I feel the need to preface the gushing that's about to follow by saying that I am not a fan of nonfiction. It's not my thing for two reasons:
- I'm not generally interested in reading an entire book on a singular topic that's not an instructional guide. I lose interest quickly.
- I'm also not a fan of reading other people wax poetic about themselves and their lives. It's just not my thing. If I wanted to do that, I'd write about my own life. (Which is perhaps what this blog is for. So thank you for taking the time to read my drivel. You're an angel.)
As soon as I walked into the Barnes & Noble again, I was consumed with finding this book and buying it that day. I'd originally seen it featured upstairs and spent a good half hour searching it out before finally asking someone, "Look, I'm in a bind. I'm on a time schedule and I desperately need to find Anthony Kiedis's book, Scar Tissue. The computer search system isn't cooperating with me and I've got two small children who are unhappy. Where has it gone?" Lucky for me it wasn't sold out, it had been moved downstairs in the Rock books. Huzzah!
And still it took me a week or two more before I read it. I had two other books I was reading at the time, another of which was also nonfiction, and I was struggling. Thankfully, I finished one of the two books and cracked Scar Tissue open.
Right from the get go, I was drawn in by Kiedis's ability to make the reader feel as though you're simply having a conversation with him. At times I truly felt as though we were sitting together somewhere and I was listening to him recount his life for me. (Which, given his gorgeous voice, I really wouldn't mind if he was simply reading a grocery list.) His voice is clear, unique, and strong throughout the entire book. Kiedis is a capable and straightfoward writer - the book never loses momentum and everything is laid bare in equal detail for the reader to see. It's peppered with vulgarity, and yet it's never an unnecessary sort of vulgarity. It's not there for the sake of being shocking - many things that have happened to Kiedis are shocking enough - or being crass. It's simply that the word fits.
The most moving part of the book is his attitude toward life, and the sincerity and honesty with which he recounted his life and career with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I thought I admired and loved the band before? Even more so now. His experiences were eye-opening and the story of his life as a whole was not only touching, it was, for lack of a better word, very raw and real. I was able to relate on some levels to his struggles with addiction, having been there before myself, and despite the general obstacle of not even knowing this man, I felt empathetic toward him, finding myself laughing at some experiences and crying at others.
His reverence toward the women who have come and gone in his life is positively refreshing, and wholly unexpected given modern attitudes toward women, specifically those that populate Hollywood. The bond between Kiedis and his bandmates is clearly felt, even when retelling rough times between them. It's easy to see why the band has been one of the most influential of our time and clearly one of the most magnetic.
The back cover reads that it is "a story of dedication and debauchery, of intrigue and integrity, of recklessness and redemption." And it truly is; that and so very much more. I'm so glad I followed that sudden compulsion and picked up this book - I'm certain I'll be reading it again in the future.