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Boys Keep Swinging: A Memoir

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“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 “A wild, sexy, emotional ride through underground New York at the millennium…a tale that speaks to the outsider in all of us.” —Andy Cohen In this deeply affecting memoir, one of rock “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 “A wild, sexy, emotional ride through underground New York at the millennium…a tale that speaks to the outsider in all of us.” —Andy Cohen 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.


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“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 “A wild, sexy, emotional ride through underground New York at the millennium…a tale that speaks to the outsider in all of us.” —Andy Cohen In this deeply affecting memoir, one of rock “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 “A wild, sexy, emotional ride through underground New York at the millennium…a tale that speaks to the outsider in all of us.” —Andy Cohen 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.

30 review for Boys Keep Swinging: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I'll round up. "Writing about your life is panning your imagination for shiny bits. Much memory is grimy and covered with fuzz, like a component of some unknown thing that was left under your couch for years, attracting dust bunnies. When you find it, you're unsure what it was used for in the first place. You do your best to wash the pieces off and line them up on a table, in hopes that with a little concentration they might be understood for what they were. And I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I'll round up. "Writing about your life is panning your imagination for shiny bits. Much memory is grimy and covered with fuzz, like a component of some unknown thing that was left under your couch for years, attracting dust bunnies. When you find it, you're unsure what it was used for in the first place. You do your best to wash the pieces off and line them up on a table, in hopes that with a little concentration they might be understood for what they were. And maybe you find that a couple of the pieces fit together." I decided to read Boys Keep Swinging, a new memoir by Jake Shears, the lead singer of the musical group Scissor Sisters, both because I was a big fan of the group's music and because, well, I'm fairly enamored of Shears, who has a penchant for posing for and taking pictures of himself in various states of undress. (Whatever. We all have our Kryptonite.) Beyond his music and his physical appeal, I honestly knew nothing about Shears. In fact, I'm embarrassed to admit that because of the intonation he uses in some of Scissor Sisters' songs (say that five times fast), I thought he was Australian. But as much as this book is about the rise of Scissor Sisters and how Jake dealt with finally achieving his dreams, Boys Keep Swinging is so much more than that—it's a poignant and entertaining look at one man's quest for happiness, a sense of belonging, and peace with himself. Shears, born Jason Sellards, was raised in Arizona. From a young age he knew he wasn't like everyone else—he didn't like sports, he preferred the company of adults (particularly adult women) to his peers, and he had a talent for writing and telling stories. And as he grew into his awkward teenage years, and realized he was gay, he wasn't ready to acknowledge this fact to his parents or those who knew him, but that didn't stop him from dressing and acting flamboyantly. He just didn't care what people thought, although he feared how his parents might react. The book follows his journey into adulthood and self-acceptance, and his desire to find his place. He tells of friendships made and those lost, sometimes because of his own actions, and his desire to find someone to love. He endures interesting work and living situations, but slowly begins to realize he feels most alive when in front of a crowd, whether dancing on top of a bar in his underwear, performing in drag, or finally, writing and performing music he wrote. As Shears describes how Scissor Sisters came to be, and the struggles the band faced on its way to success, he also touches on the numerous people—famous and behind the scenes—who inspired and helped him. He also isn't afraid to shy away from discussing how even at the pinnacle of professional and personal success he had trouble being happy, instead worrying whether everything would fall apart and he'd be left with nothing. Unlike some memoirs, Shears doesn't paint himself as perfect in any way—he's more than willing to enumerate his flaws and how he mistreated some of those people closest to him. He's not afraid to discuss his regrets or his insecurities, even those he still deals with. That made reading this book a much more moving and fulfilling experience. I enjoyed this book for a number of reasons, but particularly because I identified with Shears' struggles growing up, dealing with the bullying of his peers and seeking the acceptance of his parents and others. How many young people trying to come to terms with their sexuality and wondering if they'll ever find happiness haven't felt the way he did? I also identified with his struggles to feel happy even amidst the success and fulfillment he had achieved, as I've been there, too. I felt that the book dragged a bit in places, particularly in the lead-up to the birth of Scissor Sisters. There was a lot of the same story over and over again, just with different celebrities or men he knew mentioned. (At times it feels like he has met or knew nearly everyone in the music business, as well as some celebrities!!) But Shears' writing style is engaging and self-deprecating, which made this tremendously readable. (I'd imagine the audio book, if one is produced, will be terrific if he reads it himself!) Even if you don't know his music or aren't tantalized by his physical appeal, Boys Keep Swinging is a worthwhile read. I don't often pick up celebrity memoirs unless I think there's some depth to be found, and there was lots to be found here. NetGalley and Atria Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White

