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Summary

By the time she was 14, Chrissie Hynde knew she had to get out of Akron, Ohio. Her perfect '50s American childhood upturned by a newly acquired taste for rock 'n' roll, motorbikes and the ‘get down boys' seen at gigs in and around Cleveland - Mitch Ryder, the Jeff Beck Group, the Velvet Underground and David Bowie among the many.

Wrapped up in the Kent State University riots and getting dangerously involved in the local biker and drug scenes, she escaped - to Mexico, Canada, Paris and finally London, where she caught the embryonic punk scene just in time not only to witness it first-hand, but more importantly to seize the opportunity to form her own band, The Pretenders.

Iggy Pop, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Vivienne & Malcolm, Ray Davies...on every page household names mingle with small town heroes as we shift from bedroom to biker HQ; from squat to practice room; from pub gig to Top Of The Pops - the long and crooked path to stardom, and for The Pretenders, ultimately, tragedy.

That Chrissie Hynde is alive to tell the tale is, by her own admission, something of a miracle. Throughout she is brutally honest, wryly humorous, and always highly entertaining. She has written one of the most evocative and colourful music memoirs to be published in recent years.

Narrated by Rosanna Arquette.

©2015 Chrissie Hynde (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks

What listeners say about Reckless

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant Book!!!

Wonderful slice of life from the late sixties( hippy era) early seventies( punk era) Chrissies style of writing is strong, poetic and melodic...and captures the realities of over excess, creativity and how perhaps the one depends on the other..or drives the other. Difficult to know for sure...this is a very real memoir! She says basically..."This is how it was"

2 people found this helpful

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Superb and very honest autobiography

A snotty, arrogant turn on" read a early review of a typical Chrissie Hynde live performance fronting the Pretenders. Never a woman to compromise, Chrissie has always been known for her feminist world view not to mention her radical vegetarianism. But that persona, as this superb rock biography shows, is tempered by a touching vulnerability and a genuine wit. Despite a downbeat ending to this book - with the drug- linked deaths of both Pretenders bassist Pete Farndon and guitarist James Honeyman Scott - this book is fascinating stuff. Born in 1951 on Akron, Ohio, Chrissie takes us through a somewhat chaotic life prior to founding the Pretenders in the late 70s. An Iggy Pop obsessive, she was at Kent State University during the fatal riots of 1970. She lived in Canada, Mexico and Paris before falling in love with London. She has ingested a factory full of drugs and booze. She worked at Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's shop in London in the mid 70s and later was at the heart of the punk scene, fronting fledgling early incarnations of both the Clash and the Damned. She nearly got hitched to Sid Vicious (but only to be allowed to stay in Britain) and former partner Ray Davies, but didn't marry either. This is a book full of history, tragedy, belly laughs and the author's acerbic but, in the end, likeable personality. While this book is raunchy and acutely honest, it is no kiss and tell celebrity shag-fest, and it's all the better for that. Read it even if you didn't like The Pretenders. It's hugely entertaining and very, very cool.

Rosanna Arquette spits out Chrissie's ripe prose with real venom, even if she does struggle occasionally with some of the English place names. Her reading is far from perfect, but it's very human, even laughing out loud during a funny bit at one point. If your idea of fun is hearing the star of Desperately Seeking Susan saying the word "bollocks", this is very much for you.

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating story, shame about the narration

The Pretenders were a band of my formative youth, at an age when i had no conception of the non-music side of rock and roll. I later heard stories of what was happening behind the scenes and when i saw this book i couldn't wait to hear the truth. It was eye-opening, frank and revealing, also shocking, terribly sad but educational. The only thing which spoiled it a bit for me was the narration, which lacked rhythm and feel for the text, often the pace and tone were out of sync with the flow of the story and placed inappropriate punctuation in the sentences. That said, this deficiency should not ruing enjoyment of the book, i still highly recommend

1 person found this helpful

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recommend

Loved it, love her but wow what an inferiority complex she had.

Such an interesting life.

Narrator needs to take a breath and calm down, she sure loves to shout. Overall told it ok.

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Narration so poor I couldn’t listen to the end.

Sadly disappointed, I will buy the actual book to read as I could not listen to this irritating narration.

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Meh

Story is ok if you’re interested in the topic. I particularly liked the beginning about her childhood. I found RA’s performance annoying as she seemed to be overly dramatic and often emphasised the wrong words. There were some English phrases and words she pronounced in the American way (eg Chiswick) which grated.

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Oh dear!

The pronunciation of English words is terrible and the attempt at accents awful. Sorry I love both these women so feel bad about giving a negative comment. Surely the book once read is actually listened to by someone with some knowledge.

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Excellent reading of a fascinating life story.

Really engaging if you are in any way interested in music in the 70s and early 80s. Great reading too.

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Ohio star

Chrissie's writing style is great, she's a natural poet, telling her story clearly & evocatively in the fewest possible words. She actually pans her own writing ability when retelling her days as an NME reporter. Modesty. If you like the Pretenders or are a fan of Chrissie Hynde then this audiobook is for you. No question. Can't understand the criticsms made by some other reviewers.

Rosanna Arquette does a great job of narration. Sure, she mispronounces a couple of words, but as Chrissie might say "Come on! This is the story of an American living in England. What do you expect!" Two Chrissies emerge each with their own voice. There's the sassy, involved, raucous woman, hungry for experience. Then theres the tender, wistful girl, in love with music and her musical heros, driven with ambition. So much more one could say, not least Chrissie's funny observations on English manners.

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Set up for a sequel?

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes if you're interested in the subject matter.

Do you think Reckless needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes, it stops in about 1982.

Any additional comments?

I was really looking forward to this but I came away a bit disappointed. I love Hynde and her music and I was looking for insight into the life behind the performance. It's good as far as it goes, concentrates a bit too much on her life before the Pretenders and stops in about 1982 after the deaths of Jimmy and Pete. It therefore misses out about two thirds of her career and scarcely touches on her marriages.

Could have been so much better.

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  • Dean
  • 29-06-18

Great yarn , somewhat concise , TERRIBLE narrator

This is an interesting memoir from one of my teen idols . I would have liked to hear much much more about her music , and less about her lifestyle , but it has some great humour interspersed with the mundane. Im willing to bet Chrissy didn't pick the narrator , who was utterly atrocious .