Springsteen, Bruce. “Born to Run”, Simon and Schuster, 2016.
In His Own Words
At the very beginning of “Born To Run”, Bruce Springsteen tells us, “Writing about yourself is a funny business…but in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.” It is then up to the reader to decide if he has succeeded in doing so. I suppose that also hinges on what the reader wants to know. We learn that what made Springsteen decide to write his own biography was when he, with his band, performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show in 2009. He was so exhilarated that he decided to write about it. During the last seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life and in doing so he writes with originality, humor and honesty. He gives insight into what it was that has driven him during his life and career and that includes “the motivations, the demons, the anxiety, the joys, the fears, the hopes, the dreams”, the very elements that we have heard in his music. He proves that not only can he write fine lyrics and music, he that he can also write fine prose. This is his story and he tells it in the way that it should be told.
Springsteen writes about growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey and seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He shares his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With honesty and candor, he tells us about the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we might have thought. While this is labeled as a memoir, it is so much more. It is a book anyone who has ever wanted to be part of rock and roll. Springsteen’s story is both intimate and personal and it shows that he knows a lot about people.
The book is written in short chapters and as we read, it is almost like being part of a conversation. Even though it comes in at 528 pages, it is an easy read. Because Springsteen has many of the same insecurities as many of us, we identify with him. He is a rebel and the writes in the language of one. Be prepared to be surprised by “Born to Run”. I was not expecting it to be nearly as good as it is.