RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...revelatory, instructive, moving and, at times, very funny ... Like the haiku moments in so many of his songs, his prose can connect any reader to deeper ideas and feelings by making the personal seem universal ... It’s that revelatory power of music that his fans find in so many of his songs, and that readers in general will enjoy in his autobiography ... Bruce’s autobiography, like the best of his songs, is borne of his commitment to connect with his audience.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal[McDonnell] has worked at 13 magazines, most of them as top editor, and he shrewdly organizes his book as a collection of vignettes, each one with its word count noted at the top since when he edited stories he liked to know how long his pencil had to travel ... He has all the stories you’d expect and tells them with a subtle tension, never succumbing to the easy laugh ... The writing in The Accidental Life is direct and crisp, with a touch of tartness; there is not a bloated or sappy passage in the book. Mr. McDonell can be sentimental, especially about friends now dead (and there are enough to fill a cemetery), but he is never mawkish.