Composed: A Memoir

Roseanne Cash

Most celebrity memoirs are “as told to” tomes ghost written by hacks for readers who are less interested in the quality of the prose than the glimpse those books sometimes provide into the secret lives of the “stars.” But Roseanne Cash is an honest-to-God writer, and this is an honest-to-God book worth reading for its clarity, expressiveness and occasional poetry. In addition to her commendable contribution to the art of songwriting, the daughter of Johnny Cash has written short stories and essays that show the talent and skill of a real stylist. But for those of us who have been fans of her music for three decades now, this memoir provides insight into her personal journey, especially since much of the book is so rich in vivid detail, and so completely honest about her myriad insecurities. This is a book about growing up, about finding one’s way in the shadow of a famous father, and about writing songs. It is, in fact, about “composing,” the art of pulling things together to create a harmony out of all the confusion. That’s pretty much what art does, whether the art in question is songs performed onstage before cheering throngs, or memories committed to the page in the wee hours after all the fans have gone home to bed.