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Summary

In this deeply affecting memoir, one of rock music’s most entrancing figures transforms the vividness of his musical world into an unforgettable literary account of overcoming odds and finding his true voice.

Long before hitting the stage as the lead singer of the iconic glam rock band Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears was Jason Sellards, a teenage boy living a fraught life, resulting in a confusing and confining time in high school as his classmates bullied him and few teachers showed sympathy.

It wasn’t until years later, while living and studying in New York City, that Jason would find his voice as an artist and, with a group of friends and musicians who were also thirsting for stardom and freedom, form the band Scissor Sisters. First performing in the smoky gay nightclubs of New York, then finding massive success in the United Kingdom, Scissor Sisters would become revered by the LGBTQ community, sell out venues worldwide, and win multiple accolades with hits like “Take Your Mama” and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’”, as well as their cult-favorite cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.”

Candid and courageous, Shears’s writing sings with the same powerful, spirited presence that he brings to his live performances. Following a misfit boy’s development into a dazzling rock star, Boys Keep Swinging is a raucously entertaining memoir that will be an inspiration to anyone with determination and a dream.

©2018 Jake Shears (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

Critic reviews

“Wow! So brutally honest and such a really addictive read.” (Elton John)
 

“One courageous joyride of a memoir. It should be illegal for rock stars to write so beautifully.” (Armistead Maupin)

What listeners say about Boys Keep Swinging

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A beautiful, staggering and heartbreaking journey.

I’m a massive fan of music bios, and saw the Scissor Sisters early on supporting Duran Duran, and fell in love with their music. So I was already engaged with this.

Is a great tale, of one mans journey from being a child to being the frontman of a group. It’s full of inspiration and honesty, full of love. It’s frank, open and honest, and read beautifully by Jake.

I loved it.

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Effortlessly addictive. Devoured in a day

The definition of what a memoir should be: fascinating, effortless, authentic and totally addictive. Couldn't stop going back to it and found before I'd known it, had completed it in just a day. Brilliant that it was read by Jake himself. Such a relatable and personal sharing of a story that resonates in many different ways.

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Far better than I expected!

A great incite into how The Scissor Sisters were formed and their early years. Fab!!

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A snip through the fabric of glamour.

This memoir gives a glance behind the struggle to make it in the music industry with only a dream to guide you. Jake Shears (stage name), tells his story with passion, honesty, and a poetic turn of phrase. Before embarking on my time with the Author, I know nothing of who he is or what the overall theme of his journey was. And I am very pleased that I traveled with him through his reading. I loved his voice and energy. Now I have to listen to a whole new artist, that for some reason I missed out on at the height of their fame.

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honest,gritty and insightful

Loved this Audio book - With the author narrating his words this recording really brings home the sincerity and emotion intended. Sometimes a little shocking and not for the prudish (but you knew that if you have followed SS or Jakes career), this book made me laugh and made me cry, made me gasp and made me want to sit in the car and hear more. Its amazing how what you see presented in the media is far from the reality of the Mental and Physical challenges being faced by Jake and those around him. Hope theres a follow up picking up from Ta-Dah! onwards...

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First audiobook to make me cry

I loved hearing the behind the scenes stories of how the scissor sisters was formed as well as Jake's childhood. the middle new York section was disappointingly unromantic, but it more than makes up for it by the end. the book ends in 2006 and I'll just say that it's a very bold place to end. this book will stick with it. I could have done without Jake's attempts at British accents for the narration at points, but at some points it added some nice colour to the experience. A very honest and emotional look at the rockstar lifestyle.

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  • Kelly
  • 29-07-20

loved his fun loving attitude

Scissor Sisters is a group that I discovered a few years ago when their music was recommended after I purchased some Mika music. Despite the fact that I enjoyed the music I knew nothing about the group. I didn't know their names. Fast forward to February and March of 2020 when I watched The Masked Singer UK and fell in love with a flamboyant unicorn prancing on the stage. Revealed as Jake Shears I immediately went to Google to learn more and was happy to find this memoir.

Although this memoir is about the creation and rise of Scissor Sisters, it is also about Jake's search for purpose and happiness. He shares stories from his youth and childhood in Arizona. He was a different, unique and slightly odd child. He was an awkward teen struggling with his realization that he was gay. He was extra. He was all the things that made him perfect as that rainbow unicorn on stage all these years later. And this part of his life, while not unexpected, was completely entertaining. I think a lot of us were odd and awkward in childhood and even if we didn't struggle with identity or sexuality we were nonetheless uncomfortable in our own skins. This made me feel I could understand Jake as a child.

As Jake takes the reader into his adulthood we find that he had desires we all had. He wanted friends. He wanted love. And he wanted to share his passions with the world. So, although I have never danced on a bar in my underwear or performed in drag, I found once again that we were more similar than different.

I loved the chatty, gossipy, flamboyant and voyeuristic aspects of this book. But even more I loved the fact that I came away from the book feeling like I had a new friend. Shears is real. He is funny. He is flawed and doesn't hide that from the reader. He shares the things that made him proud of himself but also the things he regrets.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Myles Gullette
  • 10-06-18

Boys Keep Swinging Swings with Soul!

Jake Shears reads his Memoir with a relaxed and tender cadence and brings you into his beginnings in life and with Scissor Sisters. what a journey and ending in 2006, I look forward to the continuation of his story in the sequel.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tony C.
  • 04-06-18

New Fan Of Jake Shears!

Loved it! Well written! Story captivating! You will not be disappointed. Thank you Jake!
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2 people found this helpful

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  • Keith
  • 28-05-21

What A Show!

This was an intimate and candid glimpse into Jake’s life. I loved the honesty and was taken in by his incredible story-telling. This was so satisfying yet left me wanting more. I have recommended this to others.

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  • Chad Darnell
  • 25-10-20

Loved it.

Loved this book! Jake is an incredible storyteller. Did want it to end. Highly recommend!!

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  • B. Frame
  • 28-06-19

great story

This book has it all! Drugs sex rock and roll an inside look at the music industry. Lots of gay coming of age stories that I related so closely to

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  • Carrie Hatley
  • 30-04-19

Favorite book in years! I am obsessed with Jake!!

What a surprise! I have gone full stalker mode for Jake Shears after this book. I love this book. He did an amazing job with the narration. The story of his friendship with Mary was so tender and a real clue into who he is , imperfect but beautifully so.