The Beautiful Ones is for everyone ... It doesn't matter whether you're a Prince fanatic or if your interest is simply piqued by all things music or pop culture: The book is worth picking up ... not a read, but an experience, an immersion inside the mind of a musical genius. You are steeped in Prince's images, his words, his essence ... while it offers insight, the book may leave you feeling muddled – but that's not a negative. The way the book is structured simply makes one want to read it again, to leaf through the pages and be immersed in Prince's world ... The book can be a starting point for a Prince fascination, or a continuation of long-standing admiration. Either way, it will deepen the connection of any reader with the musical icon.
... unearthed pieces, including Prince’s handwritten song lyrics, photos captioned by the singer, personal mementos and an early treatment of the Purple Rain script, serve as the book’s heavy, heartbreaking center of gravity ... a curious, fantastically moving hybrid of scrapbook and fragmented memoir ... That it exists at all is remarkable. Prince’s carefully tended air of mystery had served as a force field, repelling any serious attempts at biography during his lifetime ... appealing and frank explorations of his childhood and high school romances and his parents’ troubled marriage and divorce ... Piepenbring finds Prince in the margins ... does not offer a clear-eyed view of who Prince really was — he would have hated that, but it illuminates more than it conceals.
... it's both a pleasure and a surprise to say that although The Beautiful Ones may not satisfy fans' wildest dreams, it delivers much, much more than we had any reason to expect ... Prince took the project very seriously, and it shows in the work he delivered. Although the actual autobiography segment of this book ends at the end of Prince's teens, it shines an intimate and revealing light on the least-known period of his life -- his childhood -- which is embellished with family photos, notes and other ephemera ... The book does not scrimp on detail ... While the photos, quotes and ephemera do a mostly satisfying job of concluding the book, the closing chapters are inevitably a bringdown after the revelations in the autobiographical section. But unless there are more pages lurking somewhere in Prince’s voluminous archives, this is all we’re going to get, and it’s a lot: The Beautiful Ones brings so much new information to light that it’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed.