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THE LANDMARK MEMOIR OF A GLOBAL MUSIC ICON Sinéad O'Connor's voice and trademark shaved head made her famous by the age of twenty-one. Her recording of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U made her a global icon. She outraged millions when she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II on American television. O'Connor was unapologetic and impossible to ignore, calling out hypocrisy THE LANDMARK MEMOIR OF A GLOBAL MUSIC ICON Sinéad O'Connor's voice and trademark shaved head made her famous by the age of twenty-one. Her recording of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U made her a global icon. She outraged millions when she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II on American television. O'Connor was unapologetic and impossible to ignore, calling out hypocrisy wherever she saw it. She has remained that way for three decades. Now, in Rememberings, O'Connor tells her story - the heartache of growing up in a family falling apart; her early forays into the Dublin music scene; her adventures and misadventures in the world of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll; the fulfilment of being a mother; her ongoing spiritual quest - and through it all, her abiding passion for music. Rememberings is intimate, replete with candid anecdotes and full of hard-won insights. It is a unique and remarkable chronicle by a unique and remarkable artist.


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THE LANDMARK MEMOIR OF A GLOBAL MUSIC ICON Sinéad O'Connor's voice and trademark shaved head made her famous by the age of twenty-one. Her recording of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U made her a global icon. She outraged millions when she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II on American television. O'Connor was unapologetic and impossible to ignore, calling out hypocrisy THE LANDMARK MEMOIR OF A GLOBAL MUSIC ICON Sinéad O'Connor's voice and trademark shaved head made her famous by the age of twenty-one. Her recording of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U made her a global icon. She outraged millions when she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II on American television. O'Connor was unapologetic and impossible to ignore, calling out hypocrisy wherever she saw it. She has remained that way for three decades. Now, in Rememberings, O'Connor tells her story - the heartache of growing up in a family falling apart; her early forays into the Dublin music scene; her adventures and misadventures in the world of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll; the fulfilment of being a mother; her ongoing spiritual quest - and through it all, her abiding passion for music. Rememberings is intimate, replete with candid anecdotes and full of hard-won insights. It is a unique and remarkable chronicle by a unique and remarkable artist.

30 review for Rememberings

  1. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    This is a roller coaster of a read. It’s emotional, sometimes funny, angry, confused, strong but also vulnerable, the full range of her personality that comes across in her singing. I bought her first album when it came out and Troy is still one of my favourite songs. I followed her career and knew bits and pieces about her life so I was interested to read this. It doesn’t shy away from the controversies or her health issues.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Drew

    I literally kissed the book when I finished it. If that gives you an idea of how much I loved reading it. Thank you Sinead for writing it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    I caught the music video for Sinéad O’Connor’s cover of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U on TV as a young child, and I never forgot it: That iconic close-up of a beautiful woman with a shaved head and powerful voice, intensely staring at the viewer with two solitary tears of longing rolling down her cheeks. Over twenty years later, I decided that this memoir presented the perfect opportunity to finally dig deeper into her discography, and learn more about an intriguing artist who, time and time aga I caught the music video for Sinéad O’Connor’s cover of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U on TV as a young child, and I never forgot it: That iconic close-up of a beautiful woman with a shaved head and powerful voice, intensely staring at the viewer with two solitary tears of longing rolling down her cheeks. Over twenty years later, I decided that this memoir presented the perfect opportunity to finally dig deeper into her discography, and learn more about an intriguing artist who, time and time again, has been at best misunderstood, and at worst vilified by the media because of her mental health issues, and controversial actions to call out hypocrisy. I knew virtually nothing about Sinéad’s life and music going in, yet Rememberings was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be, based entirely on what the mostly unkindly media has taught me about her over the years: Authentic, rambling, and unusual. Which aren’t necessarily bad things—but coupled with her mix of self-confidence and self-deprecation, the result is an incredibly conversational, somewhat repetitive, and very scattered memoir. She writes about her past life in the present tense, which was a peculiar choice, and poetic passages alternate with ones where she uses words such as “ain’t”, “dunno”, and fourteen instances of the slang word “square” throughout the book, which sounds nothing short of archaic, but endearing in an odd sort of way. To be fair, she does warn that she’s written it as if she were having a conversation with the reader right up front—and that due to her mental health issues, a good chunk of her life won’t be covered, because she can’t (or doesn’t want to?) remember (or share). “My intention was to put all the pieces of the jigsaw that was me out on the floor and see if I could put it together. To be understood was my desire. Along with that was my desire not to have the ignorant tell my story when I’m gone. Which was what would have happened had I not told it myself.” From a narrative standpoint, the beginning is the strongest and most linear: She covers her childhood, upbringing, emotionally and physically abusive mother, and how she came to music, more or less up to the immediate aftermath of her tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II on SNL. What follows does the book title justice: It becomes more of a collection of scattered anecdotes, in turn funny, insightful, mystical, or just plain eccentric. There’s a chapter about a bizarre evening at Prince’s house, she gives context to each album in her back-catalogue, reflecting back to those times in her life, and she touches on her mental breakdown from a few years back, as well as the horrendous Dr. Phil interview—not in much depth, but offering her perspective with candor. She writes from a place of honesty and has remained true to herself despite many changes throughout the years, but even so, she’s a bundle of contradictions: for instance, she refers to herself as asexual, but she talks about being sexually attracted to all sorts of people throughout the book. Along with music, motherhood and spirituality are the most important aspects of her life. Her ongoing, life-long spiritual quest (she may have waged war against the Catholic Church, but she’s an ordained priest in a breakaway sect, deeply interested in Rastafarianism, and has most recently converted to Islam…) is something I cannot relate to at all, which is probably why I didn’t enjoy the memoir quite enough to say “I liked it”. The book seems almost to be written for her own benefit rather than for a wider audience—it’s full of what are essentially short tributes to her collaborators, lovers, husbands, children, and their fathers, and it reads like an attempt to put misunderstandings aside. Someone who is already a fan of her work will probably get something out of this; anyone who dislikes her won’t be swayed; and someone interested and open-minded, but with a more or less blank slate, like me, will likely fall somewhere in the middle. Rememberings probably won’t be remembered, but I am writing this as a newly converted (albeit casual) fan of her musical oeuvre, and I appreciate it for opening that door for me. I think she's an intense and interesting soul, but she conveys it best in her music. ————— Note: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I always admired and loved Sinead O’Connor’s artistry. Her punk attitude and convictions in my opinion making her stand out for all the right reasons. The public turning on he after her controversial stint on SNL leaving an indelible mark on her future in the public eye. She basically burnt her own bridges . I love that she stands by her actions and never apologised or backed down, it might have ruined her career but she made her statement in the most effective way possible. Screw the haters! Th I always admired and loved Sinead O’Connor’s artistry. Her punk attitude and convictions in my opinion making her stand out for all the right reasons. The public turning on he after her controversial stint on SNL leaving an indelible mark on her future in the public eye. She basically burnt her own bridges . I love that she stands by her actions and never apologised or backed down, it might have ruined her career but she made her statement in the most effective way possible. Screw the haters! There’s no doubt after reading this book that Sinead is deeply troubled but after reading this I also feel comfortable that she’s ok with it. She is making peace with herself. Her explanation of her upbringing giving you a better understanding of what might have caused her deep psychological distress and trauma. Despite gaps in her memory and some dubious recollections (the Prince story in particular was just straight out whack). I find Sinead sincere she proudly and openly discusses her many mental health challenges, she uses her pain and translates it into her music, her voice cuts through with a force and magic that is stunningly haunting, that is her power.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    The Prince chapter though.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    Sinead O'Connor's curious mix of self-confidence and sef-hatred, combined with a very Irish aversion to adulation, has made her one of our most misunderstood artists. In ''Remeberings" she is alternately audacious, uncertain, and mystical; it's powerful to hear her embrace these contradictions rather than tie them into an uncomplicated bow. Sinead O'Connor's curious mix of self-confidence and sef-hatred, combined with a very Irish aversion to adulation, has made her one of our most misunderstood artists. In ''Remeberings" she is alternately audacious, uncertain, and mystical; it's powerful to hear her embrace these contradictions rather than tie them into an uncomplicated bow.

