[DiFranco's new memoir, 'No Walls and the Recurring Dream' is part feminist and social-justice manifesto, part bracing road story ... Readers looking for a definitive account of her life should be forewarned: 'I only ever intended this book to be the ‘making of’ story,' she says at its close ... Glam vignettes aside, a deep and thoughtful current runs throughout DiFranco’s memoir. She’s a longtime activist, and her book highlights the value and power of speaking up.
Ani DiFranco has spent decades challenging the status quo, standing up for what she believes and creating honest, raw music. Her memoir is an extension of these passions ... 'No Walls and the Recurring Dream,' is unapologetic, steadfast and vulnerable. The book also stands alone, for those who haven’t before encountered DiFranco. She is vulnerable in a way that is brave, she recognizes the imperfect moments in her existence just as she acknowledges her own triumphs. The honesty of her introspection encourages the reader to look internally as well ... You don’t have to be a staunch liberal or feminist to appreciate what she has to say and the stories she has to tell. DiFranco does a brilliant job of walking this line. She won’t sugarcoat her own opinions, but she also leaves room for a conversation to unfold.
... written in a style similar to Bob Dylan's Chronicles or Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run. There's a loose chronology, but mainly it's an act of mythic storytelling and perhaps a bit of down-low fence-mending ... This is a character-driven bildungsroman, not a properly straightforward set of factoids, which allows Ani's natural gift for the carnivalesque tale to really shine. Her swirling onstage impromptu has always been a gold standard, so it's no surprise that given some time for reflection and revision, she shows herself here as an exceptionally talented writer ... How wonderful that she has a chokehold on the generic human irony of her spectacularly one-of-a-kind position in music history ... presents a refreshed version of her self-concept that is both instantly recognizable as and clearly different from the flat icon we worshipped.