Publisher: Atria Books
Date of publication: February 20th, 2018
Genre: Biography, Memoirs, LGBTQIA
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
In the bestselling tradition of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, Patti Smith’s Just Kids, and Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, the lead singer of the multiplatinum-selling band Scissor Sisters explores his evolution as a young artist: coming of age in the Pacific Northwest and Arizona, his entry into New York City’s electrifying, ever-changing music scene, and the Scissor Sisters’ rise as they reached international fame in the early 2000s.
Before hitting the stage as the lead singer of the iconic glam rock band Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears was Jason Sellards, a teenage boy in Arizona living a double life and unable to hide it any longer, resulting in a confusing and confining time in high school as his classmates bullied him and teachers showed little sympathy.
It wasn’t until years later, during a trip to visit a childhood friend in New York City, that Jake met a talented musician nicknamed Babydaddy—the stage name of Scott Hoffman. Jake had found a kindred spirit, someone thirsting for stardom and freedom. Their instant bond led them to form Scissor Sisters. First performing in the smoky gay nightclubs of New York City, then finding massive success in the United Kingdom, Scissor Sisters would become revered by the LGBTQ community, reach platinum status, and also win multiple accolades with hits like “Take Your Mama” and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’,” as well as their cult-favorite cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.”
Candid and courageous, Shears’s writing sings with the same powerful, spirited presence that he brings to his live performances. Following his development from a misfit boy who grew to a dazzling rock star, this entertaining and evocative memoir will be an inspiration to anyone with determination and a dream.
Trigger Warning: Drug use
I am not a fan of reviewing memoirs, biographies or autobiographies. I like to read them but ask me to review them, no thank you. So, how did I end up with Boys Keep Swinging? A mistake. I didn’t read the blurb before I decided to push the Read Now button on NetGalley. I was multitasking, which is pretty common. Plus, I loved the cover. Anyways, I will do my best not to bore you guys with this review.
Boys Keep Swinging is about Jake Shears. From his childhood on an island to finding fame with The Scissor Sisters, you can’t help but be drawn into the book. I was captivated from the first chapter and couldn’t put the book down. There were parts where I was giggling and other parts had me in tears.
Jake’s sense of humor came through strongly in this book. The humor in this book is a dry sort of humor, which I like. The snark is strong with this book and I loved it!!
I am going to admit, I have never heard of The Scissor Sisters before this book. But, they have made a new convert. Researching videos for this blog post, I came across the above YouTube video. Loved it. My 4-year-old daughter also loved it. She danced her little butt off for the entire hour and 8 minutes that the video played. She also has demanded that the “Skisser Sisters” be played on our Alexa/Echo. Nonstop….lol.
There are serious moments in the book. It wasn’t all humor. One of the sadder scenes was Jake coming out to his parents. I wanted to reach through the book and hug him. I am roughly the same age as Jake and sadly the attitude that his parents were the norm. I had a friend who crossdressed. He didn’t fully start doing it until I was a senior in high school, so 94-95. The day he wore a skirt to school, he was sent home. He showed up the next day in a dress and got beat up after school. He was supposed to go with us in our limo for prom as my friend’s “date“. I was pulled aside by the captain of the football team the day before and was threatened. “So and so better not show up. You, him and your friends will regret it“. I did stand up for him and told the captain to take his ego and shove it up his butt, but still. My friend didn’t go to the prom. He didn’t want anything to happen to us. I never saw him after high school and I often wonder what has happened to him :(.
I have read earlier reviews that have complained about the name dropping in the book. Honestly, it didn’t bother me. He was an up and coming musician that happened to befriend some famous people <shrug>. Didn’t affect my view of the book or the content that was written. Those people happened into his life and he chose to write about them. Hell, if I was friends with Elton John, I would be name dropping too…lol.
The end of the book was a bit melancholy. I can’t describe why but I did get a little sad reading it.
I am giving Boys Keep Swinging an Adult rating. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 21. There is sex (lots and lots of sex), language, some mild violence, and drug use. The drug use might trigger some people. Saying that I would recommend this book to family and friends but with a warning. I would read this again.
I would like to thank Atria Books for allowing me to read and review Boys Keep Swinging.
All opinions stated in this review of Boys Keep Swinging are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**