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Small review of Piece By Piece in the New York Times
February 27, 2005

Updated Tue, Mar 01, 2005 - 6:29am ET

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You can read a short and not-so-positive review of the book Tori Amos:Piece By Piece from the February 27, 2005 edition of the New York Times.

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Thanks to Ellen, Richard Handal and kelly robinson for telling me about it. You can read it online at or below. Tori's book is covered in the last paragraph:

Sunday Book Review
Inside The List

By Dwight Garner

JUICED: If you want to sell an addiction memoir these days, the conventional wisdom holds, you'd better be prepared to lay out the lurid details -- the more gruesome the better. (James Frey's book, ''A Million Little Pieces,'' published in 2003, may be the one to beat for a while. It opens with the author missing four front teeth, wanted in three states and covered with ''a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood.'') Koren Zailckas has cannily taken the opposite tack. Her new memoir, ''Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood,'' which enters the hardcover nonfiction list this week at No. 10, is so poised and elegiac that she comes off as the Norah Jones of her plastered generation. No crime sprees, strip club jobs or spooky detox centers here. ''Smashed'' goes down with a slow, genteel burn. Zailckas, who is 24 and grew up in one of Boston's middle-class suburbs, coolly explains how she began drinking at 14, had her stomach pumped a few years later, threw up a lot, lost her virginity while blacked out and finally got sober at 22. Not a pretty story, but not a Belushi-level meltdown, either. Zailckas's failure to flame out in a more spectacular fashion has bugged some critics. As Rebecca Traister put it recently in Salon: ''A reader could easily close the book and say, 'That was her big drunken girlhood? I got drunker than her! Where's my book deal?' '' Zailckas got her $150,000 book deal, I suspect, because she is often a terrific writer, and one who knows how to frighten parents. ''I haven't met a girl yet who hasn't been interested in drinking,'' she writes in her memoir. ''Every time I've seen a bottle emerge, girls have followed it the way children follow Browning's Pied Piper of Hamelin: with small feet pattering, wooden shoes clattering, little hands clapping and little tongues chattering.''

BEWITCHED: Tori Amos, the flightily melodramatic singer-songwriter, doesn't admit to drinking anything much stronger than green tea in her new memoir, ''Tori Amos: Piece by Piece,'' written with the rock journalist Ann Powers. But the book, which makes its debut on the hardcover nonfiction list this week at No. 14, manages to feel whacked-out in plenty of other ways. Less an autobiography than a series of transcribed interviews, this memoir allows Amos to ramble on like Joseph Campbell channeling Glinda the Good Witch. (''When you start believing you are Aphrodite, or believing you are the Dark Prince, first of all, you have offended the Divine,'' she says in one typical passage.) Amos's fans, who have bought some 12 million of her albums, love her for this stuff. Everyone else may be scared straight, and lay off the green tea.

Posted by: Mikewhy

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