    So much to love about this book. I listened to it on audible, read by Jake Shears himself. I have been a fan of the Scissor Sister since they first made it big and had the pleasure of seeing Jake live 3 times this month when he was supporting Kylie Minogue on her Golden Tour in Australia. The man intrigued me and I wanted to learn more about him. This book is a no holds barred story of his life, from being a confused teenager to working any job possible in NYC in order to live his dream. His So much to love about this book. I listened to it on audible, read by Jake Shears himself. I have been a fan of the Scissor Sister since they first made it big and had the pleasure of seeing Jake live 3 times this month when he was supporting Kylie Minogue on her Golden Tour in Australia. The man intrigued me and I wanted to learn more about him. This book is a no holds barred story of his life, from being a confused teenager to working any job possible in NYC in order to live his dream. His relationships, his family.. it is all laid bare and I did not want it to end.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I am surprised this book wasn’t heavier with all the names he dropped.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Knobby

    I'm not a stranger to celebrity memoirs, especially musician's memoirs. (For some reason, I find musicians more interesting than actors, and have read a fair number of memoirs by artists I know peripherally: Jewel, Keith Richards, Posh Spice.) So when the opportunity came up for me to read Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters' memoir, courtesy of Netgalley, I took it, thinking that maybe I'd learn something new. I own their albums and even saw their show once when they toured, so I considered myself a I'm not a stranger to celebrity memoirs, especially musician's memoirs. (For some reason, I find musicians more interesting than actors, and have read a fair number of memoirs by artists I know peripherally: Jewel, Keith Richards, Posh Spice.) So when the opportunity came up for me to read Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters' memoir, courtesy of Netgalley, I took it, thinking that maybe I'd learn something new. I own their albums and even saw their show once when they toured, so I considered myself a fan (a fairly casual one), but even my familiarity with the group didn't make me love this book. The book is split into three parts: 25% about his childhood in Arizona and Seattle, 25% struggling in New York, and 50% after the formation of the Scissor Sisters group, from early club-performing days with just Jason Sellards (Jake Shears) and Scott Hoffman (Babydaddy) to the first album's meteoric rise, and brief mention of the second album. The first half of the book was an interesting slice-of-life experience, describing Jason's upbringing in what was an uncertain time for gay people: the outbreak of AIDS, the social stigma of your sexual orientation being "abnormal." The time he spent in NYC in the late 1990s-early 2000s, when the city was rapidly gentrifying, was a cool look at the culture at the time as well. The settings were great background characters, with their own quirks and tics. I really liked all of Jason's descriptions of his weird apartments and the roommates that inhabited them. Despite all this, the middle of the book really drooped for me and I considered not reading any more, because it felt fruitless. The second half, when Scissor Sisters were born, Ana Matronic was added to the group, (then a few others,) was more interesting just because I was on more familiar footing at this point. Before, Jason was meandering, describing all of the different jobs he took, places he danced at, men he slept with, drugs he tried, and it felt like a non-linear mess where names dropped with no real purpose. After the formation of the band, he still did all of those things but with the foundation of "and it was while we were doing x or y with the group" — milestones that made sense on their climb to the top, like promo in London, Top of the Pops, chart rankings, etc. Knowing next to nothing about the group in detail before this — knowing their songs, but not knowing the names of band members — I read trying to glean an idea of who Jason/Jake is. And my conclusion is that I still don't really know, even after reading about his parents' wariness to his coming out, his friendship with an obese woman he met in a chat room to whom the ballad "Mary" is dedicated, and his friendship/relationships with big names like Anderson Cooper and Dan Savage. Jason/Jake's voice is chattery. He has a habit of describing some problem but then throws the conclusion out later as an aside (from coming out to his parents, to dealing with bad roommates, etc.) He name-drops for no good reason except to show how well-connected he is (and perhaps it's his connectedness that helped the group grow in name recognition; dude hustled). I find it interesting there was a tiny mention of how the NY Times panned the group when Scissor Sisters released their debut album in America, but there was no followup about the controversy it caused. Wal-Mart refused to stock it because of a single with the word "tits" in it, and the group refused to make a clean edit version, which hurt its sales in the US. I had to read about it in the band's Wiki page, but Jake talks about how big they were in the UK and ignores the US for the most part, even though he's an American and the record was cut in NYC. Should it have been longer, to flesh out these things? I don't think so. Could it have been shorter, to cut out unnecessary jumps to celebrities, one-night-stands, and parties? I don't know, maybe. All I know is, I wish I hadn't been so bored while reading parts of this memoir. And I wish that I could say that I know about Jake a little better.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Harry McDonald

