Book Reviews · Music

Book Review: The True Lives of My Chemical Romance

Today marks 6 years since my favourite band broke up, and it both feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago, and I feel very old that I was 16 at the time and now I’m nearly 23! I felt a good way to pay tribute to them would be to review the biography by Tom Byrant. This book featured in my Sustainable Fashion Haul, because my copy is actually second-hand from Depop!

The True Lives of My Chemical Romance by Tom Byrant

The biography isn’t official but it did get their blessing, as Byrant is a music journalist they came to trust over their career. He spoke to old managers, friends, other bands, and had a very long interview with Frank. He also referenced media coverage from the likes of Kerrang! and AP as they grew from a small New Jersey punk band to one of the biggest bands in the world.

The biography was well written and engaging, which is impressive given that it’s Byrant’s first book. Having spent my teenage years obsessed with MCR there really wasn’t a whole lot of new information for a superfan like me, but more casual listeners will learn a lot.

Sometimes it got a bit repetitive, as other people were basically repeating the same things like how they were really intense on stage and down-to-earth off-stage, or people saying they knew they’d be huge back when the first album came out. As a journalist, I know he did this so it seems more credible – multiple people saying the same thing is more reliable than one – but I’m not sure it worked in a biography, he could have got a lot of the word count if he condensed the compliments like that a bit. A lot of the repetition felt like filler to reach a certain word count, and I think the book could have been shorter and just as informative.

Not only was it a comprehensive history of the band, but it also was a mini-biography of the members – especially Gerard. He did give attention to Ray, Mikey, and Frank, but overall, I feel more attention was paid to Gerard as the frontman.

Overall, it was an enjoyable book and I recommend it for fans. You might also be interested in these books by rockstars which include Gerard and Mikey!

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