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From the Hardcover edition.
“You can’t fault his scrupulous candor.…A natural storyteller.” —London Sunday Times
“Sting mixes tenderness, sadness and humor in his narration, indulging readers with the same style of descriptive, pensive words that characterize his songs….Even readers unfamiliar with Sting’s music will find the book compelling.” —Associated Press “A beautifully styled, elegantly crafted and intelligent portrayal of Sting’s own life…[it] ranks on the highest shelf of literary debuts.” —Toronto Globe and Mail
“A first-rate memoir…Engrossing…With writing that is both witty and refreshingly self-deprecating, this book has pleasures that extend well beyond interest in the man’s music alone.” —People
“An engaging, lucidly written reminiscence…intellectually vigorous…elegant and thoughtful.” —Entertainment Weekly
From the Paperback edition.
Posted January 20, 2011
I Also Recommend:
It is true that I have been a Police fan since 1980, and was a fan of Sting over the years after their break up. I had a crush on him as a pre-teen and teenager. When they recently went on tour a couple of years ago after their 25 + year break-up, I made sure I had my ticket (much to my landlord's chagrin since rent was late due to the amount MSG charged for tickets). However, I have also been, for the last 20 years, a critic of his as well; I blamed his arrogance and egomania on the band's dissolution and thought some of his general public statements were of a man too big for his britches, although I still loved his music (which at times I felt was phoned in). So this review is completely about the book, regardless of my love for the music. However, in reading this autobiography I was carried away to a childhood from across the ocean, with dreams of becoming as good as one can be at their art. Being an "artist" myself, I can identify; the moments he talks about listening to music with a methodical and obsessive way to not only escape life but to become a better person are rich in detail, distinct and beautiful in prose. I can relate; it was to his music with the Police and Hendrix and Zappa and Supertramp that I did the same. For those who say that it is overly fluffy with long words, let's not forget that the man was a schoolteacher, who taught English; perhaps being an English major myself I had no problem with understanding his lyrical and candid writing. If it is picture books you want, go get one of many pop culture biographies out there; if you find the language difficult for some reason, then simply extend your knowledge base and use a dictionary if you must. But I recommend this book to everyone out there who has ever dreamt of becoming something greater than what they are. I do agree and hope that he writes a second book; one that discusses in the same lovely way the second half of his life. But, for now, I will enjoy this.
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Posted December 3, 2012
3.0 stars – good
Born to working class parents in the English port town of Wallsend, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was a smart, quiet boy with good grades who would become a teacher, get married and have a couple of children. This is the person we don’t know. The person we do know is a Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist, actor and philanthropist – who’s stage name is Sting.
Broken Music is Sting’s autobiography of his life leading up to the moment of his first real commercial success with The Police in 1978. The book takes us through the loneliness of his youth, the contentious marriage of his parents and the failings of his relationships. Sting is very open about his upbringing as well as his shortcomings, including his propensity to be seen as arrogant. It is a charge he doesn’t try very hard to dispute. What does become apparent is how his upbringing and experiences shaped not just his life, but his music as well. Success was not the product of overwhelming talent, but rather single-minded, dogged determination. And while he was never the best pure musician, Sting’s strength was in storytelling and performance. This probably forms from his love of literature.
“For to sit in a room full of books, and remember the stories they told you, and to know precisely where each one is located and what was happening in your life at time or where you were when you first read it is the languid and distilled pleasure of the connoisseur.”
I found Sting’s story very interesting in and of itself. The writing is solid, if not great. There are also a lot of distractive asides and jumps back and forth in time that make it difficult to follow the narrative. However, the biggest letdown is the incomplete nature of the autobiography. While Sting wrote Broken Music in 2003, he essentially ends the narrative at the end of the 1970’s just as The Police were hitting it big. Knowing that there are so many fascinating parts of his life left unmentioned – his break with the Police, his role in the movie Dune, his solo career, the 9/11 concert in Tuscany, and many more – it is a letdown to not get to experience his personal take on these watershed moments in his life.
So while I enjoyed what I did get to read in Broken Music, I was disappointed in what I didn’t get to read. It is a good, but incomplete look at a fascinating individual in popular culture. I just wish there could have been more.
