Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, has been a long time in the making – almost as long as his reunion with the E-Street Band – and began life as a reflection on their Superbowl Half-Time Show. I, for one, am glad he didn’t stop there.
Set across 3 books – and the 3 stages of life (to date) for Springsteen – Born to Run is a heartfelt and sincere telling of the life of the man who we know as ‘The Boss’.
From his earliest days in New Jersey, we follow Springsteen’s journey from a small boy, living the everyday life of the Jersey boy he was, through to his discovery of Rock ‘n’ Roll in his youth: his Beatles-esque development and on-stage/on-road training he went through to hone his craft and discover his talent for telling the tales of the U.S.A. he grew up in. He delves back into his past – Jersey of the 50s and 60s – telling what I imagine are all-too-familiar tales for many Americans his age – of a loving mother, distant father, friendships and fun and the desire to follow ‘the dream’ of stardom on stage.
There follows the story of that all too elusive ‘moment’ – the writing and realisation of what he wanted to say about being a product of small town Americana – the song, the album, the title – Born to Run. With it came the E-Street Band, a string of hits and the album that would cement Springsteen success, Born in the USA.
It’s not all about the music. He confronts his personal demons, too – the end of friendships and a failed marriage, combined with a sense of discomfort with security in both fame and fortune.
He closes out with the last 2 and a half decades and the massive changes in both himself, his familial relationships – with both his parents and his partner/second wife and their children – and reuniting with the E-Street Band to reaffirm what so many already knew, that he is STILL ‘The Boss’.
Born to Run is a big read, at over 500 pages, filled with heartfelt memories, contemplative reflection, ego and bravado, but never with insincerity or lacking in acknowledgement of those around him – past and present – and their contribution in building the legacy and legend of ‘The Boss’. It reads like his music sounds – and is accompanied by his new album Chapter & Verse, a worthy companion piece – and with 8-years in the making, Springsteen delivers one of the most genuine autobiographies I have had the pleasure to read.
Reviewed by Glen Christie
Rating out of 10: 9
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Release Date: September 2016
RRP: $49.99 hardcover, $29.99 paperback, $16.99 eBook, $75 audiobook