  7. 4 out of 5

    alexa

    over the past few months, i've become more and more entranced by sinéad o'connor. her strength, her integrity, her bewitching voice, her wicked sense of humor. my friend gave me the arc for this, and i was so honored i could have cried. it's a difficult memoir, sometimes brilliant and sometimes sharp, sometimes clear and sometimes muddled, but it's completely sinéad. it'll never happen but i'd just love so much to meet her someday and ask her questions. over the past few months, i've become more and more entranced by sinéad o'connor. her strength, her integrity, her bewitching voice, her wicked sense of humor. my friend gave me the arc for this, and i was so honored i could have cried. it's a difficult memoir, sometimes brilliant and sometimes sharp, sometimes clear and sometimes muddled, but it's completely sinéad. it'll never happen but i'd just love so much to meet her someday and ask her questions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aoife McMenamin

    Sinéad O’Connor was massive when we were kids. Anyone my age will remember the first time they heard Mandinka or Nothing Compares 2U. Her voice was so unique, really sensational. I still love to play her music really loud. This is her memoir, published a few weeks ago. I listened to the audiobook. The laughs, the anger and the moments where the emotion catches in her throat - you get it all, it’s immersive, and I found it sad. I thought the first half of the book was compelling. Sinéad tells us a Sinéad O’Connor was massive when we were kids. Anyone my age will remember the first time they heard Mandinka or Nothing Compares 2U. Her voice was so unique, really sensational. I still love to play her music really loud. This is her memoir, published a few weeks ago. I listened to the audiobook. The laughs, the anger and the moments where the emotion catches in her throat - you get it all, it’s immersive, and I found it sad. I thought the first half of the book was compelling. Sinéad tells us about her upbringing, the early days of her music career and the birth of her first child. She had a tough upbringing and the abuse she endured at the hands of her mother would break your heart. She goes into great detail on the making of her records and her inspirations which I enjoyed. There is a fascinating and truly bizarre story in the book about her encounter with Prince. It is pure gold. In fact, I’d nearly have read the whole book just to read that story. I respect Sinéad and the stance she took in speaking out about the cover up of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church at a time in Ireland when it was completely taboo. She was vilified by sections of society and the media, and treated as a pariah when really she was the only one telling it like it was. The second half of the book drifted though. The second half (actually, scratch that - quite a lot of the book) is taken up with her own personal faith in god, and her dabbling in Rastafarianism before ultimately converting to Islam. Each to their own but it was too much for me. It felt almost voyeuristic at times listening to some of it, her vulnerability is palpable, despite her tough exterior. I wish Sinéad well, I hope she has a network of really supportive people around her. I could not rate this book. I thought it was brilliant in parts, inconsistent and rambling in others. Sinéad is a unique talent and a unique person, and I’m glad I read it. The book is authentically Sinéad.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    An incredibly raw, painful, angry, beautiful and honest memoir. I loved her writing style which is changeable for the different eras, and as she explains, she wrote different parts at different times. I much preferred this to some of the polished (possibly ghost written) memoirs that are around as I could really imagine her telling these stories to a friend. Yes there are bits missing and it's somewhat disjointed at times but I felt this style reflected her true self. The childhood abuse she had An incredibly raw, painful, angry, beautiful and honest memoir. I loved her writing style which is changeable for the different eras, and as she explains, she wrote different parts at different times. I much preferred this to some of the polished (possibly ghost written) memoirs that are around as I could really imagine her telling these stories to a friend. Yes there are bits missing and it's somewhat disjointed at times but I felt this style reflected her true self. The childhood abuse she had suffered is horrendous. Some of the music industry stories are shocking (the Prince chapter!) and the experiences of being an outspoken woman in the music industry. Some bits I had to read out loud laughing such as the divas not allowed to poo on a tour bus, skinheads in phonebox and turning up to a protest against herself. Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and author for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth☮

