MixedThe Seattle TimesDavid Yaffe is one such writer who had a dinner with her, and his biography, Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, is essentially his extended riff on that encounter ...some deft musical analysis of her albums but is not above 'the occasional bit of good old-fashioned gossip' ... Yaffe writes in the first person, and his narrative voice when he’s describing Mitchell’s albums can be effective ... But that same narrative breaks down when tackling her personal life, in part because Yaffe is mostly culling from other sources, 'gossip' ... Mitchell is an elusive quarry. Yaffe’s scattershot approach to bio as portrait, with selected source material thrown into much analysis, doesn’t ultimately snare her.
PositiveThe Seattle TimesHis biography covers a 33-year span, but he writes in scenes rather than as a chronology. It’s an interesting choice, but it probably makes those scenes less emotionally powerful than a typical life story. But when those scenes are about music, they are beautifully crafted ... 'We had all completely fallen under the spell of this atmosphere of devil-may-care creativity,' Robertson writes. Many readers will feel the same way about Testimony, which by detailing a legendary time in musical creativity, casts its own magic.
PositiveThe Seattle TimesThis is the greatest triumph of Born to Run — that Springsteen captures in autobiography the same lyricism he does with songwriting. On the matter of those demons, he is less successful. But the way he describes the battle is so beautifully written that Born to Run is a prize among rock autobiographies.
PositiveThe Seattle TimesWorking 'without a map or a compass,' Guralnick writes, 'with nothing more than their own belief in the innate spiritually of the music' these two unlikely characters changed the world. This biography opens up that world, and beautifully and definitively explains what the two men never could.