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After learning to play guitar at the age of ten, Shawn Colvin was determined to make a life in music—a decision that would send a small-town girl out on the open road for good. In 1997, two decades after she started, she got her big break. Like the troubled would-be arsonist and survivor of her smash hit "Sunny Came Home," Colvin knows a thing or two about heartache—and se After learning to play guitar at the age of ten, Shawn Colvin was determined to make a life in music—a decision that would send a small-town girl out on the open road for good. In 1997, two decades after she started, she got her big break. Like the troubled would-be arsonist and survivor of her smash hit "Sunny Came Home," Colvin knows a thing or two about heartache—and setting fires. Diamond in the Rough recounts this passionate musician's coming-of-age, from the prairies of South Dakota to the dark smoky bars in Austin, Texas, to the world stage at the Grammys. Humorous and deeply honest, Colvin relates the experiences behind her best-loved songs in vivid color in this memoir. Diamond in the Rough captures her years of touring cross-country in bands and vans full of guys; falling in and out of love; meeting heroes like Joni Mitchell; searching for her musical identity; and making friendships that would last a lifetime. It is also an unflinching account of Colvin's struggles—weathering addiction and depression, learning to care for not only herself but also a child—and, always, channeling those experiences into song. With the wit, lyricism, and empathy that have characterized Colvin's performances and inspired audiences worldwide, Diamond in the Rough looks back over a rich lifetime of highs and lows with stunning insight and candor. In its pages, we witness the inspiring story of a woman honing her artistry, finding her voice, and making herself whole.


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After learning to play guitar at the age of ten, Shawn Colvin was determined to make a life in music—a decision that would send a small-town girl out on the open road for good. In 1997, two decades after she started, she got her big break. Like the troubled would-be arsonist and survivor of her smash hit "Sunny Came Home," Colvin knows a thing or two about heartache—and se After learning to play guitar at the age of ten, Shawn Colvin was determined to make a life in music—a decision that would send a small-town girl out on the open road for good. In 1997, two decades after she started, she got her big break. Like the troubled would-be arsonist and survivor of her smash hit "Sunny Came Home," Colvin knows a thing or two about heartache—and setting fires. Diamond in the Rough recounts this passionate musician's coming-of-age, from the prairies of South Dakota to the dark smoky bars in Austin, Texas, to the world stage at the Grammys. Humorous and deeply honest, Colvin relates the experiences behind her best-loved songs in vivid color in this memoir. Diamond in the Rough captures her years of touring cross-country in bands and vans full of guys; falling in and out of love; meeting heroes like Joni Mitchell; searching for her musical identity; and making friendships that would last a lifetime. It is also an unflinching account of Colvin's struggles—weathering addiction and depression, learning to care for not only herself but also a child—and, always, channeling those experiences into song. With the wit, lyricism, and empathy that have characterized Colvin's performances and inspired audiences worldwide, Diamond in the Rough looks back over a rich lifetime of highs and lows with stunning insight and candor. In its pages, we witness the inspiring story of a woman honing her artistry, finding her voice, and making herself whole.

30 review for Diamond in the Rough: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    David A.