    I can remember when "Mandinka" hit the airwaves. I can recall how we all loved Sinead's shaved head and her Docs along with her powerful voice. I saw her live when she toured for her second album "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got." It's in my top five best concerts I've ever attended. Her voice is just so amazing. I even wrote about it for a college paper. I can remember when "Universal Mother" was released. I visited my friend at Record Bar (record store) and I listened to it at the listening s I can remember when "Mandinka" hit the airwaves. I can recall how we all loved Sinead's shaved head and her Docs along with her powerful voice. I saw her live when she toured for her second album "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got." It's in my top five best concerts I've ever attended. Her voice is just so amazing. I even wrote about it for a college paper. I can remember when "Universal Mother" was released. I visited my friend at Record Bar (record store) and I listened to it at the listening station beginning to end. I fell in love. I can recall my stunned silence at the end of her SNL performance when she ripped up the picture of the Pope. I'm telling you all of this so you understand that I am a fan of O'Connor. I've stuck with her through all of her ups and downs. This book is divided into three sections. I have to say that I liked the first third the best. She chronicles her erratic childhood and adolescence. It seems living with her mom was a toxic situation that caused a lot of pain that, perhaps, O'Connor hasn't fully resolved. Interestingly, she spends the least amount of time chronicling her music. She discusses each album with minimal insight. This is what I would have liked to spend more time delving into - her writing process. The final bits feel extraneous. What feels like a natural end is not where the book stops. Instead, we get her musings on each of her children, how she visits centers for senior citizens that don't have family that visits, her love of smoking marijuana and her dubious interview with Dr. Phil.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Carter

    Published June 1, 2021 This is not your typical memoir, which is perfect because Sinead is very unique. The first part of the memoir she reveals stories of her childhood which I was really interested in learning about. Also shocked by how difficult she had it. Her mother made her take off all her clothes and lie on the floor and open her legs and arms and let her hit her with the sweeping brush in her private parts. at the end of the school year Sinead had to pretend to lose her field hockey stick Published June 1, 2021 This is not your typical memoir, which is perfect because Sinead is very unique. The first part of the memoir she reveals stories of her childhood which I was really interested in learning about. Also shocked by how difficult she had it. Her mother made her take off all her clothes and lie on the floor and open her legs and arms and let her hit her with the sweeping brush in her private parts. at the end of the school year Sinead had to pretend to lose her field hockey stick because she knew that if she brought it home her mother would hit her with it all summer. When frightened, Sinead would find bits of paper and write out her feelings because she wasn’t allowed to say she was angry at her mother. She would write and then tear the pages into tiny pieces and eat them so her mother wouldn’t be able to find them. This is so powerful: talk about stuffing your feelings, or eating your words. Her mother was also addicted to stealing and Sinead also did a lot of stealing. Her mother and her even using charity cans to collect money for themselves. Reading this book made me go back and listen to her earlier albums which I haven’t listened to in quite some time, not since back when they first came out in the late 80s and early 90s. Her albums I most enjoy now are: Sean-Nos Nua, Am I Not Your Girl, and Throw Down Your Arms. In the middle part of the book, she shares some of her experiences. One being about Prince who she refers to as “Fluffy Cuffs” which I thought a funny reference. another story about Doctor Phil and how he treated her—which comes as no surprise to me. I have never been a fan of Doctor Phil’s. My impression of him has always been one of he’s an asshole. Sinead is and has always been a spiritual seeker, and states that she’s not a pop star but a protest singer. Her anger at her mother was often misplaced and her intention had always been to do destroy her mother’s photo of the Pope. In the third part of the book, she lists each album and talks about why she wrote certain songs and why she recorded certain albums. This is a great memoir by a great singer!

  12. 4 out of 5

    ocelia

    I will admit, for the sake of anyone thinking about reading this, that it is not the most perfectly crafted memoir. kind of choppy and a little repetitive. but sinead talks like someone I want to listen to (she’s a sagittarius) and I am predisposed to adore her. she has a very good (very irish) sense of humor and I like the way she describes the boys she falls in love with

  13. 4 out of 5

    Josephine Quealy

    So I was always going to love this book because I love Sinead and although I'd like to think that I'd still be able to identify SCHITTe writing no matter my SLAVISH DEVOTION to the writer, I'm not sure that in her case I could or would. Lots of you are not going to like Rememberings: it's too scattered; the writing feels too first draft; there's too many missing chunks of time, of life, of *Newman voice* information ; themes are spooled out and never wound in; time is difficult to follow becau So I was always going to love this book because I love Sinead and although I'd like to think that I'd still be able to identify SCHITTe writing no matter my SLAVISH DEVOTION to the writer, I'm not sure that in her case I could or would. Lots of you are not going to like Rememberings: it's too scattered; the writing feels too first draft; there's too many missing chunks of time, of life, of *Newman voice* information ; themes are spooled out and never wound in; time is difficult to follow because everything is told in the present tense. Maybe you'll even feel at time she sounds too grandiose. And there's an anecdote where she seems to mix up Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, which I'm surprised made it through editing. And it's annoying how she talks us through what each of her albums is about and the songs on them but skips over The Wolf is Getting Married or 8 Good Reasons or even The Emperor's New Clothes. Okay, maybe she's allowed to do that. And all of these things are true but the title of the book is Rememberings, so it already warns you it's going to be fragments, and at least Sinead writes like she's trying to be a real, actual person, not preserve some mythological standing, and anyway she tells you that if you want to know about her life just listen to her songs, and my own beloved stepmother is dying and I have had no contact with the family of my (also beloved) dad since he died (mostly; a nasty email here and there, reminding me what a shame I would be to him, doesn't count) so there are things in her life that I feel connected to, and I don't feel like writing reviews so read the book yourself. Love it or loathe it, it'll all be over quickly. Just a little prick.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Zora

    I love you Sinead! Thanks for the songs, & now your rememberings, full of laughter, pain, horniness, rebellion, love and music.