Posted November 26, 2009
I had this book on my shelf for ages. I finally decided to read it and could not put it down. Then it was my husband's turn. We are not huge fans of Sting or his music but I will now pay closer attention. His story is worth reading and I have a new found respect for how he climbed to the top. I would recommend this book for anyone who loves a success story. Sting has our respect and we'll be urging our friends to read "Broken Music" too.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 10, 2009
Sting is a wonderful writer. I loved how the book made me feel we were in a conversation together. I only wish he went into more detail about his life after the Police. The ending was superb and I enjoyed the symbolism of the lake on his property.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 9, 2007
Could this book be filled with any more extensive and unusual words? It felt like I was reading a dictionary without the definitions. At first this was a turn off for the book but then I realized that this was one of the best songwriters of all time. Also, it tended to drag on longer than it should have. Other than that, a fantastic book that is guaranteed to satisfy any hardcore Sting fan.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 11, 2006
At first I had hard time believing this was really written by Sting, given that most celebrities hire a ghost writers to write the stories of theirs lives. The writing is truly exceptional, and far better than the writing of some classical writers I have attempted to read (i.e. Capote). The language is often poetic and the images described are therefore vivid. It is one of the best written books I have ever read, and have read my fair share. Despite the outstanding writing, however, the book could use some editing. For example, I did not need to read an entire chapter about a cruise Sting was working on. The chapter did not draw any meaningful conclusion that pertained to his life other than perhaps the illustration of his dislike towards pompous social elite. I Highly recommend this tale of struggle toward stardomWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 29, 2005
Just like his music, Sting seems to have mellowed with age. Mellowed to a dangerous state in which he may get near to being bland or boring. On these exquisite stories of his life, the reader (as well as the avid Police fan like me)welcomes the inroads we get into his secret self. They arouse interest and, at times, they touch you, like when you can feel his tears as he tells the story of his first girlfriend. However, I still feel that Sting has kept too much hidden, and has been too polite. It is commendable to be autocritical, and he probably feared a backlash such as the review given by Uncut, a fine magazine that clearly hates him as a whole, but, like with his best songs, we are ready to have our heart broken. To be stung, in fact. We need the release and the emotion that he has produced in the past. Since, like most writers, he will not revise this book and it will be all we get, I would like to express my wish that he lets go of all reserve when he deals with the next part of his life, that period in which he made with Andy and Stewart the album that changed my life: Reggatta de Blanc. Love, Ramón.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 14, 2005
Sting is not only a master songwriter, he is a brilliant author. I could not put this book down. I enjoy reading books that pique my interest and challenge my intellegence, and this book is no exception. I am always intrigued by anyone who accomplishes greatness; Sting is exceptional not only as a muscian, but as a great author. Get your dictionary ready.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 11, 2004
If you've loved his music, you'll enjoy seeing how Sting came to be. There's nothing here that amazes the reader, but rather leads you to understand his path to becoming a musician. Much of the story is generic, but it's always fascinating to observe an artist's determination and commitment needed over so many years, and the evolution of talent, that all leads to success.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 26, 2004
I have been a fan of Sting way back from his days with the Police and was very excited when his book came out. But the story is so long and drawn out with fancy english phrases, so much name dropping and what's up with no pictures?? I have never read an autobiograhy that didn't have pics of the subject. Very disappointed, would not recommend!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 3, 2004
This by far has been one my most enjoyable readings of the summer. I would have to agree with some of the reviewers here that this book makes the reader enjoy the story of an English boy who would become Sting. To be honest, I don't think that I would want to have this memoir written in any other way, there has been already enough written about the Police and Sting from a mass-culture viewpoint. It was nice to read the story written with the same wit, emotional intelligence and romance as his songs that we have all come to love. The narration flows, and the use of British English did not bother me at all. The book is not written at a 4th grade reading level, so if you can't read even such an enjoyable piece, then obviously such literary masterpieces as 'War and Piece' and 'Crime and Punishment' will always remain a mystery for you. My suggestion: work on your reading skills and don't hesitate to use a dictionary if you run into trouble understanding your native English. Thank you Sting for telling us your life story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 16, 2004
Sting & The Police are legends of the contemporary music. That IS a fact. So this book for starters relates the history of such legends. But Sting has also taken the narrative humoristic style of writers like David Sedaris or Anthony Bourdain and makes a funny paragraph out of every anectdote. Also, this book has very serious and moving moments. If I have a bad critic about this book it would be that it leaves out some details that fans would love to have at hand, but as I wrote before, this is a book intended for the general public. The biography of a man with a big talent who achieved great success. Thanks Mr. SumnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 10, 2004
This has to be the most boring music autobiography I have ever read. There were some poignant moments,but for the most part it seemed like he was trying to paint such a facade for himself (philisophical, cultured, etc.) that it seemed like there were a lot of things that he didn't want to talk about that were probably more revealing than he wanted to show. Also, he used the word 'detante' WAY too many times.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 22, 2004
Sting fans will need a dictionary to read this book, literary people won't bother, so I gave the book to literary friend, who now wants to borrow my Sting CDs, I told her 'To buy her own'.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 19, 2004
Posted November 26, 2003
Sting seems to pick the perfect word or phrase time after time when describing his experiences. His writing has an honest, lyrical quality that feels natural and not forced or labored. A real treat to read; I'm hoping he'll write some more!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 8, 2003
Okay.. so it's like Sting has listened to Dr. Phil and outlined his life moments. He does it so well that you will not be disappointed. I have been a fan of Sting since 1982.. We've all seen him construct himself as some sort of god..however, this story only proves he is human...(aren't we all) Sting removes himself from any pedestal and puts himself in the shoes of 'anyman.' He has taken a long hard path in life.. Us true fans will be here this time to really enjoy it.. Great read! (ps.. I cried and laughed hysterically at the Bingo incident and the commentary on electrocution.. thank you, Sting!)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 15, 2003
This book is written as beautifully as one of Sting's songs. I have a new appreciation for Sting and the never-ending tenacity he put into his career. He is obiously well-read and a wonderful wordsmith. This is not a tell-all book. Sting focuses on the events and time lines. He finds good in everything, particularly in his relationships and the ups and downs therein. His deprecating and wry humor puts a smile on your face.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 15, 2003
I really enjoyed reading this book. I actually finished the book in 2 days. I could have read it in 1 but I have 4 kids...I thought it was very interesting to read into the life of a man who is(besides insights through his music)a pretty private person. I thought his honesty and reflections were profound. I have been recommending it to my friends. When I give them the highlights of the book they all say they are going to buy it. I finished reading it wanting more and thinking that he still has a great deal more to write. I could have done without some of the profanity...otherwise very interesting for an old Police fan and always a Sting fan. I am a fan not only of the image but the person.....Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 28, 2003
Could this man be any sexier? Even as a child you can tell by that face he is going to achieve greatness. I recommend this book to all Sting fans, but also to those that want to explore someone's life that they never considered before.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.