    I remember where I was when I first encountered Shawn Colvin. I was in a Best Buy in Bloomington, Illinois, in the spring of my freshman year. Her album Steady On was sitting on an end-cap display in the new music section; it looked good, and I was feeling consumeristic, so I bought it. I probably, quite frankly, put it on my Discover Card, as I was wont to do back then, which means I'm probably still paying for it. That being said, it was worth the money. Shawn Colvin's music has shown up at a l I remember where I was when I first encountered Shawn Colvin. I was in a Best Buy in Bloomington, Illinois, in the spring of my freshman year. Her album Steady On was sitting on an end-cap display in the new music section; it looked good, and I was feeling consumeristic, so I bought it. I probably, quite frankly, put it on my Discover Card, as I was wont to do back then, which means I'm probably still paying for it. That being said, it was worth the money. Shawn Colvin's music has shown up at a lot of significant moments in my life. Her cover of "Every Little Thing He Does Is Magic" was playing while my wife and I enjoyed a poolside meal at a resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, during our honeymoon. I sat with my sister on the floor of the student center at Northwestern University while Colvin moved effortlessly from her song "Polaroids" into the chorus of "Just My Imagination" by the Temptations. I bought her album Whole New You in a Borders Bookstore that no longer exists. And on September 11, 2001, I sought solace in her song "Cry Like an Angel" as I tried to make sense of the violent deaths of more than three thousand people. All the feelings associated with those moments came back when I learned that she had written a memoir, Diamond in the Rough. I gobbled it up and enjoyed every nibble, although I'm not sure I would have been as enthralled had I not already been a fan. Diamond in the Rough isn't so much a memoir, in the sense of a book that mines an event or setting or relationship for some universal meaning, as it is an autobiography. It's a book for fans, first and foremost. I don't mean that disrespectfully, but I do think if someone saw my four-star rating for a memoir and bought it without prior connection to Colvin, they'd be disappointed with their reading experience. That being said, it was, for me, a great reading experience. Colvin is a singer-songwriter, and such people are uniquely gifted storytellers, if not always the most articulate interpreters of stories. Songwriters tell stories in song, and so the meaning is usually intentionally obscured. Not so in a book, though: Colvin tells her life story compellingly, taking us through several distinct chapters--a childhood occasionally disrupted by family relocation; a young life on the road as a traveling musician; a more settled but arguably less stable life as a New York musician; an award-winning recording career; a post-major-label singer-songwriter's schedule--all with a through line that involves addiction, depression, anxiety and turbulent romantic relationships. No great surprises or big new insights here; we sadly have come to expect substance abuse, emotional hardship and complicated relationships of our celebrated artists. They're sad stories in many cases, but they're told here with the perspective of time passed and life recovered. Like a good storyteller Colvin can find the grace and humor in each chapter. I think one of the best reason for reading books by musicians and other artists (such as Steve Martin and Joe Jackson, for example) is the window such books provide into the artistic mind and the creative process. Colvin's songs are in the foreground of her later chapters--once she's committed herself to songwriting and recording. I learned a lot about the songs on Steady On that has since enriched my listening; I learned about her later albums as well, having my suspicions confirmed, for example, by her comments about the first line of "Polaroids": "Please no more therapy . . ." It's not just her music, of course; Colvin was part of what might be considered a folk renaissance in the late 1980s bleeding into the 1990s. Her experience writing with Jon Levanthal, touring with Buddy Miller, even just hanging out with Joni Mitchell offer insight into where artists find inspiration and how such inspiration is translated into something that can be received and embraced by an audience. It should by now be obvious that I struggle in vain to have objectivity about Shawn Colvin. More objective readers might write a more robust critique of her book. More power to them; me, I'll remember it fondly as a story that touches ever so faintly my own story. "If you could show me the story of love," she sings in "Climb On (a Back That's Strong)," "I would write it again and again." If she did, I would surely read it at least once.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sherri

    I have been a Shawn Colvin fan for over 10 years so I went into this with high hopes. As a memoir I think it is pretty well written, lots of personal stories and information. That being said, however, this is the first autobiography/biography that I think I like the subject less after reading their book. I still love her music but personally she comes across being quite self-centered (which she admits to) and blaming a lot of others for her problems. I would recommend this book just on it's insi I have been a Shawn Colvin fan for over 10 years so I went into this with high hopes. As a memoir I think it is pretty well written, lots of personal stories and information. That being said, however, this is the first autobiography/biography that I think I like the subject less after reading their book. I still love her music but personally she comes across being quite self-centered (which she admits to) and blaming a lot of others for her problems. I would recommend this book just on it's inside look at her music career.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)

    Thank you, Shelf Awareness! On a day when I was really in need of good news, I received notice that I had won this book. I'll get a little review up whenever I can get my hand to cooperate. Thank you, Shelf Awareness! On a day when I was really in need of good news, I received notice that I had won this book. I'll get a little review up whenever I can get my hand to cooperate.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jill Lapin-Zell