    This was exactly the book I needed to read. Not only is it hilarious, compelling, gossipy, thrilling, insightful and actually quite sexy (lmao) in turn, it’s also ferociously well written. Jake Shears is one of those artists-of-my-lifetime. The Scissor Sisters were major for me, growing up. My Dad had their albums and would blast them in the car, it’s only recently I’ve realised just how, well, queer that music is. To go back to it now, with Shears’ own solo record (which I also love) and his This was exactly the book I needed to read. Not only is it hilarious, compelling, gossipy, thrilling, insightful and actually quite sexy (lmao) in turn, it’s also ferociously well written. Jake Shears is one of those artists-of-my-lifetime. The Scissor Sisters were major for me, growing up. My Dad had their albums and would blast them in the car, it’s only recently I’ve realised just how, well, queer that music is. To go back to it now, with Shears’ own solo record (which I also love) and his writing feels like a major event in my life. I know that probably sounds ridiculous. Here, Shears’ chronicles his life from childhood through to the height of the Scissor Sisters’ fame. There’s still a load of ground left to cover, and I hope he follows this with another volume of memoir (and then some horror stories. PLEASE.) He captures the post-punk era of New York brilliantly, the limbo of being in the place without a career, trying to make it, and he somehow manages to throw his persona into light as a peculiarly singular post-9/11 creation. He draws nightlife as well as anyone, and it feels as though he relished spilling the details, it’s certainly not confessional in its tone, even if it is in its execution. It’s a great New York story, it’s a great queer story, it’s a great life to read about.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Constantine

