I have been a Shawn Colvin fan for over 10 years so I went into this with high hopes As a memoir I think it is pretty well written, lots of personal stories and information That being said, however, this is the first autobiography biography that I think I like the subject less after reading their book I still love her music but personally she comes across being quite self centered which she admits to and blaming a lot of others for her problems I would recommend this book just on it s inside look at her music career. This book is pretty uneven though that s also how I find Colvin s music some of it I love, some of it I have to skip She breezes quickly through her childhood, detailing a few formative experiences which I thought was good no reason to dwell too much there But she sort of skimmed over the alcohol addiction part and at one point she mentions drugs, but doesn t come back to it she is candid about it but doesn t seem to be telling the whole story While I respect her privacy, writing a book like this was her choice and I do think that being upfront might be helpful to the reader.I felt the same way about some of her relationships While she describes both her husbands, and explains her reasons for the marriages failing, I d rather that she had shown us She tells us about her commitment issues, but doesn t give examples of how they were overwhelming or caused problems Again, some of this is probably out of respect for her privacy as well as theirs , but I don t think that telling us how you felt in love and falling out is too much to ask of a singer songwriter writing a biography She dwells on a failed romance after her 2nd marriage almost as long as she does both marriages it s a little tough to read because the person isn t named I understand why , but I wish she could have brought the same candor to the parts where she discusses the people that she thought she d be with forever.She does a great job with her depression I think this is a must read for anyone who s grappled with depression or mental health issues Colvin is upfront though not too detailed it s a good balance about her own battles with depression and does a good job describing her feelings, how she is able to maintain her job and lifestyle while dealing with these issues And I don t think she tells too much here she maintains a level of distance.As someone who s followed her career since the beginning, it was also nice to read about the making of her albums and what ideas were behind the songs, her writing process, etc If you re not familiar with her work, that may not be interesting to you, but she is a good songwriter.If you re a fan a writer or interested in depression and related issues, this is a good book for you Otherwise, it s pacing is kind of uneven and you may not care enough to pick it up. Thank you, Shelf Awareness On a day when I was really in need of good news, I received notice that I had won this book I ll get a little review up whenever I can get my hand to cooperate. I read this book in just two sittings It was a thoroughly enjoyable swift read, because it is written purely from the heart It is a gritty, no holds barred, brutally honest soul baring confessional memoir that is at once uplifting and sad at the same time.The author speaks frankly about her battles with alcohol, depression, weight fluctuations, drug use, suicidal thoughts and a string of unfulfilling relationships which are unfulfilling only because she admittedly struggles with self esteem issues So when she finally comes to terms with loving herself and finding her purpose in her music, it is quite emotionally fulfilling for the reader as well Shawn s story is about her healing and recovery than it is about what she was recovering from I have read so many confessionals written by musicians that come off as nothing than one big pity party , but this story is certainly not one of them She writes about her struggles with wit and humor, adding such authenticity to her edgy style.She is originally from South Dakota, and although she lived in many parts of the country, she seems somewhat bitter about one place in particular, Carbondale IL But who can blame her She describes her junior high school as a prison, and seeing herself as the new inmate unable to see what her crime was Sadly, it was the fact that she had the misfortune of bad timing being paired up with the practice of corporal punishment at a time when she was an emotionally fragile adolescent.I was particularly enthralled by hearing her speak with such passion about the folk music artists who were so influential to her Joni Mitchell, The Kingston Trio, James Taylor, Judy Collins and Bob Dylan, because although I am not a musician myself, these artists were no less influential to me, albeit for different reasons.Something else which resonated deeply with me is how she sees the art of writing Writing is like a sport You have to show up, and you have to practice Yes, there are times that are or less convenient, and there are times when you are or less motivated But it s about showing up Some days the lyrics just start to come out from an unconscious part of you Other times, you re so conscious of them not coming out that you want to scream Although she is talking about songwriting here, this applies to any form of writing whether it be poetry, novels or plays I think there were two turning points in her life One of them was the birth of her daughter, which brought her to the realization that there was a disconnect between herself and her own parents I believe that it is not until we become parents ourselves, that we are able to see our relationship with our own parents with a sense of clarity we can t have before that But then again, hindsight is always 20 20.The other turning point in her life, I think, was when she realized that she was processing her struggles through her music The result was an epiphany I realized I was writing about getting sober, about coming alive, about claiming myself and uncovering these gifts that had been obscured by both external and internal forces, about this veil of confusion and dysfunction and addiction being peeled away, bit by bit I would highly recommend this compelling story of a woman who battled through the darkest times in order to let her inner light shine through so that she could see the magic that happened when she found her real voice.Jill Lapin ZellAuthor of Vanishing Into Life Well, you cant accuse Shawn Colvin of not being honest in this memoir Sometimes maybe she s just a little too honest, leaving me to wonder what her teenage daughter will think when she reads her mom s book