Publication Date: October 26, 2010 (Kindle Edition)
Life by Keith Richards and James Fox is a memoir. Keith Richards was born in 1943 in Dartford, Kent as the only child of Bert and Doris. He is the guitar player in the band the Rolling Stones. He is notorious for his drug use and also for the claim that the strangest thing he ever snorted was his father’s ashes. This book is about his life, the Rolling Stones, his drug use and everything else he thinks to talk about. Spoiler alert, he comes out of Life alive.
Before reading this autobiography, all I knew about Keith Richards is that he is a member of the Rolling Stones and played Captain Jack Sparrow’s father.
I was prepared to come to this review and give my honest and unabashed view of this book and its subject. I thought he was a jackass, and I hated how the book was written. He is very much a product of his time in the way he approaches certain subjects (stereotypes, race, etc.). It’s as though Richards sat down with a beer and rambled bouncing from subject to subject, and every word was taken down exactly and put in print. For example, he starts telling the story of how his parents met four times in the first 10 percent of the book only to move on to something else and within that 10% was the line “And then I met Mick” and Mick isn’t brought up at all again until much later. He jumps from thought to thought and from a time period to time period and back again. It’s disconcerting, and all the while he reads like a complete jerk.
I was going to talk about how much I disliked this book. Don’t get me wrong, I still do but while thinking about this review today and how I would present it, something struck me … this autobiography is very real. This is very likely exactly who Keith Richards is, and he embraced this project. He didn’t try to whitewash his image; he jumped in, feet first and said to the reader, “This is who I truly am”. I think we get an insight into Richards that the average celeb simply wouldn’t want us to see. There are points that come off as fuzzy to the reader in Richards’s eyes … the 1970s for example, one has to wonder how much he actually remembers of that decade.
At the end of the day, I would think that of any chronicle of the life of the Rolling Stones, this may be as close to the truth as it gets. Richards hides nothing … and if he has, I would not want to read what he felt unsuitable for print. This autobiography is very aptly named because it is truly the Life of Keith Richards.
I’d only recommend this book if you are a Keith Richards or Rolling Stones fan or if you are doing research into the effect of acid flashbacks on the human brain.