Sunday, December 6, 2015
Stories and Songs: Sounds Like Me
Simon & Schuster, 2015
I grew up in the world of music just as much as the world of books. Being in band from 5th grade all through college had a huge impact on my life, both in terms of skills I have and the person I am. It's a challenging thing to describe how music made so many changes, which I always thought was ironic considering how universal and uniting music can be.
But recently, I was able to find some words that give voice to my thoughts in Sara Bareilles' essay collection. In these eight essays, singer-songwriter Bareilles sheds light on her childhood, various aspects of her career as it has changed over the years, and how music has been there for it all, seeing her through. A few of the pieces are stories behind some of her songs ("Gravity", "Love Song", and "Brave" all get time in the spotlight), while others cut into the pain she's endured: her parents' divorce, her struggles in high school and later in the music industry, learning to find herself while living alone in Italy. There are high points, too, such as writing the music and lyrics for the 2016 Broadway musical Waitress.
Given her background in songwriting, essays were a perfect choice for Bareilles to try her hand at a longer format. There's an extremely conversational style to the writing which is reminiscent of the banter Bareilles is known for in between songs at her concerts. I've been lucky enough to see her perform live once on her Little Black Dress Tour, and hear her when she was on tour for this book. The event hosted by Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Illinois was enjoyable and I left with a big smile on my face. There's such comfort that comes with meeting another introvert! Also, I made her laugh when I met her in the signing line, which was a bonus.
If you like Sara's music, pick this book up. You'll laugh. You'll get misty eyes. You'll lose count of how many times she swears, but f-it, you won't mind (I sure as hell didn't haha). This was a quick read that I throughly enjoyed and I hope she picks up her pen again soon.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading.