Books & Literature

Book Review: Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is filled with heartfelt memories, contemplative reflection, ego and bravado, but is never insincere as he reveals his life.

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’.

born-to-run200From 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

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