  15. 5 out of 5

    William (Bill) Fluke

    YIKES!!! Most of the press and coverage of Sinead O’Connor ( esp. since the Pope picture ripping incident on SNL in 1992) paints her as bizarre and controversial. Though interviews around the release of this autobiography speak to her “being healthy” finally, after reading this book I am not convinced she is anywhere near “healthy”. Like many autobiographies by non authors, the writing is more in her spoken language (Irish slang and all) and the tense used is confusing (mostly present tense whic YIKES!!! Most of the press and coverage of Sinead O’Connor ( esp. since the Pope picture ripping incident on SNL in 1992) paints her as bizarre and controversial. Though interviews around the release of this autobiography speak to her “being healthy” finally, after reading this book I am not convinced she is anywhere near “healthy”. Like many autobiographies by non authors, the writing is more in her spoken language (Irish slang and all) and the tense used is confusing (mostly present tense which makes you unsure as to whether this is how she perceived events in her life at that time or as she sees them now). It is likely both- as she was and as she is- since while she speaks of undergoing much treatment and consideration of her mental health, Sinead is unapologetic of her life. She takes shots at many people in the music industry and in her life ( including Prince and Dr Phil) and embraces/ holds-up favorably an odd assortment of characters. It is very strange to read of her having four children by four different fathers - only one whom she married- and how she perceived herself as a mother ( seems like she regards herself as a good one) and “relationships “ with these fathers. She give details of each child’s conception and seems to label herself as a slut with pride. Very strange. Along with her spoken style of writing comes a choppy and non- linear organization of material. Skip the section where she recounts each of her albums as who knew she had put out this many. Plenty of assorted “nuggets” that give you pause: her mom driving into oncoming traffic with her in passenger seat in an attempt to harm her; her rebellious behaviors like stealing ( with seemingly no regrets); a discussion about going number 2 on tour busses; a very odd encounter with Prince that includes a pillow fight with him and a “loaded” pillow (Prince might have been as bonkers as Sinead); some very odd stories of her reverence for Muhammad Ali and guardian angel encounters.; and her love of weed and need to smoke cigarettes constantly. The book ends with her story of seeking mental health treatment in the US including some intervention by Dr Phil but that whole tale just makes you wonder how she isn’t still a resident in a psych ward. I am by no means lacking compassion for those with mental health issues. It’s just the bravado or naivety that O’ Connor approaches her mental illness that leaves you saying- YIKES. I wish her well and hope she does not return to recording or touring as I suspect she would be better off staying away from the public pressures.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Blake

    Categories: Celebrity tell-some / Apparently asexual / Behind the lyrics, further than the fame • I was pleasantly surprised by how well written this book was - at least for the majority of it. I guess it makes sense, given Sinéad O'Connor's lyric-writing ability, that she can weave words together with some degree of aptitude. I really enjoyed learning about her childhood (if 'enjoyed' is the right word), and her voice was endearing. It felt like having a cup of tea and a natter with a friend - th Categories: Celebrity tell-some / Apparently asexual / Behind the lyrics, further than the fame • I was pleasantly surprised by how well written this book was - at least for the majority of it. I guess it makes sense, given Sinéad O'Connor's lyric-writing ability, that she can weave words together with some degree of aptitude. I really enjoyed learning about her childhood (if 'enjoyed' is the right word), and her voice was endearing. It felt like having a cup of tea and a natter with a friend - the kind of friend where they do all the talking and you nod and make polite murmurings every now and then, but a friend nonetheless. Of course, there's always the knowledge that you have to take any of these sorts of memoirs with a pinch of salt. Memory is a funny thing, and you can't always take what's written down at face-value. Some parts did feel a bit sensationalist, but much like that talkative friend, you just take it in stride and enjoy the tales for what they’re worth. Up until about 75% through, I thought I would be giving this 4 stars, however at one point Sinéad says that she's asexual, which I thought was interesting. I couldn't tell if this was a sarcastic remark or a joke in the context, but it felt like it was said with sincerity, and so I believed her. Several pages later, she says how sexually attracted she was to someone, and then a few pages after that, how much she would have liked to bed another individual. This does not ring true for someone who says they're asexual, and this kind of rhetoric is damaging. Asexuality isn't a choice or a lifestyle, it's a part of who someone is. Sinéad claiming to be asexual and then providing contradictory evidence leads to misinformed readers around a subject that is already highly misunderstood. I know this might seem like something small, but as a queer person it is this kind of erroneous publicisation that leads to further segregation of minority groups. I still found this memoir to be a worthy way to spend my time, and Sinéad's writing style was certainly easy to read. • Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with this ARC. • Read this and other reviews on my Instagram!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emmkay