    I read this book in just two sittings. It was a thoroughly enjoyable swift read, because it is written purely from the heart. It is a gritty, no-holds-barred, brutally honest soul-baring confessional memoir that is at once uplifting and sad at the same time. The author speaks frankly about her battles with alcohol, depression, weight fluctuations, drug use, suicidal thoughts and a string of unfulfilling relationships (which are unfulfilling only because she admittedly struggles with self-esteem i I read this book in just two sittings. It was a thoroughly enjoyable swift read, because it is written purely from the heart. It is a gritty, no-holds-barred, brutally honest soul-baring confessional memoir that is at once uplifting and sad at the same time. The author speaks frankly about her battles with alcohol, depression, weight fluctuations, drug use, suicidal thoughts and a string of unfulfilling relationships (which are unfulfilling only because she admittedly struggles with self-esteem issues). So when she finally comes to terms with loving herself and finding her purpose in her music, it is quite emotionally fulfilling for the reader as well. Shawn’s story is more about her healing and recovery than it is about what she was recovering from. I have read so many confessionals written by musicians that come off as nothing more than one big “pity-party”, but this story is certainly not one of them. She writes about her struggles with wit and humor, adding such authenticity to her edgy style. She is originally from South Dakota, and although she lived in many parts of the country, she seems somewhat bitter about one place in particular, Carbondale IL. But who can blame her? She describes her junior high school as a prison, and seeing herself as the “new inmate”…unable to see what her crime was. Sadly, it was the fact that she had the misfortune of bad timing: being paired up with the practice of corporal punishment at a time when she was an emotionally fragile adolescent. I was particularly enthralled by hearing her speak with such passion about the folk music artists who were so influential to her: Joni Mitchell, The Kingston Trio, James Taylor, Judy Collins and Bob Dylan, because although I am not a musician myself, these artists were no less influential to me, albeit for different reasons. Something else which resonated deeply with me is how she sees the art of writing: Writing is like a sport. You have to show up, and you have to practice. Yes, there are times that are more or less convenient, and there are times when you are more or less motivated. But it’s about showing up. Some days the lyrics just start to come out from an unconscious part of you. Other times, you’re so conscious of them not coming out that you want to scream. Although she is talking about songwriting here, this applies to any form of writing whether it be poetry, novels or plays. I think there were two turning points in her life. One of them was the birth of her daughter, which brought her to the realization that there was a disconnect between herself and her own parents. I believe that it is not until we become parents ourselves, that we are able to see our relationship with our own parents with a sense of clarity we can’t have before that. But then again, hindsight is always 20/20. The other turning point in her life, I think, was when she realized that she was processing her struggles through her music. The result was an epiphany: I realized I was writing about getting sober, about coming alive, about claiming myself and uncovering these gifts that had been obscured by both external and internal forces, about this veil of confusion and dysfunction and addiction being peeled away, bit by bit. I would highly recommend this compelling story of a woman who battled through the darkest times in order to let her inner light shine through so that she could see the magic that happened when she found her real voice. Jill Lapin-Zell Author of Vanishing Into Life

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This book is pretty uneven (though that's also how I find Colvin's music - some of it I love, some of it I have to skip). She breezes quickly through her childhood, detailing a few formative experiences (which I thought was good - no reason to dwell too much there). But she sort of skimmed over the alcohol addiction part (and at one point she mentions drugs, but doesn't come back to it); she is candid about it but doesn't seem to be telling the whole story. While I respect her privacy, writing a This book is pretty uneven (though that's also how I find Colvin's music - some of it I love, some of it I have to skip). She breezes quickly through her childhood, detailing a few formative experiences (which I thought was good - no reason to dwell too much there). But she sort of skimmed over the alcohol addiction part (and at one point she mentions drugs, but doesn't come back to it); she is candid about it but doesn't seem to be telling the whole story. While I respect her privacy, writing a book like this was her choice and I do think that being more upfront might be more helpful to the reader. I felt the same way about some of her relationships. While she describes both her husbands, and explains her reasons for the marriages failing, I'd rather that she had shown us. She tells us about her commitment issues, but doesn't give examples of how they were overwhelming or caused problems. Again, some of this is probably out of respect for her privacy (as well as theirs), but I don't think that telling us how you felt in love - and falling out - is too much to ask of a singer-songwriter writing a biography. She dwells on a failed romance after her 2nd marriage almost as long as she does both marriages; it's a little tough to read because the person isn't named (I understand why), but I wish she could have brought the same candor to the parts where she discusses the people that she thought she'd be with forever. She does a great job with her depression. I think this is a must-read for anyone who's grappled with depression or mental-health issues. Colvin is upfront (though not too detailed - it's a good balance)about her own battles with depression and does a good job describing her feelings, how she is able to maintain her job and lifestyle while dealing with these issues. And I don't think she tells too much here (she maintains a level of distance). As someone who's followed her career since the beginning, it was also nice to read about the making of her albums and what ideas were behind the songs, her writing process, etc. If you're not familiar with her work, that may not be interesting to you, but she is a good songwriter. If you're a fan; a writer; or interested in depression and related issues, this is a good book for you. Otherwise, it's pacing is kind of uneven and you may not care enough to pick it up.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tom Franklin

