There’s little bravado here, and many moments of poignancy, such as when the very young Jones wants Diana Dors to be his mum, or when he is sent to a remand centre for reasons he has never understood. His book’s title speaks volumes, although these stories are told without sadness ... Through the fame years, Lonely Boy is often eye-wateringly funny (it is brilliantly and unapologetically ghostwritten by Ben Thompson – Jones is dyslexic, but went through edits) ... His book’s a delight.
His Sex Pistols years are chronicled but are not given any more or less space than anything else. Lonely Boy is the complete autobiography: unfailingly honest, presented warts and all ... He digs deep into his past, unearthing the effects of abuse and a broken family. Jones is introspective and matter-of-fact about his early years, not using his hardships as an excuse, but rather letting them provide a context for his later choices ... Jones frames his time with the Sex Pistols as a crash-and-burn sort of endeavor. But in presenting the band’s history, he effectively demystifies them. The band, which for so many years has lived largely in lore, is humanized here. We get to see the people behind the group, the struggles that came with becoming a symbol for punk youth, and the effects of having to live up to that image ... Lonely Boy is an eminently readable autobiography. Jones holds nothing back, his scars on display for all to see. Where his memory fails, he is honest about it. Where multiple viewpoints can be had, he is sure to make clear that his remembrance is his own and presented as such. Sex Pistols fan or not, Lonely Boy is an entertaining read that leaves no stone unturned.
...the book, like few other rock chronicles of recent vintage, actually reads the way its subject thinks. It’s arranged chronologically, but wanders off on assorted tangents and silly anecdotes. And it’s all written in an unaffected patois peppered with cockney slang and coarse language. Lonely Boy is also marked by a deep-seated well of pain that Jones seems to have only recently come to terms with ... The real meat of the book, naturally, is his recounting of the short history of the Sex Pistols. It’s well-trodden ground, but there’s actually some fresh insight to be found through Jones’ lens ... From there, the book quickly and messily limps to the finish line...For such an exuberant beginning, the rest feels pretty vacant.