Reckless by Chrissie Hynde

Review published on March 7, 2018.

Chrissie Hynde, born in Akron Ohio, September 1951. Coincidentally, the same year I was born. That is about all we have in common though. Always a slightly rebellious or contrary girl as she grew up, she more or less ignored the normal existence of American youth, and rode with the more avant-garde and deviant in her locale.

She has written this book entitled Reckless, and although it is a classic example of the rags to riches celebrity existence, she does not seem to suffer fools gladly throughout her life. By her own admission, the book itself had to be written after her parents had passed away, because of the various nefarious details written within. The language and events leave nothing to the imagination at all, especially in the latter sections of the book, where other people’s foibles are also exposed. Whilst she held an overwhelming veneration for some of the punk era greats, she has personally, an almost obsessional self loathing, lackadaisical attitude, as though she believed she could not aspire to anything, even though she had always dreamed of being in a band.

This is one of those books where the reader indulges him/herself in feeling a little pompous because of how their own lives have played out compared to Chrissie Hynde’s. The various people that either have died, become drug addled, confused, down and outs are legion throughout the book. All the way through the book, one reads of these seemingly low-lifes with which she has consorted. All the benefits she has received, either great or small, seem to be almost lucky accidents throughout, and reading about her eventual success tells us of the price she, and others, have had to pay for it. I for one remain glad it was nothing to do with me, despite her listenable pop records and fleeting popularity.

The honesty that prevails in telling of her life story is astounding to be fair. I would be greatly embarrassed to admit to any of her eventful, colourful and somewhat extraordinary lifestyle choices. Maybe her ‘Rock Chick’ persona demands this sort of detail to sustain her in her life. One can certainly see that she did it all her way, and good luck to her, although she is welcome to it. Now, she is a mother, not a lot to tell from the book of how this has altered her outlook except a telling quote at the end of the book “I went on to have a lovely little family and found that children really are the most joyful thing”.

Maybe she has become a more settled person these days, I hope so for her sake. The book is quite a seriously in-depth read that shifts along apace, as has most of her life. I think the book is well worth the read to those who enjoyed ‘The Pretenders’ in their hey-day. The book explains where that band name came from, yet another example of accidental events. Be prepared to be a little shocked though.

Reg Seward 4/1

Reckless by Chrissie Hynde
Ebury Press 9781785031465 pbk Jul 2016

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