    My wife and I have been fans of Shawn Colvin's music since her first album (er, CD) "Steady On" was released back in 1989. We saw her at least three times during that tour and we both could tell from her songs, her stage presence and the stories she told on stage that she had done a lot of living in her years. I had hoped that Colvin's autobiography, "Diamond in the Rough" would tell that story with a depth that her songs suggested she was capable of providing. Instead, I feel Colvin gave an over My wife and I have been fans of Shawn Colvin's music since her first album (er, CD) "Steady On" was released back in 1989. We saw her at least three times during that tour and we both could tell from her songs, her stage presence and the stories she told on stage that she had done a lot of living in her years. I had hoped that Colvin's autobiography, "Diamond in the Rough" would tell that story with a depth that her songs suggested she was capable of providing. Instead, I feel Colvin gave an overview of her life, spending time on some of the more important moments (feeling left out in Illinois as a child, finding music through her guitar, her two marriages, the birth of her daughter) but never getting too deep. When she writes about her drinking, depression, and panic attacks it is as if they're just brief emotional events. She writes a bit about beating alcohol, but devotes very few pages to it -- and none to beating depression and panic attacks, other than to mention the pharmaceuticals that have helped her regain her sense of self. (Similarly, her two divorces are mentioned in passing; the reasons behind them are given a sentence or two, if that.) Colvin opens and closes her book with events surrounding the breakup of her most recent relationship, a relationship with someone she won't name other than to call him her ex. While I certainly wasn't looking for a kiss-and-tell from Colvin, her reluctance to trust the reader enough with a name seems to sum up Colvin's writing about her life in general. I expected something more honest, more personally engaging and revealing about Colvin after following her music for over 20 years.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    Well, you cant accuse Shawn Colvin of not being honest in this memoir. Sometimes maybe she's just a little too honest, leaving me to wonder what her teenage daughter will think when she reads her mom's book. Overall though, a pleasant, quick read for the summer. If you're a fan of her music---which I am---there are some interesting insights into some of her songs. She spends a bit too much time chronicling all her failed relationships and her bouts with clinical depression. But I guess those thi Well, you cant accuse Shawn Colvin of not being honest in this memoir. Sometimes maybe she's just a little too honest, leaving me to wonder what her teenage daughter will think when she reads her mom's book. Overall though, a pleasant, quick read for the summer. If you're a fan of her music---which I am---there are some interesting insights into some of her songs. She spends a bit too much time chronicling all her failed relationships and her bouts with clinical depression. But I guess those things have been significant in her life so I suppose they're fair game.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Five stars for Shawn Colvin's music. Great start to this book with vivid details from her humble Midwestern upbringing to her arduous journey as multiple Grammy-winning artist. Brave and honest telling of her battle with depression, anti-depressants, and therapists. Humorous accounts of life with a band. Wonderful glimpse into the artist's process. And then there's the heartaches. The book could use a good editor, and the ending was somehow not resolved. Still, a must for any fan. Enjoyed it. Five stars for Shawn Colvin's music. Great start to this book with vivid details from her humble Midwestern upbringing to her arduous journey as multiple Grammy-winning artist. Brave and honest telling of her battle with depression, anti-depressants, and therapists. Humorous accounts of life with a band. Wonderful glimpse into the artist's process. And then there's the heartaches. The book could use a good editor, and the ending was somehow not resolved. Still, a must for any fan. Enjoyed it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robert Underwood

    Interesting and soul baring. Singer and songwriter Shawn Colvin is brutally honest about her struggles with addiction and depression. Goes in detail about her career, song writing, and various album recordings. Once again proves "overnight success" is nothing but a marketing tool as she had a 20 year career as a professional musician before 1997's A Few Small Repairs and it's breakout #1 single "Sunny Came Home". Interesting and soul baring. Singer and songwriter Shawn Colvin is brutally honest about her struggles with addiction and depression. Goes in detail about her career, song writing, and various album recordings. Once again proves "overnight success" is nothing but a marketing tool as she had a 20 year career as a professional musician before 1997's A Few Small Repairs and it's breakout #1 single "Sunny Came Home".