    It’s fragmented, and also gratingly colloquial at times (ain’t, gonna, wanna), but nonetheless this is a powerful memoir from O’Connor that I was glad I read. And the fragmentation is understandable, given her breakdown and her Dickensianly grim childhood experiences, oof. She really is a force of nature, or of herself, who has carved her own path in life, repeatedly running away from school to busk on the streets, shaving her head when a record exec misguidedly encouraged her to adopt a more fe It’s fragmented, and also gratingly colloquial at times (ain’t, gonna, wanna), but nonetheless this is a powerful memoir from O’Connor that I was glad I read. And the fragmentation is understandable, given her breakdown and her Dickensianly grim childhood experiences, oof. She really is a force of nature, or of herself, who has carved her own path in life, repeatedly running away from school to busk on the streets, shaving her head when a record exec misguidedly encouraged her to adopt a more feminine look, getting pregnant and keeping her son at 20 just as her first album was coming out, facing ostracization after tearing the pope’s photo in half on Saturday Night Live, and pursuing an endless fascination with spirituality (mediums, Judaism, Rastafarianism, and now Islam). The world probably needs more people with that kind of purity and intensity of spirit, however frustrating or hard to understand they may be to the rest of she charmingly calls ‘squares.’ A thought-provoking read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lianne

    I finished Sinead’s book today, “Rememberings.” It’s interesting, it’s well written (I liked the style of it - it’s very much how she speaks, but it is honest and it feels as though you’re sitting with her, listening to her stories). Even watching her performance of “Nothing Compares 2 U” she did in 2019, I’m moved to tears. She said in the book that this song she sings about her Mother, and she loves performing it to this day. She’s had a difficult life. She was abused by her mother, and then by I finished Sinead’s book today, “Rememberings.” It’s interesting, it’s well written (I liked the style of it - it’s very much how she speaks, but it is honest and it feels as though you’re sitting with her, listening to her stories). Even watching her performance of “Nothing Compares 2 U” she did in 2019, I’m moved to tears. She said in the book that this song she sings about her Mother, and she loves performing it to this day. She’s had a difficult life. She was abused by her mother, and then by the public, and the music industry, and then health care failed her several times. She’s deeply spiritual - and I loved reading about her journey in searching for a place to be herself, but always believing and loving God. Sinead’s voice is one of my favourites of all time. I think she’s one of the most important female artists of the late 80s/early 90s. She talks about controlling her voice in the studio, and taking singing classes later on in her career where she was finally encouraged to let her accent be heard. Throughout the entire autobiography, I just wanted to hug her. There is something pure and childlike about her soul, despite the anger and controversies we have heard about her in the media. The second half of the book changes a bit in form - Sinead admits that there are several years in her life that are hard to recall, and this is evident. However, I enjoyed reading about her songs and albums, and she uses her songs to recall other stories and experiences from her life. I recommend the book if you are a fan or curious about her life. I hope that I get the chance to see her live. ❤️

  19. 4 out of 5

    John

    I really enjoyed this memoir. Do I think every word in it was the absolute truth? I think everything is as she remembered it and therefore her truth. The flow was a bit uneven but with good reason. Sinead is an amazing artist and an unbelievable talent. I’ll always cherish the music she has given to us.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andy Mc

    I love the writing style and her story is incredible. She's a chronically misunderstood human being that should be treasured. I love the writing style and her story is incredible. She's a chronically misunderstood human being that should be treasured.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Legge

