Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rating : 5.0/5
Number of Pages : 350
Reason for Reading : Non-Fiction Five Challenge, I am a massive fan of Tori Amos and can't believe I put off reading this for so long...

Piece by Piece is the autobiography of singer/songwriter Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos) and is subtitles "A portrait of the artist. Her thoughts. Her conversations." And it really is. A wonderful insight into Tori Amos as a musician, a mother, a lioness and a spiritual follower of her own path. Separated into conversations between Tori and Ann, Tori's own observations adn writings, Ann's comments, passages from interviews with those close to Tori including her husband and song canvases, I couldn't put this down from the first sentence.

There are eight main chapters names after goddesses or archetypes (Tori is a fan of mythology expert Joseph Campbell and psychologist Carl Gustav Jung) wich cover Tori's opinions and experiences including motherhood, her image, the trouble she had with her first record comapny (Atlantic Records), her failed project Y Kant Tori Read, three devestating miscarriages, her relationship with christianity and the two Mary's (the Mother and the Magdalene). From her Cherokee grandfather Tori has found her love of spirituality rather than a dogmatic religion and performs ceremonies before going on stage with her close friends, family and crew (pretty much all the same thing). The tale she weaves is intelligent referencing many mythologies and folktales whilst being intimatly personal when she speaks of her daughter and failed pregnancies. Weaving stories behind her songs and what they mean to her amid the narrative, it really feels like you are talking to Tori and she is present in the room with you.

It gives an amazing insight into her creative process. This includes how she writes her songs (song Beings), gets her inspiration from basically everywhere and everyone around her, pieces sections of fragments of music and lyrics together and pieces together her image. It was written just before The Beekeeper was released and it was interesting to read of the symbolism of the bee and the six sides to Tori. This is simply a MUST for all fans of her music and what she stands for.

A little about my journey with Tori so far. I first heard Cornflake Girl when it was in the charts and then promptly forgot about her. The same with Professional Widow (the remix). It wasn't until I was around 15 that I went to an unconventional party that I really discovered her music on a deeper level. The party was the first birthday party for STEPS. STEPS was a group in Liverpool for woman who self harm and it was the first time I had plucked up the courage to attend one of their meetings. There I met some great people and started the long road to not being ashamed of my ways of coping. At the party one lady did a modern dance interpretation to Tori's song "Hotel" from the album "From the Choirgirl Hotel" and it still is my favourite of her songs. It was so poignant with the ending "I'm still alive" repeated and I adore it when she plays it live. I have seen her live four times now and the third time I was lucky enough to be one of 200 people at an intimate gig in a theatre in London where she was interviewed by Ann Powers for part of this book. They sat on stage and chatted with Tori playing two sets of four songs inbetween. Amazing.

8 comments:

Bobbi said...

Another great review!

mariel said...

i'm going to the library on the way home to pick this up!!!

you and your enticing reviews!

Stephanie said...

Awesome review! I've long been a fan of Tori Amos. Her voice is beautiful and her songs always seem to hit home!!

Note to self: Must get this!

Chris said...

This one may just bypass the wishlist and go right into the shopping cart. As you know I'm a huge Tori Amos fan and this book sounds incredible. I had questions about this book after seeing it, but you've erased all doubts! Thanks for sharing your beautiful story with us too about your group...I think I like "hotel" that much more now ;)

Trish said...

Does she have a new book out?? I love Tori Amos as well and her music has been a big part of my life. I particularly like her Little Earthquakes album but they're all great. I'll definitely have to check this out--thanks for the great review!

Rhinoa said...

Glad I have encouraged everyone to go out and spend more money buying books :)

jehara said...

wow, this sounds awesome. i love love love tori. i've seen her in concert twice. i didn't even know this book existed. going to hunt this one down asap. love your reviews! :)

Nymeth said...

I have no idea why I haven't read this one yet. I've wanted it ever since it came out. It sounds so amazing. And you're so lucky to have seen her 4 times! The small gig sounds particularly unforgettable.