BOOK REVIEW: Boys in the Trees by Carly Simon
I seriously regret that I’ve read this autobiography of the fabulous Carly Simon. She is one of my favorite female singers. Her album “Moonlight Serenade” is the choice CD in my collection. That CD includes some of my all-time favorite Tin Pan Alley tunes— “Moonlight Serenade,” “Moonglow,” and “Where or When”. On her album “Torch” she sings with unique passion the all-time classic, “Body and Soul.”
That ol’ maxim prevails: don’t put people on a pedestal—too often the pedestal crumbles. In her autobiography, Carly is candid to a crippling fault. Unabashedly, she tells us about her prolific sex life including the day she lost her virginity, her affair with actor Jack Nicholson, and perhaps even a lesbian relationship. There are dozens of other stories, and it leads one to believe that she fornicated her way to the top. At one point, she ponders whether she is a“slut.” If that is indeed the case, she waves it off with remarks such as, “Sex was up to me to define, and I’d do it my own way.”
In the copyright page, she pens, “The names and identifying characteristics of some persons described in this book have been changed, as have dates, places, and other details depicted in the book.” So, she fudges to protect some of the players. This statement seems hypocritical in light of the candid details she proffers.
I wondered how she could recall such intimate details going back to early childhood. Did she keep a diary? Or is this some of the narrative tomfoolery?
By page 183 I’d had enough and closed the book. I was overwhelmed with too much of her personal information—details that I don’t need (or want) to know.
On later reflection, I decided that I’m fine with not knowing more about her private life. I’ll stick with listening to her beautiful and intimate voice, which surpasses all else.