    Shame he dies in the end.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    A brave and brutal memoir, told episodically and with large timeline gaps due to trauma-related memory loss. It may not be the whole story, but it's the true story, told in O'Connor's own frank, funny, heartbreaking, contradictory, and occasionally scattered voice. A brave and brutal memoir, told episodically and with large timeline gaps due to trauma-related memory loss. It may not be the whole story, but it's the true story, told in O'Connor's own frank, funny, heartbreaking, contradictory, and occasionally scattered voice.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    I rarely read biographies/autobiographies. I prefer encyclopedia articles because they are much shorter. But they are not as intimate. They provide facts and accomplishments and dates, but do not provide motivations. I have read Margaret Cheney’s Tesla: Man Out of Time because there is not a more fascinating and enigmatic figure in the 20th century. His ideas were truly revolutionary, and changed the world. Most Americans know the names of Edison and Westinghouse (more because of the company than I rarely read biographies/autobiographies. I prefer encyclopedia articles because they are much shorter. But they are not as intimate. They provide facts and accomplishments and dates, but do not provide motivations. I have read Margaret Cheney’s Tesla: Man Out of Time because there is not a more fascinating and enigmatic figure in the 20th century. His ideas were truly revolutionary, and changed the world. Most Americans know the names of Edison and Westinghouse (more because of the company than the man who founded it), but Tesla remains on the fringe of awareness. I have read Polmar and Allen’s Rickover because the mans’s knowledge and philosophy and drive shaped the first part of my adult working life. Perhaps my entire career. Rickover cast a long and wide shadow over the industry in which I work. A physically diminuitive man who faced down giants. I have read Morrissey’s autobiography because…Morrissey. The first human I worshipped with so very little accessible information about him for an American teenager in the 80s. I clung to every bit. The lack of information made Morrissey into a sort of personal Jesus. “What do you need me to be?” Maybe, best if we don’t look too closely at our heroes. But to read Morrissey in his own voice was a gift. And, in fairness, I read Marr’s autobiography. I actually preferred Marr’s. Marr would make the better friend. More positive energy and enthusiasm for life. Less petty vindictiveness. I missed Sinead’s debut album. I was disconnected from my beloved world of music for a couple of years as awareness of the album crossed over the Atlantic. (The “buzz” surrounding new music traveled a much more circuitous route prior to the internet.) My first real exposure to Sinead (you could not avoid Nothing Compares 2 U, but since that was introduced to me by pop radio, I had zero interest) was the infamous appearance on SNL. Unbelievable. Incredibly brave (or stupid depending on your viewpoint) and, to me, honest. Not done in a vein of self-promotion or controversy to create media attention. But a genuinely angry (and sad) sentiment when taken in context with the lyrics she had just sung…Sinead alone on the stage with a burning candle, singing a protest song acapella. (In her book, she explains the source of the photo which makes her actions even more significant.) I was very religious (but not Catholic) when I witnessed that. She was ripping up the picture of a man, not god. I was not offended, but I understood why others were. The following Monday, I bought I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got and sat mesmerised by the power of her voice, whether whispering or screaming, and the melodies (of course, skipping Nothing Compares 2 U…which I do to this day). Black Boys on Mopeds. Her voice. There is no voice like it. I snapped up each succeeding album which all went in very different directions (even a reggae album which makes much more sense after reading her autobiography…at the time, I felt it was cultural (mis)appropriation), and some of the directions were not palatable to me. But always her voice. I then watched the fall. Another infamous moment. Her pleading with her family and the world, in tears, not to turn away from those who needed help, including her. While some laughed or turned away (my teenage son), I was awestruck and more than a little emotional. Society (or at least American society) tells us from birth that mental and emotional health are not to be discussed in public. “Take your pills and be silent”. I suppose that’s a step up from hiding people away in asylums. But the stigma is powerful. Incredibly powerful. No one thinks twice about going to the doctor for a broken bone then proudly displaying the cast. Even having people sign the cast. But if you tell someone you’re depressed? Or, heaven forbid, bipolar? Not allowed. At best, people look away uncomfortably. Over 30,000 deaths by gun in the U.S. annually. And about 2/3 of those gun related deaths are suicides. There is indeed a gun crisis in America, but also a very real mental health crisis that will be difficult to address until we remove the shame of having a mental or emotional illness. The reasons I read Sinead’s biography: her voice and her courage. Sinead’s voice is a gift. Her bravery is hard won. Her voice gave her a worldwide platform. Her bravery used that platform and, in the process, destroyed it to tackle issues nobody wanted to discuss. How did a tiny Irish Catholic girl grow into that almost ferocious, “I don’t give a damn” woman? That’s a long introduction to a very short review. Parts of the autobiography were very intimate and personal…the first third of the book. She wrote about her family dynamics and the relationships with her mother, her older brother and sister, her younger brother and her father. I am sure each family member would recount circumstances differently, but this is Sinead’s lens into the emotional landscape of a troubled family. (And is there a family without emotional troubles?) Sinead’s mother… :( What damage is done when the people who should love and nurture and support us the most, simply don’t. Or worse, they do the opposite and emotionally or physically (or both) harm us. The damage is not insurmountable. Many people have survived it. Even thrived. Sinead is an example. But it remains a heavy, life-long burden. She then discusses her move to London and the beginning of her music career. For me, not as personal or involving. Brief commentaries on each of her albums which I did not find very enlightening. Seemed almost the standard fare made by every artist on the release of new material. A chapter discussing an encounter with Prince was simply bizarre, and, in my opinion, added little to the autobiography. I suspect that this chapter was Sinead’s attempt to “set the record straight”. I knew there were allegations and controversy surrounding an interaction between Sinead and Prince, but I didn’t know details and didn’t much care. This chapter was reminiscent of a large portion of Morrissey’s autobiography spent dealing with Morrissey’s version of THE court case. (Please, Morrissey, move on. You become ever more spiteful and vindictive. You are no longer…or perhaps you never were…who I idolised from my teens through my 20s). The other part of the book contains little love letters to her children, her ex-husbands and lovers and a beautifully written absolution of her parents. The chapters ran very short with little editorial structure to provide any logical framing to the book. Sinead’s musings as she remembers her life. Her version of the “facts”, and, more importantly, her feelings. The book meanders through voices and tones and, sometimes even sequence. That worked for me. What shocked me the most? Sinead is FUNNY. Genuinely funny. At times, laugh-out-loud funny. What disappointed me? A few things. Sinead discusses her sexuality obliquely. There is no titillation in the book (and being asexual, I am glad for that), but she documents several sexual encounters with men (the genesis of Troy was interesting and unexpected) and the hedonistic nature of touring. At one point, she even humorously recounts a story when she called herself a “slut” because the Passport Control couldn’t make sense of her family. At times, there is an almost asexual tone to her words as she relates her feelings. Nowhere in the book does Sinead mention her very public assertions and retractions of bisexuality. Sinead does not need to define or categorise herself for anyone. Least of all me. But she has never shied away from using a platform to promote understanding. Listing (but not detailing, thank you) all the sexual encounters with men, with no other discussion of her possibly changing sexuality, seemed disingenuous to me. Next, she expressed very little about her mental health condition other than the chapter near the end devoted to her parents; and the chapters used to tell her side of the story with respect to Dr. Phil. (I did not see that episode (I hate Dr. Phil), but my ex-wife did and told me all about it. I did not really need Sinead’s side. What little I know about Dr. Phil tells me that he exploits people.) I felt that Sinead, perhaps more than anyone, could use her autobiography to help destigmatise mental illness. I hoped that would be the case when I started reading, and maybe that’s why I left the book mildly disappointed. Finally, Sinead has a fascinating relationship with religion. Her book does not directly challenge the Catholic Church (her life certainly does), but her feelings are clear. There is a very kind nun that becomes a quasi-mother figure to Sinead. But there is nothing in her autobiography about her becoming an ordained minister and her subsequent conversion to Islam. I feel that…lack of description of her relationship with god…is a huge hole in the book. Perhaps that sharing would be too personal? That doesn’t seem right with what Sinead shared about her childhood in the book. Maybe she hasn’t been able to put words to her religious feelings, but they are important to her. She very devoutly believes in a god despite moments of (constant?) painful suffering. She never stopped believing. She has found some peace through religion. That is a bit counter to most artists in music. For me, that would have been the most interesting and pertinent part of her fascinating life. Very little is mentioned. If you are a fan of Sinead or music, I would recommend the autobiography. Just please remember: the book is her story. Her siblings and father also have their story. Even Prince has his story (although he can no longer tell it). In a historical sense, there is no absolute truth (and we could long debate about the religious sense). The book is a part of Sinead’s world through Sinead’s eyes. And that view can be painful yet also hopeful and beautiful. The Soundtrack The Healing Room Listen to her voice! Perhaps the summary of the first part of her autobiography. Personal. Fire on Babylon (Live) Her first recording? I found it because of the autobiography. She was a teenager. Take My Hand (Demo)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Ramblings and rememberings. I was surprised and pleased with Sinead’s unique narrative voice. She has a knack for telling a story and she writes well. For a second I thought we’d slip into a more raw, less pretentious Patti Smith. The first 60% of this was really good. She tells her childhood almost poetically - beaten by her mother, seeing ghosts, making Bob Dylan her musical father - but after a certain point this really became disjointed chapters with very quick anecdotes and shout-outs to he Ramblings and rememberings. I was surprised and pleased with Sinead’s unique narrative voice. She has a knack for telling a story and she writes well. For a second I thought we’d slip into a more raw, less pretentious Patti Smith. The first 60% of this was really good. She tells her childhood almost poetically - beaten by her mother, seeing ghosts, making Bob Dylan her musical father - but after a certain point this really became disjointed chapters with very quick anecdotes and shout-outs to her personal family and friends. If she really writes a second memoir at the end of her life I’d give it a read. I’m going to go listen to The Lion and the Cobra again, now.