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Harrison

    I love books about artists discovering themselves and Colvin's memoir is no exception. What's even more fascinating is that she seemed to stumble into her career because she really wasn't good at anything else. She had a huge substance abuse problem, which will limit how much and what you can do, but she always found the energy for her guitar. She loved playing guitar and came from a musical family. She had some natural talent for melody. She could listen to a song on the radio and then play it. I love books about artists discovering themselves and Colvin's memoir is no exception. What's even more fascinating is that she seemed to stumble into her career because she really wasn't good at anything else. She had a huge substance abuse problem, which will limit how much and what you can do, but she always found the energy for her guitar. She loved playing guitar and came from a musical family. She had some natural talent for melody. She could listen to a song on the radio and then play it. But writing her own material was an uphill climb and she spent so many years playing in bars covering other singers. She has a beautiful voice, but she doesn't seem to know that. She says something like "I can carry a tune, I can stay in tune, I have a sturdy alto with decent octave range." And I am thinking "Don't you know how pretty your voice is?" That didn't seem to matter to her. She just loved the music. Playing it and singing it and gigging with friends. And also drinking. A lot. And falling in and out of love. A lot. Sounds fun, right? She put a rag-tag sort of life together singing and trying to write songs for a long time before she got a record contract. I was surprised at how difficult songwriting was for her. She mostly did lyrics and found a collaborator for the music. Somehow, from this, she forged a brilliant career. I won't spoil it by saying how. It sure was fun to read about. Why 4 not 5? Her writing skills are not great. Not terrible, and it's a terrific story, but at one point she says something like "I have never attempted to write something of this length. You probably guessed that." She's funny and honest and gives quite a bit of insight into one artist's meandering path to success beyong her wildest dreams. And I love those happy endings:)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kahn

    As you'd expect from a woman who's worked her way through most of America's psychiatric medications, this is not an in-depth book. It bounces about like a nervous moth, rarely settling on a subject for long as a fresh idea or thought rushes to the fore. But that's not a criticism. In doing this, you gain a further insight into the mind of the woman who gave the world one of my all-time favourite albums in A Few Small Repairs. Through tales of her childhood, the drinking years, the cleaned-up record As you'd expect from a woman who's worked her way through most of America's psychiatric medications, this is not an in-depth book. It bounces about like a nervous moth, rarely settling on a subject for long as a fresh idea or thought rushes to the fore. But that's not a criticism. In doing this, you gain a further insight into the mind of the woman who gave the world one of my all-time favourite albums in A Few Small Repairs. Through tales of her childhood, the drinking years, the cleaned-up recording artist, the mother, the double divorcee and the Grammy winner you learn how we came to be where we are - in effect, everything that has led to All Fall Down (her most recent album, and possibly best since AFSR). But it's in the style of the writing that you get to see who Shawn Colvin really is - and in that, this book gets closer to her than the stories manage. It makes the book that bit more personal, a step closer to the heart of the subject if you will. Which, like the author, is a rare delight.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Colvin's memoir will find success with her fans, musicians, and individuals struggling with depression and/or addiction. Colvin is utterly candid about her failures in relationships, her insecurities and need for attention, and her passion for fashion, and hints only mildly at confidence in her gifts as a musician. C'mon, girl, your first record won a Grammy. :-) I, personally, adore her music; she's such a gifted songwriter. Her writing style here is conversational; I want to call her up for a Colvin's memoir will find success with her fans, musicians, and individuals struggling with depression and/or addiction. Colvin is utterly candid about her failures in relationships, her insecurities and need for attention, and her passion for fashion, and hints only mildly at confidence in her gifts as a musician. C'mon, girl, your first record won a Grammy. :-) I, personally, adore her music; she's such a gifted songwriter. Her writing style here is conversational; I want to call her up for a coffee date. I was astounded by the depths of her struggles with depression and addiction, and often laughed out loud at her antics. She admits to a couple of "revenge" tactics that had me howling. She expresses that songwriting is indeed hard work. It is. And as a struggling songwriter, it's nice to hear that from someone I adore. Shawn, will you sign my copy at the Botanic Gardens in August? I'm coming to see you! :-)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Disclaimer: As a pro singer-songwriter who considers Shawn Colvin perhaps her biggest influence, I was extremely predisposed to love this book. And I pretty much did. It's more a memoir of her as a songwriter than as a person. There are personal details in there but nothing too deep. That said, she goes into her process a lot which I really appreciated from a songwriting standpoint. I've been 'on haitus' for a couple years and still go out to hear bands, etc. and nothing - until reading this boo Disclaimer: As a pro singer-songwriter who considers Shawn Colvin perhaps her biggest influence, I was extremely predisposed to love this book. And I pretty much did. It's more a memoir of her as a songwriter than as a person. There are personal details in there but nothing too deep. That said, she goes into her process a lot which I really appreciated from a songwriting standpoint. I've been 'on haitus' for a couple years and still go out to hear bands, etc. and nothing - until reading this book - has made me say - damn, I need to write again. As usual, Shawn inspires and I spent the weekend playing a lot of guitar. If you are a fan I think you will enjoy it but do not expect anything really salacious. This is more like sitting down with a friend to talk about songwriting with a side of life. Nice if that's your cup of tea.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Graham

