a natural woman: a Memoir
Carole King Grand Central Publishing
I loved this book. It's honest and thoughtful and King has had an interesting life; she's candid about failed marriages and the damage that was done – from one marriage in particular. She clearly loves music – might seem an obvious thing to say, but she gushes like a fan in her description of meeting Paul McCartney backstage after attending his concert in the early 1990s.
She also has a great sense of history – having lived through a lot of pop-music history and of course creating some of it.
Then there's the songs. She knows her way to the heart of a song. And A Natural Woman tells the story behind the writing of so many pop hits – often mundane, it was work; or – remarkably – her and then-husband Gerry Goffin would work at home at night while raising children. They would write the songs from the 1960s we still sing today. Then there's Tapestry. A monumental album. After the early 1970s the book becomes less interesting – in terms of the music covered, because, there's no easy way to say this, King's music became (for the most part) less interesting.
But she knows that. She knows the early magic is what made her. And that she made it. And was so lucky and blessed. She also puts across a great work ethic. She wanted it. And that's a big part of why she got it. That and her ear for a melody; her sixth-sense for a hook.
And so when it becomes more about the abusive husband that stayed too long, that had King feeling trapped, well of course it is still a thoughtful and inspiring tale. And King is funny, self-effacing, relaxed in her tone – charming. So it is still a worthwhile read.
Oh but the first half of the book – just like the first half of her career: magic.
And we get some great segues – music and history, civil rights, the fall of nations, the death of John Lennon and other name musicians; King was there. She took it in.
This is a lovely memoir. Might seem a silly/ soppy/funny word for it: lovely. But that's what I thought – frequently – while reading this. Thoroughly worthwhile.