  25. 5 out of 5

    J Earl

    Rememberings by Sinead O'Connor is one of the most heartfelt memoirs I have read. I don't simply mean that she opens up, I think most memoirists do to some extent, but that she "talks" to us as if it really matters that she conveys what she was thinking and what she thinks now. This memoir is truly for her own happiness and for our understanding. I'm not sure she cares, nor that she should, whether every reader agrees with her perspectives, but she tries very hard to make sure we can understand Rememberings by Sinead O'Connor is one of the most heartfelt memoirs I have read. I don't simply mean that she opens up, I think most memoirists do to some extent, but that she "talks" to us as if it really matters that she conveys what she was thinking and what she thinks now. This memoir is truly for her own happiness and for our understanding. I'm not sure she cares, nor that she should, whether every reader agrees with her perspectives, but she tries very hard to make sure we can understand her actions as well as she does. This is very conversational, both in tone and structure. In the same way a very long discussion with a friend can meander back and forth this book does so as well. Not to a distracting or detrimental extent though it does take a few chapters to catch on to her authorial voice. After that, it is almost like sitting in the room listening to her. All of the moments in her life that are famous, or infamous, are covered, as well as some extraordinary lesser known moments. Knowing how she grew up will offer the reader some insight into why she has approached some of these moments as she did. I would recommend this to both fans of hers (I consider myself part of that group) as well as readers who just like memoirs. This will read a little different from most but your effort will be rewarded. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    "And I understand I've torn up the dreams of those around me. But those aren't my dreams. No one ever asked me what my dreams were." i could not put this book down. sinéad is a force of nature, and nothing short of a national treasure. reading this was much like listening to her music - same distinctive writing style. alternately humorous and serious, always endearing and compelling. sinéad deserves the world. "And I understand I've torn up the dreams of those around me. But those aren't my dreams. No one ever asked me what my dreams were." i could not put this book down. sinéad is a force of nature, and nothing short of a national treasure. reading this was much like listening to her music - same distinctive writing style. alternately humorous and serious, always endearing and compelling. sinéad deserves the world.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I loved this memoir. I loved understanding the reason behind the SNL/Pope incident - I totally got it now. My heart broke for how much she went through but applaud her for finding herself and remaining true to herself through it all. Oh and the Prince incident...WTF. Guess I better find a book on his life. Wow.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Huffman

    This book was so fascinating to read. I grew up with Sinead’s music as my soundtrack and I so enjoyed learning more about her life. Her upbringing was so tragic and difficult to read about but it really, in my mind, informs who she became, although she wrote an entire chapter to the contrary so I’m sure she would disagree. But that brings up a very interesting issue for me: how much does a traumatic upbringing form who we are as adults? Sinead would argue that because her three siblings turned o This book was so fascinating to read. I grew up with Sinead’s music as my soundtrack and I so enjoyed learning more about her life. Her upbringing was so tragic and difficult to read about but it really, in my mind, informs who she became, although she wrote an entire chapter to the contrary so I’m sure she would disagree. But that brings up a very interesting issue for me: how much does a traumatic upbringing form who we are as adults? Sinead would argue that because her three siblings turned out fine, she was just different from them from the start; I would argue that because all people are different, children can take different degrees of abuse and have different outcomes. I feel as though I can see many manifestations of childhood abuse in Sinead: the anger management issues, the impulsivity, the addictions, the intense coupling, and on and on. I found the two ways Sinead spoke about her mother to be fascinating. She speaks of the horrible abuse with anger and then also speaks of the loss of her mother when she was 19 as a tragedy. The juxtaposition is so understandable because the death of a parent with whom you have unresolved issues makes the separation, grief and resolution even harder. But reading about it in the book was really jarring. I hate Sinead’s mom and what she did to her children and I also blame the father who left without the children. Just an awful situation all around. That said, the writing was a bit difficult to follow at times. It was written in present tense although it spanned many years and was written in a conversational almost stream of consciousness manner. But to be fair Sinead was discussing some troubling things and to get it out at all is a major feat. Perhaps an editor could have helped some on the back end but I’m not sure how open to that S was. I was super interested in her spiritual journey and that, to me, was kind of a juxtaposition like the situation with her mom was. Like, religion damaged her so much. What she was taught as a kid, that she was nothing, that she was a sinner, etc. was awful and then she goes on to love Jesus and god through a multitude of religions. I’m glad she tore the photo of the Pope even though it caused her years of heartache after because it gave her a voice, a voice that was silenced for so many years through religion and her mom. There were a lot of contradictions in this book like the one about religion. For example, she says at one point that she’s asexual but goes on to speak at length about a variety of sexual encounters (no judgment — I’m happy for her sexual encounters, it just struck me as odd that she feels asexual as well). And she says over and over that she was glad she was vilified because she hated fame but then she also talks about how difficult it was. Maybe the lesson from this book is “how to be both.” Some of the stories that I loved the most were the hardest to believe (not saying they didn’t happen — just that they left my mouth agape whilst reading) Like the bit about prince. And about her daughters guardian angel. And about doctor Phil. I’ll be thinking about those stories for years. Oh and I loved reading about the meaning behind her songs. It has inspired me to listen to her more recent works as well. And if you haven’t listened to her music, get on it. Mandinka, I am stretched on your grave (listen to the end), and nothing compares to you are three of my faves. I have a ton more thoughts about this book but I’ll leave it here for now. I would say I recommend this book. I gave it three stars because I thought the writing style and organizational structure left something to be desired but the book is worthwhile and verrrrrry thought provoking.

