The conversations run the gamut: Amos muses on everything from mythology and religion to songwriting to the hardships and joys of touring. But what really makes the book brilliant is Amos' interest in examining the roots of creativity and femininity. Her ruminations on creativity will resonate with any artist who has ever felt a kind of divine inspiration. Her observations about the challenge of the reconciling of the sexual and the sacred in women are equally astute. Amos also reveals a great deal about her personal history and family influences, from the maternal grandfather who shared rich Cherokee stories with her to the paternal grandmother who sought to control Amos' behavior through religion. Amos frankly discusses finding her own space and power in a world full of mixed messages and judgmental attitudes. Fans will also particularly enjoy the sections in which Amos analyzes the specific inspirations for several of her songs. Not just utterly engrossing, Amos' book is inspiring. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Tori Amos is an amazing person.
When reading this book, I felt like I was sitting around a table with these people just having conversations.
S. Topolinski
The fact that this is more like an autobioraphy than a bio makes it that much more appealing.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book records an ongoing dialog between musician/songwriter Tori Amos (Little Earthquakes) and rockumentarian Ann Powers (Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America, Women Write About Rock, Pop and Rap. Through a variety of conversations, Amos discusses her music, her personal life and the direction of her career.

With sensual and stunning lyrics, Amos is a presence to be reckoned with, a young woman on the cusp of a great musical career with seven successful albums already to her credit. It would be a mistake to misinterpret Tori's passion as an expression of sexuality: "for her it's claiming her sexuality and merging it with her spirituality." Every performance is transformative, an expression of the immediacy of her emotions linked to the keyboard beneath her dancing fingers.

Piece by Piece is an intriguing concept. Using a multi-part format, the authors draw from a number of sources, a collage of thoughts, past history and musical perceptions that give some idea of how involved the artist is with her work, her family, friends and life as a musician and songwriter. Every aspect of Amos' like is examined, the personal as well as the professional, because Amos uses all of her experience to inform her music, the passionate expression of a young woman with much to offer. Amos imbues her work with the spirit of her soulful journey, cherishing her hard-one relationships with husband and child and the source of her creativity.

Powers witnesses Amos' words, often expounding on the meanings in a broader context of artist in the world, adding another dimension to the musical achievement. Surprisingly complex, Piece by Piece brims with unexpected insights, musical interpretations and a view of the world through the eyes of an artist who is not intimidated by life.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Winston Banford on May 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
You'd think the life of a talented famous musician would be easy and full of luxury. While Tori enjoys her life, she works INCREDIBLY hard!! She describes constantly writing songs, even if it's just a few words, or a few bars of melody. She does this wherever she is. Plus she deals with the record labels, the lawyers, the touring, the book writing, raising a daughter....

She is an amazing woman; someone who sees the world and thinks about it differently than most. Every song has a deep meaning to her, and she views them as "Sonic Beings" that she, the instrument, brings to the world.

From the book, I can tell she is a good friend to everyone in her life. She treats her crew as best as she can, and she gives her musicians the liberty to play as they feel, not as she commands. She can also be tough as nails when there is something threatening her music or her tour.

While, as a Christian, I may not agree with her theology, I found it so interesting how she drew power from various archetypes and "gods and goddesses".

If you love Tori's music, and you want to know where it all comes from, and what circumstances in her life influenced it, you MUST read this book. I couldn't put it down. I finished it in 3 days. Some paragraphs I read 4 or 5 times.

Her last record label said she was getting "too old". I hope she's still up there on stage, or at least putting out music when she's 80!!!
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38 of 50 people found the following review helpful By The Wingchair Critic on February 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'Tori Amos Piece By Piece' (2005), co-written with Ann Powers, is an examination of the manifold motivators that have allowed Amos, perhaps the hardest working woman in popular music, to successfully blaze a definitive and firmly etched trail across the face of Western culture.

As piercing, uncompromising, and deeply felt as the best of her musical compositions, the book is an outline of Amos' visionary philosophy as well as a testament of her personal and spiritual struggle. In no way a typical celebrity autobiography, 'Tori Amos Piece By Piece' may very well become a standard popular text and survival guide for all those at odds with the dominant and increasingly narrow "consensus reality" of the West.

Though the book, which acknowledges a debt to Carl Jung, lacks the harrowing originality and claustrophobic focus of the Swiss psychologist's 'Memories, Dreams, and Reflections' (1961), it addresses some of the same ground in more brutally honest and plainly spoken language.

Like Jung and Scottish novelist Muriel Spark, Amos is unapologetic in her belief that the human race is profoundly rooted in, and a continuous reflection and manifestation of, the Divine. Like those writers, Amos is both a student of and vocal witness to the active presence of Grace in human experience.

Amos is a self-identified feminist, and the book consciously addresses women's spirituality and offers numerous practical examples of how Amos has applied her own female-centered belief system throughout her life.

However, in the broadest sense, Amos' application of the myths of Demeter, Persephone, and other female deities seems to imply that these apply exclusively to women, when, clearly, the opposite is true.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Murphy on March 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of the music I really enjoyed Piece by Piece, but when I purchased it I did expect it to go a little deeper into her life than it did. Instead we got to understand her musical process, learn about how the music industry works and most interestingly, the story behind some of the songs.

While I would have liked to learn a little more about her life, this book gives a deeper appreciation of the music she writes and allows the reader to understand the musical genius she really is.
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