    Enjoyed it immensely. She falls into her stride best when writing about writing songs and making music but the sense of overall personality you get are quite open and honest. Shawn Colvin turns out to be the non-bullshitter I imagined. And the insights into specific songs - And if there were no music, then I would not get through - and the absolute importance of music and performing to her are great. A rough adolescence, a descent into and recovery from substance abuse tied to a recognition of u Enjoyed it immensely. She falls into her stride best when writing about writing songs and making music but the sense of overall personality you get are quite open and honest. Shawn Colvin turns out to be the non-bullshitter I imagined. And the insights into specific songs - And if there were no music, then I would not get through - and the absolute importance of music and performing to her are great. A rough adolescence, a descent into and recovery from substance abuse tied to a recognition of underlying lifelong issues with depression make for an insightful and compelling read to someone who is a huge fan. I suspect I will return to the book again in the future. Shawn Colvin writes a book with an equally honest voice as she does her music.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Donna Golden

    I love memoirs, but I have been mostly disappointed with those written by celebrities/musicians. Too much self-absorption and name-dropping typically gets on my last nerve (Patty Smith's recent memoir comes to mind) and I come away not liking the author very much. Shawn Colvin certainly drops names (how can she not?), but I almost didn't notice since I was so captivated by her story and her "pen". I came away from the book feeling that I quite liked her. She is funny, candid, shoots from the hip I love memoirs, but I have been mostly disappointed with those written by celebrities/musicians. Too much self-absorption and name-dropping typically gets on my last nerve (Patty Smith's recent memoir comes to mind) and I come away not liking the author very much. Shawn Colvin certainly drops names (how can she not?), but I almost didn't notice since I was so captivated by her story and her "pen". I came away from the book feeling that I quite liked her. She is funny, candid, shoots from the hip, someone with whom I can certainly relate and empathize, on a number of different levels. If I love a book, I typically read it fast and am then left wanting for more. I read this book in less than a day, and that's exactly how I now feel.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    Shawn Colvin is a better singer-songwriter than she is an author but it was interesting to learn more about her life in this memoir. Shawn talks about her musical influences -- Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan among others - and recalls her tours, both solo and with a variety of musicians. She also talks candidly about her battles with alcoholism, anxiety and depression. She discusses her romantic interests including two failed marriages, her daughter Callie, and her love of clothes, which have eleva Shawn Colvin is a better singer-songwriter than she is an author but it was interesting to learn more about her life in this memoir. Shawn talks about her musical influences -- Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan among others - and recalls her tours, both solo and with a variety of musicians. She also talks candidly about her battles with alcoholism, anxiety and depression. She discusses her romantic interests including two failed marriages, her daughter Callie, and her love of clothes, which have elevated her spirits and inspired some of her songs. It was a fun read that gave me some insight to a singer whose music I enjoy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Love Shawn Colvin's music (she hooked me years ago with Avalanche),loved this book. I'm entranced by her self-deprecating humor and honesty about her life and relationships, and the gal can turn a phrase about all of it. I've marked passages to save (and maybe share) as she easily could have been describing me as much as herself in many of them. That to me is a hallmark of a good memoir--something and someone that you can totally relate to. Thank you, Shawn, for sharing you. Love Shawn Colvin's music (she hooked me years ago with Avalanche),loved this book. I'm entranced by her self-deprecating humor and honesty about her life and relationships, and the gal can turn a phrase about all of it. I've marked passages to save (and maybe share) as she easily could have been describing me as much as herself in many of them. That to me is a hallmark of a good memoir--something and someone that you can totally relate to. Thank you, Shawn, for sharing you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I wanted to like this book more, and I would have if Colvin had stuck with the personal, intimate tone she embraced in the early chapters. But the latter part of Diamond in the Rough devolved into a series of "this is how I wrote this song" and "this is how I broke up with this guy" descriptions that quickly grew tiresome. I wanted to like this book more, and I would have if Colvin had stuck with the personal, intimate tone she embraced in the early chapters. But the latter part of Diamond in the Rough devolved into a series of "this is how I wrote this song" and "this is how I broke up with this guy" descriptions that quickly grew tiresome.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carol Wakefield