Overall though, a pleasant, quick read for the summer If you re a fan of her music which I am there are some interesting insights into some of her songs She spends a bit too much time chronicling all her failed relationships and her bouts with clinical depression But I guess those things have been significant in her life so I suppose they re fair game. My wife and I have been fans of Shawn Colvin s music since her first album er, CD Steady On was released back in 1989 We saw her at least three times during that tour and we both could tell from her songs, her stage presence and the stories she told on stage that she had done a lot of living in her years.I had hoped that Colvin s autobiography, Diamond in the Rough would tell that story with a depth that her songs suggested she was capable of providing Instead, I feel Colvin gave an overview of her life, spending time on some of the important moments feeling left out in Illinois as a child, finding music through her guitar, her two marriages, the birth of her daughter but never getting too deep When she writes about her drinking, depression, and panic attacks it is as if they re just brief emotional events She writes a bit about beating alcohol, but devotes very few pages to it and none to beating depression and panic attacks, other than to mention the pharmaceuticals that have helped her regain her sense of self Similarly, her two divorces are mentioned in passing the reasons behind them are given a sentence or two, if that Colvin opens and closes her book with events surrounding the breakup of her most recent relationship, a relationship with someone she won t name other than to call him her ex While I certainly wasn t looking for a kiss and tell from Colvin, her reluctance to trust the reader enough with a name seems to sum up Colvin s writing about her life in general.I expected something honest, personally engaging and revealing about Colvin after following her music for over 20 years. After Learning To Play Guitar At The Age Of Ten, Shawn Colvin Was Determined To Make A Life In Music A Decision That Would Send A Small Town Girl Out On The Open Road For Good In , Two Decades After She Started, She Got Her Big Break Like The Troubled Would Be Arsonist And Survivor Of Her Smash Hit Sunny Came Home, Colvin Knows A Thing Or Two About Heartache And Setting Fires Diamond In The Rough Recounts This Passionate Musician S Coming Of Age, From The Prairies Of South Dakota To The Dark Smoky Bars In Austin, Texas, To The World Stage At The GrammysHumorous And Deeply Honest, Colvin Relates The Experiences Behind Her Best Loved Songs In Vivid Color In This Memoir Diamond In The Rough Captures Her Years Of Touring Cross Country In Bands And Vans Full Of Guys Falling In And Out Of Love Meeting Heroes Like Joni Mitchell Searching For Her Musical Identity And Making Friendships That Would Last A Lifetime It Is Also An Unflinching Account Of Colvin S Struggles Weathering Addiction And Depression, Learning To Care For Not Only Herself But Also A Child And, Always, Channeling Those Experiences Into SongWith The Wit, Lyricism, And Empathy That Have Characterized Colvin S Performances And Inspired Audiences Worldwide, Diamond In The Rough Looks Back Over A Rich Lifetime Of Highs And Lows With Stunning Insight And Candor In Its Pages, We Witness The Inspiring Story Of A Woman Honing Her Artistry, Finding Her Voice, And Making Herself Whole Five stars for Shawn Colvin s music.Great start to this book with vivid details from her humble Midwestern upbringing to her arduous journey as multiple Grammy winning artist Brave and honest telling of her battle with depression, anti depressants, and therapists Humorous accounts of life with a band Wonderful glimpse into the artist s process And then there s the heartaches The book could use a good editor, and the ending was somehow not resolved Still, a must for any fan Enjoyed it. I love books about artists discovering themselves and Colvin s memoir is no exception What s even fascinating is that she seemed to stumble into her career because she really wasn t good at anything else She had a huge substance abuse problem, which will limit how much and what you can do, but she always found the energy for her guitar She loved playing guitar and came from a musical family She had some natural talent for melody She could listen to a song on the radio and then play it But writing her own material was an uphill climb and she spent so many years playing in bars covering other singers She has a beautiful voice, but she doesn t seem to know that She says something like I can carry a tune, I can stay in tune, I have a sturdy alto with decent octave range And I am thinking Don t you know how pretty your voice is That didn t seem to matter to her She just loved the music Playing it and singing it and gigging with friends And also drinking A lot And falling in and out of love A lot Sounds fun, right She put a rag tag sort of life together singing and trying to write songs for a long time before she got a record contract I was surprised at how difficult songwriting was for her She mostly did lyrics and found a collaborator for the music Somehow, from this, she forged a brilliant career I won t spoil it by saying how It sure was fun to read about Why 4 not 5 Her writing skills are not great Not terrible, and it s a terrific story, but at one point she says something like I have never attempted to write something of this length You probably guessed that She s funny and honest and gives quite a bit of insight into one artist s meandering path to success beyong her wildest dreams And I love those happy endings As you d expect from a woman who s worked her way through most of America s psychiatric medications, this is not an in depth book.It bounces about like a nervous moth, rarely settling on a subject for long as a fresh idea or thought rushes to the fore But that s not a criticism.In doing this, you gain a further insight into the mind of the woman who gave the world one of my all time favourite albums in A Few Small Repairs.Through tales of her childhood, the drinking years, the cleaned up recording artist, the mother, the double divorcee and the Grammy winner you learn how we came to be where we are in effect, everything that has led to All Fall Down her most recent album, and possibly best since AFSR.But it s in the style of the writing that you get to see who Shawn Colvin really is and in that, this book gets closer to her than the stories manage It makes the book that bit personal, a step closer to the heart of the subject if you will Which, like the author, is a rare delight.