    Rating: 4.0/5.0 This memoir was very well written. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Jake Shears have had his ups and downs, success and setbacks but he remains the guy who recovers from those setbacks. In this memoir, he tells us about his life from childhood to adolescent. His sexuality and how he was able to cope with it at a young age. There is also a lot of his relationships with different people and how they affected his life and how he affected their lives, the jobs he had before Scissor Rating: 4.0/5.0 This memoir was very well written. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Jake Shears have had his ups and downs, success and setbacks but he remains the guy who recovers from those setbacks. In this memoir, he tells us about his life from childhood to adolescent. His sexuality and how he was able to cope with it at a young age. There is also a lot of his relationships with different people and how they affected his life and how he affected their lives, the jobs he had before Scissor Sisters. The rise of the band and his addiction problem and how he battled it. I loved this book because it is very wild yet at the same time very emotional. Jake Shears have lived a wild fascinating life and turned that life on paper in a wonderful way. His writing is fun to read and I did not expect that from a rockstar. Now the only thing left is to turn this book into a movie! The book will be released on 20th Feb 2018 and I was lucky to grab it from Netgalley in the read now section.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    4.5, rounded up. This is a surprising book in many ways, not the least of which it isn't just the usual lame rock star autobiography - and Shears can really write. Given that he studied creative writing in college (he 'graduated', but never got his degree because he failed to turn in his final novella!), perhaps that shouldn't be such a surprise. And the majority of the book actually chronicles his years as a young, confused, bullied queer kid - the creation of his infamous band, Scissor 4.5, rounded up. This is a surprising book in many ways, not the least of which it isn't just the usual lame rock star autobiography - and Shears can really write. Given that he studied creative writing in college (he 'graduated', but never got his degree because he failed to turn in his final novella!), perhaps that shouldn't be such a surprise. And the majority of the book actually chronicles his years as a young, confused, bullied queer kid - the creation of his infamous band, Scissor Sisters, doesn't even happen until well over the halfway mark. Although many of these familiar tropes have been trotted out elsewhere - let's face it, most queer kids go through similar traumas - he still writes them in a refreshing and interesting fashion, and it gives insight into what transpires when he DOES become famous. The latter part of the book does ALSO contain some typical elements about the rocky road to fame - drugs, sex and rock 'n roll figure prominently - and how success isn't always all it's cracked up to be; but anyone who - as I do - considers themselves to be a fan of SS will be entertained and enthralled by the gossipy tales. I devoured the 336 page book within a 24 hour period, so that alone is a testament to its power. Sadly, the book ends rather abruptly around 2005, and I was HOPING for a detailed account of Shear's collaboration on the failed musical version of "Tales of the City' (which I saw in its premiere production in - where else? - San Francisco). But Shears hints that there MIGHT be a volume two chronicling the last dozen years - and I for one would be first in line to read it! My sincere thanks to Atria Books and Ariele F. for their kind provision of an ARC in exchange for this honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Music can be a formative part of a person’s life. Scissor Sisters informed a large part of this writer’s late teens and early twenties, and a debt of gratitude is owed to Jake Shears. Fortunately Shears doesn’t require special treatment to receive a positive review for Boys Keep Swinging, a memoir that maybe ends too early, but contains a lot of poignant material. Boys Keep Swinging covers the life of Jason “Jake Shears” Sellards from his parents’ courtship through to the moment that they started Music can be a formative part of a person’s life. Scissor Sisters informed a large part of this writer’s late teens and early twenties, and a debt of gratitude is owed to Jake Shears. Fortunately Shears doesn’t require special treatment to receive a positive review for Boys Keep Swinging, a memoir that maybe ends too early, but contains a lot of poignant material. Boys Keep Swinging covers the life of Jason “Jake Shears” Sellards from his parents’ courtship through to the moment that they started recording their mega-hit second album Ta-Dah. It is important to note that this is the terminus, because you miss out on two great albums, years in the wilderness, and whatever the heck has happened since. (From my perspective, and I don’t often bring myself in on these things: I never really knew or accepted that