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I am by no means an avid reader. I envy people who can sit down and read a book believe me but I am much more a visual person than that and I am a huge fan and collector of dvds opting for more factual books on health topics and the likes. It was a surprise when someone bought me this book because they knew I am a huge Amy Winehouse fan and I received this book way before she died and later found out it came from Poundland.
The book cover here is worth a mention. Turquoise in colour with a very striking photograph of Amy on the front of it, it looks battered and weathered somewhat and its kind of hard to explain but whenever I see it I always think its a very Amy looking cover if you get my drift.
The Book Itself:
Written by Daphne Barrack who has written about many well known celebrities this book contains 200 pages mostly of the written word but also a few pages of lovely photographs some we've seen some we haven't from Amy growing up to more present day ones, well before she died anyway.
This was written as part of a documentary originally looking at drug addiction but changing slightly into Amys story along with some focus on her battle with drugs. It looks at Amy growing up, her relationships and of course her amazing career. It contains lots of interviews including her mum and dad talking openly about his affair which led on to him leaving the marital home and remarrying a lady called Jane and examines what could have led to Amys addiction and so on. There is open interviews with Amy within this book as well all of which took place in London, St Lucia and some other locations.
The layout of this book felt like I was reading a documentary rather than a story which I found unusual. Mitch and Janice (who is Amy's Mum) really do appear to be very open and honest about Amy's life and I found this book interesting on the whole. Its all about what makes Amy, Amy Winehouse. Amy is very honest and open about her life as well which feels refreshing. You do get the feeling though she is very vulnerable and at times you really feel for her Dad who is rightly scared of losing his daughter. What struck me was Amy's openness about Blake who at the time wanted to divorce Amy and was with another woman who was pregnant.
There's lots of opinion as well from the writer, Daphne letting us know her thoughts and feelings and what she is seeing as well as just hearing which I did like.
Overall if you an Amy Winehouse fan this is an interesting enough read. I doubt you'll learn too much due to the fact though that Amy was and still is so heavily written about but for a quid and if your a fan its a read that'll take you a couple of hours and give you something to think about.
Google if interested this book has a retail price of £9.99.
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
Today I'm writing a review about the book "Saving Amy" by Daphne Barak.
Why I bought it
I discovered this book at HMV last summer. I am a huge fan of Amy Winehouse and was very shaken by her sudden death. I've had one book about her before which was alright, but I had long been looking for an evening more interesting one.
,,Saving Amy" looked and sounded nice and was on sale, so buying it was not a hard decision to make. I read the text on the book's back and it said that the book was written by a close friend of Amy who saw it all coming. I was quite curious by then!
Daphne Barak has interviewed and filmed quite a few important people. Among them are Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Eric Clapton, Lisa Minnelli, Johnny Depp and even Michael Jackson. She has been involved in many productions regarding television and press and has gotten to know a lot of influencial people.
Working on "Saving Amy", Daphne Barak mostly spoke to Amy's father Mitch Winehouse. The original plan was to film a documentation about Amy and her drug problem so it would be shown and TV and would serve a purpose regarding awareness of drug problems.
It was Mitch Winehouse himself who contacted Daphne Barak in 2008 in hopes of filming a documentary about his famous daughter. Barak was interessed - she hadn't met Amy Winehouse in person until then, but of cause she had read all about her crazy life in the papers. At that time it was impossible not to hear about Amy.
The conversation with Mitch was easy and he and Daphne Barak quickly agreed on terms under which filming could begin. Barak became Mitch Winehouse's constant company.
In the beginning, the documentary was supposed to be all about Amy's drug habbit and her father constantly tried to make clear that he was taking this step to ingorm other familys who might have offspring that is struggling with substance abuse, including hard drugs, but also alcohol.
Throughout the project the author was drawn into the Winehouse family problems further and further. Mitch Winehouse seemed to use the attention to promote himself. The conversations with Daphne Barak seem to turn in circles.
The things Mitch reveals about Amy are defenitely and absolutely interesting - but in the end it's always about him and his odd relationship towards women. There is a lot of insecurity and odd feelings between Amy's mother and Mitch's now wife that Daphne Barak clearly observes.
The first half of the book is mainly about Mitch's distorted perception of Amy's well-being., which is interesting and incredibly sad at the same time. Mitch is almost careless in how open he is towards Daphne Barak and is fascinating how he slowly lets her into the core to the family - and closer to Amy.
In the end, Daphne Barak's real meetings with Amy are sad and provide little insight into her mind - only into the fact that something not good is going on. Amy is constantly confused and lost when they take a "vacation" on St. Lucia with the whole family and camera team. Amy is supposed to rehearse, record, perform and be social but she simple isn't able to. The author doesn't observe Amy high and dazed, but scared and confused. She has lost touch with reality.
In addition, there are problems with Amy's on-and-off-boyfriend and once husband Blake Fielder-Civil. The whole family thinks he is a bully and would rather see Amy divorce him as they have never been happy with their union in first place. But at that point Amy was not willing to leave him at all.
In the end, the whole filming of the documentation becomes a huge chaos. Amy is constantly on the run and her father fails to really get the purpose of the documentation that he claimed it would have across. He constantly seems to does thins that make Amy's problems worse because he is in such denial.
At some point, author Daphne Barak gives up, simply wondering about this family, what she experiences with them and how they are trying to make life work in a state of denial of Amy's problems.
I found this book to be really interesting and finished it within two days.
It defenitely provides a lot of insight into Amy's problems and her family. It is interesting what Amy's father tells about the family and Am's upbringing.
What I didn't like was that Mitch Winehouse was often trying to use the book - or the documentary it was supposed to become - to showcase himself. He was happy with giving a lot of interviews about himself and his weird relationship to his new wife and his ex-wife, but he was reluctant to let the author get close to Amy. While at first it might seem like he was protecting Amy, it quickly becomes clear that he often has no access to her. When they meet, it seems to happen on Amy's terms.
Troughout the book one gets the impression that drugs are only part of the problem. A lot of times, Amy seems to have simply gone off to the moon with her mind. She behaves in ways as if she didn't know how interact with people anymore. She is constantly running away from people, but also from responsibilities.
While she might have done hard drugs, alcohol seems to be the biggest problem regarding substance abuse. On St. Lucia, Amy is constantly slipping away to sip drinks.
"Saving Amy" is defenitely sad, but for fans it is an incredibly interesting read as you get to know things about Amy and the Winehouse family that happened when she was out of reach and there were just a few pictures of her strolling across the beach in the papers.
The book is available for £5.19 as a paperback. The kindle edition is £3.58.
I liked this book and finished it quickly, but the focus on Amy's father left me slightly disappointed. But I would defenitely recommend it to fans!