Boys in Trees: A Memoir – by Carly Simon – independent book review – Autobiography

Instead of a slick memoir, full of the expected name dropping, Carly Simon‘s first person narrative offers surprising insights into the devastating impact of mental illness. Awarded three stars on Goodreads.

boystreesYes, there are references to the famous people who were part of her childhood, through her father’s connections as the founder of the publishing house Simon and Schuster. And yes, there are also appearances by music legends like Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Carole King — and other famous figures from Rock and Roll history. Even Actor Sean Connery makes an appearance.

But instead of walking away with a picture of the glamorous lives of internationally famous performers Carly Simon and James Taylor — I came away feeling empathetic. For the difficult lives this couple has led as the result of chronic depression. Taylor relied on substance abuse to escape. Simon, a lifelong stammerer, battled low self-esteem, guilt, and intense performance anxiety.

Carly Simon

Not surprisingly, I found the early years of Simon’s life much less interesting than her adult life. Once she began trying to establish a music career, the book became a quick read — with stories of record producers trying to bed aspiring young performers, love affairs and other less serious sexual encounters, and the blossoming of great talent.

For fans of Carly Simon AND James Taylor, reading this book will also provide interesting information about the origins of some of their song lyrics.

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