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LOVING AMY by Janis Winehouse


A Mother's Story

by Janis Winehouse

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-250-07849-0
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Winehouse’s candid memoir of life with her award-winning, bestselling, hugely talented, and desperately troubled daughter, Amy Winehouse (1983-2011).

Fans of the star and her music will snap this book up and read it from cover to cover in a couple of days. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in the stratospheric success of the musician, her publicly played-out drug and alcohol addictions, and her untimely death at the age of 27. The main narrative is sandwiched between a prologue and epilogue, adding to the sense of the drama it contains. This is a story already told from the perspective of her father, Mitch Winehouse, and recounted in various biographies and, recently, in the acclaimed documentary about her, Amy (2015). In the epilogue, the author makes clear that one of the reasons for writing this book, despite Amy asking her not to write such a book, was a desire to bring out the truth. It’s certainly questionable whether this is the whole truth. What this book does provide is the author’s perspective of life with her daughter as she grew up: “Amy was one of those rare people who made an impact. Right from the very beginning, when she was a toddler, she was loud and boisterous and scared and sensitive. She was a bundle of emotions, at times adorable and at times unbearable. All this is consistent with the struggle she went through to overcome the addictions that eventually robbed her of her life.” The author offers some delightful and illuminating moments from her daughter’s life, but it is hard not to wonder whose record is being set straight. Unfortunately, much of the narrative is a depressing account of Amy’s illness and addictions rather than a celebration of her whole life.

Although this book may help others going through the heartbreak of addiction, readers may wonder whether it is helpful to the legacy of Amy Winehouse herself.