Review: More Room in a Broken Heart: The True Adventures of Carly Simon

Editorial Review - - Christine M

In MORE ROOM IN A BROKEN HEART, author Stephen Davis tells the life story of the iconic singersongwriter Carly Simon. Best known for her solo hits and her duets with former husband James Taylor, she made her debut on the national music scene at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where the thenhit TV show, “Hootenanny,” was being filmed. This was a nationally televised program that showcased ... Read full review

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This book in NOT an authorized biography of Carly Simon. It is a sleazy, hastily put together piece of fiction.
The author never interviewed Carly Simon, nor did she cooperate in any way about this
The author has dates wrong, he has plagerised from other books and in my opinion tried to come across as an insider in Carly Simon's life.
Don't waste your time or your money on this book... if you want to hear from Carly in her own words then buy one of her albums.

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As an intelligent person, avid reader, and a devoted fan of Carly Simon's for 40 years of my life, I am angered that this book is being released, let alone advertised as a love song to an American icon. This is no love song. This is more like a slap in the face to someone who does not deserve to be portrayed this way. Having seen much of the book, there are inaccuracies in virtually every chapter, AND most importantly, Carly Simon did NOT cooperate with this book, no matter what the publishing company is advertising. Peter Simon is the only Simon member who participated. I can't even imagine the betrayal that she must be feeling. Do not waste your time on this, unless you are a reader of fiction 

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I thought I would gain new insight into Carly Simon's life and extraordinary career by reading this book. I was wrong. As a fan who has read almost everything that has been printed about her through the years, I was disappointed in not only the content of this book, but the writing itself. Bland and uninteresting at times, the book never develops Carly as a human being. It merely narrates and rehashes what any Carly fan would already know.
There are timelines that don't make any sense and obvious blunders that make me question if Davis really did his homework. How could Carly meet Mick Jagger twice for the first time? How could Diana Hyland (Travolta's girlfriend) die in two different years? How could Carly have two children and then later be pregnant with her first child? Then there are explanations to her songs that are so weird, you wonder if the author ever even listened to any of the songs.
Whether you are a die-hard or casual fan, don't look here for any historical accuracy, new information or even an enjoyable read. Save your money, it is a bore. I found it perplexing that this book is called "a love song to an American icon". I thought some of it was just plain mean to Carly, James Taylor, Jim Hart, and others.
I was hoping for so much more from this book. I had hoped Carly might even do a book tour. Turns out she is extremely unhappy with this unauthorized project and wants nothing to do with it. Who could blame her?

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I, for one, am still waiting for a truly authoritative bio of Carly to come along. I won't be buying this rag. I can think of few people in the world whose life story is richer and more intriguing than Carly Simon's, just based on what she herself has revealed about her experiences over the years. Her struggles and triumphs are inspirational, as evidenced by the way they have enriched her music over the decades. Carly has shown extraordinary courage in mining her own emotional life to reveal universal truths about the human condition. She has succeeded in reaching her listeners so that they recognize themselves in her story. I know Carly's music has caused me to reflect on my own life and I know I'm not alone in this. I believe I am a better person for having taken Carly's music and message to heart at a young age.
Those same listeners who have been touched by Carly's music are the very souls Mr. Davis hopes to entice to buy this book. But he has a funny way of showing it. His analysis of Carly's music is some of the most shallow and useless stuff I've ever read. For instance, he reduces Carly's intensely reflective and transformative song, "Scar" to a "mastectomy two-step." Carly's use of metaphor is subtle and incisive, never cliche, always precise. Mr. Davis' interpretive skills simply aren't up to the challenge of shedding any light on her work. His overly literal understanding of Carly's lyrics leads him to describe "The Carter Family" as "a little waltz with verses about missing old friends and lovers, and especially Grandma, whose criticisms were usually wise." What? Any Carly fan I know could provide a more insightful perspective, so why pay good money to see this guy do a hatchet job?
Davis describes "We Just Got Here" as a song about just arriving back on Martha's Vineyard, when in reality it is a poignant song about the fleeting nature of time, with a bittersweet narrative about saying goodbye to the island and to a summer that went by too quickly. It's almost as if English is Mr. Davis' second language, and he is only just learning it. How else to explain getting this one so wrong? Perhaps he never listened to the song at all. That, I fear, is closer to the truth, and is all one needs to know about why this book is unable to speak with any authority whatsoever on its subject.
Carly listeners, as a group, respond to honesty, talent and the commitment to excellence exemplified in Carly's music. They appreciate the way Carly weaves complex layers of meaning into lyrics that sound so elegantly simple. They respect the way Carly's music is sometimes so honest that it takes us a little out of our comfort zone and forces us to see truths that we might rather sweep under the rug. Her music is all about truth. This is what Carly fans respect and expect. So why in the world would they buy this book?
How sad that Mr. Davis felt the need to tamper with the truth, and to do such shoddy and dishonest research. He abandoned the true, and the truly inspirational, in favor of the salacious and the juvenile. I guess you could say this is a reflection of the way our society seems to be going these days. But if you are a lover of Carly's music, I'm guessing that's not your style. I'm guessing that you, like me and many other Carly fans, would rather read a well-sourced bio, one that appreciates the many layers and dimensions of Carly's life and music.

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DO NOT buy this book thinking that it is a true biography or has Carly's approval in any way or form.
Based on statements given by several who have read an advance copy, please be aware that this
is NOT a authorized biography of Carly Simon. Carly had NO input to this book and is furious and upset with the untrue picture Davis paints of her within.
The book is a collection of uncredited quotes from other sources. The author did little original research of his own - what is the author's own actual contributions are fabrications. He additionally "borrowed" freely from other sources. Authors Sheila Weller (Girls Like Us) and Roger Friedman have both blogged about their concern and unhappiness that their researched and published works have been quoted in this book without citation.
The author did not interview Carly Simon, her family, nor her friends or ANY musicians or producers Carly has worked with over the 40+ years of her career.

All reviews - 9
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1 star - 4

All reviews - 9

All reviews - 9
Kirkus - 1