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on 15 January 2014
If you're a fan of the Smiths & Morrissey it's an interesting read and you gain an insight into how his complex and intelligent mind has worked over the years.
There are many tangents that he goes off on which affects the flow of the book, but overall a well written autobiography which demonstrates an extensive vocabulary; what you'd expect really given some of the lyrics of his songs!
Having read the book, however, Moz is still right up there in my eyes with Brian Clough!
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on 28 October 2013
Enjoyed this book from the start as I found Morrisseys story very interesting.He is eccentric,talented,funny and true to himself so it was a good read.
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on 12 December 2013
a right old ramble.the smiths bits were interesting but this was bludgeoned by the massive amount of pages given over to the court case over cash almost 10 per cent of the book some people just love cash.love the assisted suicide of julie birchill or what ever her name was.found the flitting about from penthouse to penthouse a bit drab..what stood out the saving of many birds the animal rights stand wish there was more on this.still 3 decades of muse and music.is this man our sinatra no
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on 17 November 2013
It was with trepidation that I picked up Morrissey's Autobiography. I feared that it might be excessively petulant or perhaps, dare I even say it, poorly written. However, as it turns out, the book is a wonderful work of art with a fine poetic prose throughout punctuated with Morrissey's customary turn of phrase in which he inverts the expected and surprises us in the most delightful of ways. The tale weaves us through a wide variety of emotions and through the use of the present tense we are forced to feel every one of them along the way with Morrissey.

This book made me grateful to have recently become a train commuter because the 45 minutes of travel each morning and again each evening gave me the time to devour the pages. I found myself sitting at work and counting down the moments to that point at which I would once more be able to open the book and lose myself in the life of Morrissey. A wonderful read containing some valuable life lessons.

`I can see through the human heart, and I know that life's biggest prize is to have the day before you as yours to do with as you wish.' (p. 397)

`She does not plan to waste her life making tea for in-laws.' (p.421)

`Finally aware of ourselves as forever being in opposition, the solution to all predicaments is the goodness of privacy in a warm room with books.' (p. 439)

And this wonderful inclusion:

'The thoughts of others

Were light and fleeting,

Of lovers' meeting

Or luck or fame.

Mine were of trouble,

And mine were steady;

So I was ready

When trouble came.

A. E. Housman' (p. 354)
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on 6 November 2013
The Smiths were great! And Morrissey on his own is pretty good too. He writes interesting lyrics that, I think, people find engaging even if they don't particularly like the music. As a writer of book-length material though, I find Morrissey a bit verbose and, at times, a little confusing; the lack of sentence structure and overly descriptive prose can make reading this a bit of a chore. Nevertheless, I found his chapterless tome enjoyable enough and overall very interesting, funny, even touching in places - particularly the evocative first part of the book recounting his early years at home in Manchester. Some of the reviews on here are from fans who obviously know alot more about Morrissey/Smiths than I do and they say that various facts have been omitted here and there - and I have to say that I was hoping for alot more info with regards to The Smiths, which was glossed over pretty much - but, if you're like me and don't know a great deal about the man anyway, and like him for his outspoken persona (whatever he comes away with), that won't matter too much at all. The Joyce court case part could've been a little less abundant and Moz repeats himself a bit here - I was inclined to skim-read the latter pages of this section - and the last part of the book is given to seemingly endless tour dates and ticket sales and descriptions of how loved Moz feels by all of his fans everywhere etc. There are some fabulously cutting remarks about, and descriptions of, people who irk him to be marvelled at throughout the book. It's definately worth a read for some classic Morrissey lines (Example: "Miss Redmond is aging, and will never marry, and will die smelling of attics".), and sometimes you might even think he's going to come out with "Needless to say..." Alan Partridge style at the end of a paragraph wherein he has levelled a score with some figure from his past (for whatever reason). What have I learned about Moz since reading this book? Basically, that I could never be friends with him because I like pork scratchings and, sometimes, fried chicken.
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VINE VOICEon 2 January 2014
Although I was never a Smiths fanatic, over the years my respect for the band has grown and grown, and whilst I never play either of the first two albums, I have a huge respect for them as a band. Indeed, last year I went to see Johnny Marr play live (and he was great). So, taking those things into account in combination with my abiding interest in pop music and taste for autobiographies, there was no doubt I was going to buy the book.

And what an amazing surprise! Morrissey's writing is superb. I write most days and I'm acutely aware of how often I repeat certain words and phrases but Morrissey's writing seems constantly fresh and inventive. By the bottom of the first page, I was smitten with his writing, and that enjoyment bloomed into a grand passion over the course of the book.

The book itself can be seen as being in four unequal parts. The first of these concerns Morrissey's childhood up to the point where he meets Johnny Marr. He paints an incredibly vivid and bleak picture of working class life in Manchester in the sixties and seventies, and his schooling sounds intolerable. This part of the book is an evocative and fascinating study into this period which, for Manchester at least, still qualifies as post-war.