the band broke up in 2012). The first 55% of Boys Keeps Swinging covers the pre-Scissor Sisters years and, because this story is Shears’ alone to tell, it’s the most intriguing and fleshed out part of the book. One day we might not get to read the memoirs of gay people who grew up easy, because that would probably be dull. Shears paints a picture of a child who desired films that featured “anything even resembling a Muppet”, born late to parents of much older siblings. Shears studied literature after high school, and it shows in prose that is deeply connected to his past, words that speak of both love and frustration. This is the period of his life that Shears is most reconciled with, and it helps that his parents and various living situations are inherently fascinating; to be cursed with a prosaic childhood is the memoirist’s nightmare. Given his father’s vintage - fifty at the time of Shears’ birth - it is heartening to see the ultimately positive reception both of his parents paid to their son’s sexuality, even if Dan Savage duffed it. When Shears shifts to New York, he waxes lyrical on a city that has changed greatly since he moved there. He effortlessly conjures the imagery of clubs that the reader may never have known about, and will never get the chance to see. There is a poetry to his description of a citywide blackout, and something tickles about knowing that just before Scissor Sisters officially became a thing that he was playing Zelda (presumably The Wind Waker). The tenor of the book changes when Scissor Sisters proper enters the scene. Shears is surprisingly frank about the other members of the band: Ana Matronic is acknowledged as a force of nature on stage - their live performances are defined by her presence - but Shears is vicious about her part in the early phases of recording, and at times on tour - the sort of thing you possibly wouldn’t want to see said about yourself in print. (Matronic now appears to be based in London, and declined to be interviewed in a recent profile of Shears in the New York Times.) Del Marquis receives many mentions in relation to being unsure of what he makes of the band and, frustratingly, repeated mention is made to a mysterious bone illness that he is suffering from that is never resolved one way or another. More than this, Shears changes completely as a person the moment that he finds success. Having spent his entire life striving for something, he is mentally unprepared for having attained it. A lot of the pages about promoting Scissor Sisters and touring the album is so wracked with misery that Shears has to assure the reader that there were good times on the road. It is clear that Shears has had to work through a lot in the last fourteen years, and that he is now in a better place, but one can leave this book not entirely certain if he’s completely past his pains. One takeaway that you will get is that Elton John is a good man to have on your side, and you’d be lucky to have him as a confidante. This advice may be too lofty for the common man, but it’s good to know. Ending on the eve of Scissor Sisters’ biggest success is a tease. It is doubtful that Shears is planning a sequel, and he may consider this the definitive account of his life - or he may have seen that as the pressure mounts on his mental health, it was becoming heavy for the reader as well as himself. Regardless, there are many mysteries that remain unsolved, and if you want to know what “happened” to Scissor Sisters, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Boys Keep Swinging is not without its flaws: perhaps Shears wrote it over a long period and it spent almost three years in editorial before publication, because he speaks of his long-term partner between these pages as if they were still together. They broke up in 2015; perhaps the why and the how is not our business but, despite the narrative wrapping up somewhere around 2006, Boys Keep Swinging was published outside of a time capsule. It’s a small thing, but it forms an impression that is instantly dispelled with a moment’s external investigation. Shears also structures much of the book around his relationship with Mary, the basis of one of Scissor Sisters’ singles, but it’s difficult to get a handle on what she was like. It becomes increasingly clear that, as Shears’ success grew, his anxiety, depression and guilt all grew exponentially. There is an impression that Shears bears a great pain over his relationship with Mary, and between these pages he hasn’t achieved the catharsis that he potentially craved. Boys Keep Swinging is a memoir that offers fascinating details that you never would have found elsewhere, but is frustratingly elusive on the facts that a reader might have come for. You will come away knowing a lot about Shears, but he keeps enough of himself private that you aren’t able to know the man that he has become. Surprisingly, Boys Keep Swinging isn’t one for fans only: it’s not great as a showbiz memoir, but it is luminescent as the recollections of a gay man who came of age in the latter days of the twentieth century.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tracie Margaret

