Friday, August 13, 2010

Composed - A Memoir, by Rosanne Cash

For half a century, the Cash name has become synonymous with great country music.  We now get to read Rosanne's chapter in the story.

Rosanne's 241-page memoir Composed is far from being a simple, stale recitation of facts.  At times it even deviates from chronological order.  Rosanne grabs your interest at the very beginning with her experiences growing up in the Cash household.  As the story progresses, the reader increasingly becomes more involved emotionally in Rosanne's journeys as a musical artist, and as a young woman endeavoring to find her place in the world, outside the shadow of her famous father.

Rosanne describes the creative process and artistic vision behind each of her albums, giving us insight into what it was like to be a country star in the eighties.  She takes us through all of the significant moments in her life and career, including her marriage to Rodney Crowell and their subsequent divorce, her experience in witnessing the September 11 terrorist attacks firsthand, and the ordeal she faced in undergoing an extensive brain operation.

Perhaps the main highlights of the book are the touching eulogies she wrote for her father Johnny, for June Carter Cash, and for her mother Vivien.  She also describes the pain of watching her father slowly die of complications from diabetes.  But despite the sad parts, Composed is not an overall downer.  A thread of wit and humor is woven throughout the story as Rosanne includes descriptions of many funny moments in her life.

In telling the story of her life, Rosanne Cash reminds us once again of what a gifted writer she is, employing rich language throughout, and honing in on many profound truths about life.  Her love of music is evident in her writing, as is her deep respect and appreciation for her family's legacy.

Composed is an engaging read from start to finish - nearly impossible to put down.  It doesn't matter if you're a country music fan or not.  It doesn't matter if you've even heard of Rosanne Cash before.  This is a story that anyone, from the casual fan to the enthusiastic Cash devotee, can appreciate and enjoy.