  29. 4 out of 5

    lisa

    When I reflect on this memoir, I think of it as being very. . . Irish. It reminds me of a lot of Irish writers, from James Joyce to Eimear McBride, who write in a meandering fashion that doesn't make sense if you look at each word. However when you get to the end of the thought, there is a a lovely sentiment. Sinead O'Connor is careful to say in the forward that she is not a writer, and that she only tried to tell her story in her voice, however unwriter-ly it may be. However, this book, despite When I reflect on this memoir, I think of it as being very. . . Irish. It reminds me of a lot of Irish writers, from James Joyce to Eimear McBride, who write in a meandering fashion that doesn't make sense if you look at each word. However when you get to the end of the thought, there is a a lovely sentiment. Sinead O'Connor is careful to say in the forward that she is not a writer, and that she only tried to tell her story in her voice, however unwriter-ly it may be. However, this book, despite its meandering, despite its murky timeline, is clearly written in the voice of a clever woman with a wry sense of humor, who is struggling to process generations of trauma. There are some of Sinead O'Connor's albums that I have loved, namely Universal Mother, and I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, and I very seriously contemplated walking down the aisle to the song "Just Like You Said It Would Be". Also, anything performed by her live is amazing (which I know only through her live album She Who Dwells. . .) I don't call myself a fan though, partly because she does things that really annoy me, like taking on personas that appropriate Rastafarian culture. (Her album Throw Down Your Arms was one of the most awkward/cringey things I have ever heard in my life.) Also, I have never cared to know anything about her life, and as a result I learned a lot about her while reading this. I didn't know she had so many children for example, or that she was completely happy to blow up her pop star status to get her life back on track. I had no idea that Prince chased her down a Los Angeles road in his car until she begged for help at a nearby house. I also had no idea that part of the reason why she escaped the Prince incident without physical injury was because of her childhood of dealing with an abusive mother, and learning to watch for the signs of an abusive person. I learned a lot about the traumas of Sinead's life, and how they have created her, and her music. It makes me feel better about her uncomfortable fascination with Rastafarian culture, and her recent obsession with Islam. She is clearly just looking for an unconditional home. And in many ways her generations of trauma as an Irish person reflects the generations of trauma of a Native person. It was why I loved her song "Famine" when I was fourteen, the reflection of erased history, and loss of language that works to destroy a race of people. The writing in this book got a little tiresome toward the end, and if you don't already like her music this book might not be that interesting to you, but to me it was surprisingly good.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bill reilly

    Honest as she is crazy, Sinead O'Connor has written a brutally frank memoir. I suggest those not familiar with her music, head to Youtube to watch as many as possible of the hundreds of videos available there. I first became aware of Sinead's music from the first album, “The Lion and the Cobra” from 1987. “Nothing Compares 2U” made the singer an international superstar. It was written by Prince who she met and had an extremely unsettling experience which is humorously described in the book. The Honest as she is crazy, Sinead O'Connor has written a brutally frank memoir. I suggest those not familiar with her music, head to Youtube to watch as many as possible of the hundreds of videos available there. I first became aware of Sinead's music from the first album, “The Lion and the Cobra” from 1987. “Nothing Compares 2U” made the singer an international superstar. It was written by Prince who she met and had an extremely unsettling experience which is humorously described in the book. The purple man called her “Shine-aid” and she referred to him as “Prance.” Another highlight is at a juice bar on Avenue A and St. Mark's Place in NYC where the bald one met with Rasta men and smoked a good amount of weed while learning from them that the Pope was the Devil and the enemy of God. Timing is everything in life and up next was Saturday Night Live The rest is history, especially here in America. Sinead's mother had a portrait of Pope John Paul II on her wall and it made its way to the stage of SNL. After singing Bob Marley's “War,” Shine-aid tore up the photo and all hell broke loose. NBC banned her for life and her albums were burned worldwide by angry Catholics. The child abuse cases were just beginning to be made public and it became evident years later that the pope did little to take on the issue. Meanwhile, Ms. O'Connor's life has always been an adventure, with four chidren by four men and extensive drug use; most commonly marijuana. After numerous suicide attempts, the singer has converted to Islam, where she has finally found solace. Fans of the singer, and I am a big one, will enjoy the descriptions of the music making process. I await her next album and I hope that she will survive. The book is well written and a very good read.

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