The second section - the part that concerns The Smiths and the section that I was most keenly anticipating - passes at a fair clip. There's none of the detail to be found in other publications and, as far as I could see, no fresh insight into the band and how they wrote and recorded their albums. Indeed, there seems to be as much prose about Morrissey's dissatisfaction with his label, Rough Trade.

The third part of the book concerns the trial and he gives this the kind of detail I was hoping to read about The Smiths. And yet, if Morrissey's depiction of events is the correct one, I can now understand where his bitterness comes from and, indeed, why this is the most focussed part of the entire autobiography.

And then, from here to the end, we are taken on an impressionistic ride through Morrissey's subsequent and remarkably successful solo career. Indeed, the writing, which has at times been reminiscent of Kerouac - an effect emphasised by the paucity of paragraphs - becomes almost a stream of consciousness in places. And then it finishes, quite abruptly, and one is left feeling it could have ended in the same style anywhere in the previous hundred pages.

So would I recommend it? Yes, I would. The writing is brilliant to the point that I enjoyed it regardless of what Morrissey was writing about. The Smiths section is undoubtedly a disappointment but the court section was engrossing and, as I've said, I'm sure reason enough to write the book in Morrissey's eyes. This was an opportunity to tackle the racism accusations head on but Morrissey's argument seems to be that since he is not a racist, these are spurious arguments that shouldn't be flattered with his attention. Having listened to `Bengali in Platforms' many, many times, I'm not so sure about that.

In conclusion, I'd just say that for what it's worth, I'd have been happier if Morrissey had given up music after `Viva Hate' and concentrated on writing. This is a great book, even though, unusually, I can also say that you needn't read the last section to the very end.
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on 27 October 2013
As a diehard Smith's fan I had this book read cover to cover (less than the 480 pages advertised btw) in less than a week. It's a mixed bag, but ultimately it IS about Moz and that makes it compelling reading for any fan of his music.

The book is essentially in three parts, minus any chapters but the first section detailing his youth and adult awakenings is fascinating and quite revelatory, though never as explicit as I'm sure some would have liked. Knowing what I already know about the man and his life from the many other pieces already written, I was still mildly surprised when the story got to what I was really excited about, the meeting with Johnny and the formation of the Smiths. This whole section of the book was quietly underwhelming in it's description at times of what must have surely been the most exhilarating time of his life.

I feel that he has allowed his cynical 50+ years on the planet to greatly obscure the real feelings of the moment and as such he has translated many of the incidents into his rueful present day view and has instead spent much more time on settling scores than on any real detail of that magical musical journey that he went on, started of course with meeting Johnny.

He talks frequently of people leaving his group in the solo years and then blanking him, forgetting the platform he gave them, but at the same time he forgets the impact Marr had on his own life, and at times the contradictions are breathtaking.

The book's final section details the solo years and is a meandering trawl through his various star studded collaborations and encounters juxtaposed with the many successful tours and releases that he mentions repeatedly and in great detail.

All this being said, the book is well written, fascinating and funny, nostalgic and strange, much like the man himself. I'm not sure if this will be one I read many times over the years like I have with the Severed Alliance, but I'm certainly glad to have finally read things from his point of view, distorted and all as it must be.
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on 20 December 2013
Well written and interesting. Most reviewers commented on the fact that the court case section went on too long but I found that bit the most interesting part. However, the book has slightly changed my opinion of Morrissey. Being a die hard fan, I think part of the appeal was the secrecy regarding him.. He was an enigma. The book revealed just enough to get a tantalising glimpse into what he is really like. Let's just say ignorance is sometimes best!
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on 20 November 2013
Having had to order my copy of "Autobiography" from the U.K. as I live in the U.S., my two week delivery wait seemed interminable!
However, as I knew it was bound to be, it was well worth the wait. The only problem I had was that I couldn't decide whether to dive right in and devour every single word or to try to take it slowly and savor every word this wonderful man had penned. Decisions! Decisions!
So, being the true, indecisive Libra I was born to be....I did both. I raced through the first half and then lovingly inhaled every sweet word in the latter half. Still it ended way too soon!
The only thing this Morrissey fan would have liked to see, would have been MORE photos! But remembering his stance on music videos back in The Smiths days, I'm thinking he wanted the book to be about the words and the story and not so much the "fluff". (My word-not his). But Mr. Morrissey, when it comes to you, I so immensely enjoy the "fluff!"
The good news I hear is that the new hardcover edition will have more pics, so yippee for me!!!!
So to sum up this very verbose review, who should read this outstanding book? Anyone and everyone who is or ever has been a fan of The Smiths or that gorgeous, charming man...Morrissey.
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on 26 January 2014
hard going as Morrissey goes all round the houses to get the story told, every sentence is littered with perhaps at times unnecessary descriptive text, but a great insight into his life, bonus are the photo's.
Did not think he was so vulnerable when it came to business, kept getting ripped of!! But hey with so called mates doing it he did not stand a chance, too trusting.
Read it you wont be disappointed.
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