    Yet another entertainer with a myriad of mental issues starting with depression and anxiety. And of course years of self medicating with alcohol, and of course years of unstable relationships. . The book jumps around in place and time. Early in the book she refers to AA. Next page drunk again. I began skimming. Sounds like she has a nice family. Poor them. Enough.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre Hanners

    I like her music. But the book is a yawner. I think it would be more interesting to focus on her mental/alcohol problems than the men. It read like an article for Seventeen Magazine - embarrassing not enlightening.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Maybe I enjoyed this so much because I am a fan of her music, but I found it rather fascinating. It was interesting to learn the origin of some of her lyrics, and get a glimpse at the song-writing process. Amazing how many musicians she has had the honor of collaborating with.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Ok. Not as good as reviews led me to believe. Boring

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sally Anne

    Very thin. Not really worth seeking out. Colvin has known some interesting people and had her share of challenges, but this book is mostly superficial.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Worley

    I thought I loved her before! What an amazing woman! What an amazing story!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    She's a great singer/songwriter but it didn't transfer with writing. She's a great singer/songwriter but it didn't transfer with writing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hillarystephenson

    i adore shawn colvin's songwriting, so somehow i thought i would love this memoir. but the writing is poor, and she seems more self-involved than i expected. i wish i could have given her more stars. i adore shawn colvin's songwriting, so somehow i thought i would love this memoir. but the writing is poor, and she seems more self-involved than i expected. i wish i could have given her more stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pcox

    Really superficial but it moved along.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Krysia

    An interesting look into the life of the musician, her career, and creative process. Fans of Shawn Colvin will like this the most.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Arabella

    For those who are already fans of Shawn Colvin's music, she penned a quick-read, witty memoir which certainly provides insight on her life story, struggles with addiction and anxiety, and her complete inability to cohabitate. Fans who have been following her entire career will take interest in the stories surrounding each of her albums, starting with 1989's Steady On and through her 2012 release, All Fall Down. While a bit disjointed at times (feels like her editor was on vacation through the la For those who are already fans of Shawn Colvin's music, she penned a quick-read, witty memoir which certainly provides insight on her life story, struggles with addiction and anxiety, and her complete inability to cohabitate. Fans who have been following her entire career will take interest in the stories surrounding each of her albums, starting with 1989's Steady On and through her 2012 release, All Fall Down. While a bit disjointed at times (feels like her editor was on vacation through the last half), I came to appreciate the jumping around, as it provides insight into her artistic process as well. Lots of juicy details about her song lyrics and writing style, for those interested in such things. While Colvin is a better songwriter than author, this memoir is a worthy effort from a talented artist.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Abby Rosmarin

    I'm torn about this memoir. On the one hand, Shawn Colvin has this amazing, sarcastic wit -- and when it shines, I gobble the pages up. But the pacing is off; what feels like vital pieces of her personal life are skimmed over, while the production aspect of her albums is written out in meticulous detail. Likewise, some chapters I couldn't stop reading (especially some of the last chapters, where the focus is more on her personal life), while others were a drag. In some ways, it feels like a more I'm torn about this memoir. On the one hand, Shawn Colvin has this amazing, sarcastic wit -- and when it shines, I gobble the pages up. But the pacing is off; what feels like vital pieces of her personal life are skimmed over, while the production aspect of her albums is written out in meticulous detail. Likewise, some chapters I couldn't stop reading (especially some of the last chapters, where the focus is more on her personal life), while others were a drag. In some ways, it feels like a more timid version of Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking, only with more focus on the technical aspect of her work. I'm happy to have read it, but I don't see me rereading it anytime soon.

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