Men leave, fame fizzles, family breaks your heart…but Jones knows a good story and how to tell it.



A memoir from the veteran singer and songwriter whose long career has involved plenty of ups and downs.

Born in Chicago in 1954, Jones begins with vivid stories of her early childhood in Arizona, where her family moved in 1959. Throughout, she proves herself as engaging a storyteller on the page as in her songs. A peripatetic family life took her through countless schools. “Constant moving was my parents' version of running away,” she writes, “and this inclination was reinforced in me every year of my life.” She began hitchhiking early in her teens and was kicked out of high school, labeled “an undesirable element” by the reactionary vice principal, “the real life version of Dean Wormer of Animal House.” But California hippie culture awaited, and more good luck than bad considering her propensity for taking risks and numerous illicit substances—though the latter eventually bit back hard. “I was living a life enchanted by impossible connections, narrow escapes, and the perfect timing of curiously strong coincidences,” she writes, recounting the time she bumped into her cousin at a Jimi Hendrix concert. The great passions of her pop-star years—Lowell George, Dr. John, and, most of all, Tom Waits—still inspire dreamy prose arpeggios. "Now we were religions, we converted to each other, we inspired each other and we spoke in tongues,” she writes about Waits. “He growled, I cooed. He softened, I growled….We were jellyfish, floating from day to night.” Sadly, however, "the apex of my love life corresponds to the apex of my career success, and unfortunately my success corresponded with my drug use.” The high times petered out by 1983, when she quit drugs and “headed to France.” She chronicles her life since then, including marriage and motherhood, in just a few pages—a wise editorial choice.

Men leave, fame fizzles, family breaks your heart…but Jones knows a good story and how to tell it.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2712-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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