    Just finished listening to Scissor Sisters singer Jake Shears memoir, Boys Keep Swinging. It was very well reviewed when it was released so I had high hopes. However, between the name dropping and the excessive tales of sexual encounters it boarded on tedious for the majority of the book. I adore their song Mary which Jake wrote about a long time friend. And honestly the only points in the book I was even remotely moved was when he was talking about Mary. I knew a little about the inspiration Just finished listening to Scissor Sisters singer Jake Shears memoir, Boys Keep Swinging. It was very well reviewed when it was released so I had high hopes. However, between the name dropping and the excessive tales of sexual encounters it boarded on tedious for the majority of the book. I adore their song Mary which Jake wrote about a long time friend. And honestly the only points in the book I was even remotely moved was when he was talking about Mary. I knew a little about the inspiration behind the song but I hadn't realised that she had died just 2 years after the single came out. His love and remorse for Mary shone through and left me profoundly sad for her. The rest, not so much.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa The Novel Approach

    “I knew in my heart that we were losing our lives as we knew them, but I also knew that the trade-off was going to be a singular experience that few people get.” – Jake Shears Before there was Jake Shears and Scissor Sisters and kikis to be having, there was Jason Sellards, a self-professed born showman who, even as a kid, knew he was destined for greater things. Boys Keep Swinging is his story, and it’s a brilliant one that begins with his childhood in Mesa, Arizona, and eventually leads us to “I knew in my heart that we were losing our lives as we knew them, but I also knew that the trade-off was going to be a singular experience that few people get.” – Jake Shears Before there was Jake Shears and Scissor Sisters and kikis to be having, there was Jason Sellards, a self-professed born showman who, even as a kid, knew he was destined for greater things. Boys Keep Swinging is his story, and it’s a brilliant one that begins with his childhood in Mesa, Arizona, and eventually leads us to New York City—“the place that people went and fucking did something.” This is a story of drive, determination, and summoning the courage to live out loud. Shears may be a born showman, but he’s nothing if not a natural born storyteller who picks at the threads of memory and weaves them into a compelling novel. With a voice that is by turns engaging and amiable, introspective and moving, passionate and unfailingly honest—even when he doesn’t come off well for it—he lays bare his journey from a precocious boy who always knew he was different, to a teenager coming to terms with his sexuality, and on into adulthood where he embraced his self-expression through writing, performing, go-go dancing, and, eventually, through music. Action is the difference between those who dream of making art and those who then go on to make it. Shears was a one-man sexual revolution, dreaming big and tripping on the rush of conjuring his muse and realizing those dreams. He didn’t wait for opportunity to knock. He seized opportunity by the balls and made things happen, dancing on bartops to make some extra cash and struggling to fucking do something—to leave his mark on the world while grappling with an almost crippling self-loathing. Shears plucks up the names of people who were significant to his evolution and rise, and shares them with his readers, and, of course, as Scissor Sisters evolved from a concept to a major influencer on the indie rock scene, the list of celebrities he encountered along the way becomes all the more impressive. Yes, there’s some name dropping, but why wouldn’t there be? Shears worked hard, paid his dues and earned the right to brag about it a little—when Bono comes down from the mountain with advice for you, you listen and then pass it on. And as Scissor Sisters’ international star rose and peaked, we play witness in an intimate way to the rigorous schedule of touring and the steep emotional and physical toll it exacted on not only Shears but the band as a whole. Raw and often poignant, Shears is unflinching as he recounts his struggles with loneliness in spite of a life full of people, with the weight of depression after realizing that he’d accomplished everything he’d set out to do, and with no greater mountain to conquer, that coming off the high of the success he’d yearned for and achieved was more a hurtling plummet back to reality than a gentle fall. As he grieves the loss of freedom, the loss of friends, Shears is also overcome by the realization that the city that never sleeps didn’t enter a stasis, time didn’t freeze while he was gone, and we witness the contrast between Jason Sellards and Jake Shears and the difficulty of his coexisting with feet in two different worlds. Earnest and at times impish, Shears is an engaging narrator whose courage to pursue his passions led him to love and heartbreak. He shares the good, the bad, the ugly with us, and did something so many of us fail to do—he didn’t quit. You can’t spell success without suck, you’ve got to push through the difficult stuff, and Shears did that, which is what made this memoir possible. Shears lived fierce and hungry in his first thirty-nine years, became a star in his own right for it, and is once again inspired, has begun a new chapter in his life and is making more dreams come true. I’m now waiting for the next iteration of Jake Shears to appear in narrative form. When a book has already been blurbed by the likes of Armistead Maupin and Sir Elton John and reviewed by Lambda Literary, there isn’t much that my two cents is going to add to the buzz. All I can say is that I was a little sad when I reached the end of this one. Shears leaves us on a note of melancholy and hope. Here’s to the next leg of his journey. May it be as passionate and fulfilling as the first. Reviewed by Lisa for The Novel Approach

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Greer

    Having only recently joined the fandom of Scissor Sisters, I was really excited to read this book about Jason Sellards a.k.a. Jake Shears. I loved his candid story telling of how he came to a life of music and all of his romping around the world. It was interesting to hear his perspective on living in NYC at a time when the gay community in the city was going through a major change. Really, quite a good book. Great stories of how a band came together and managed to survive all of the craziness Having only recently joined the fandom of Scissor Sisters, I was really excited to read this book about Jason Sellards a.k.a. Jake Shears. I loved his candid story telling of how he came to a life of music and all of his romping around the world. It was interesting to hear his perspective on living in NYC at a time when the gay community in the city was going through a major change. Really, quite a good book. Great stories of how a band came together and managed to survive all of the craziness that goes along with that!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    This book was provided for free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Two songs that were on constant repeat on my old orange iPod Nano in high school were "Take Your Mama" and "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" by the Scissor Sisters. They never failed to pump me up and make me smile--there was such a tongue-in-cheek, carefree feel to the music, and when I looked the band up years later, they pretty much looked exactly how they sounded. They've been mostly out of the spotlight for a few years This book was provided for free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Two songs that were on constant repeat on my old orange iPod Nano in high school were "Take Your Mama" and "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" by the Scissor Sisters. They never failed to pump me up and make me smile--there was such a tongue-in-cheek, carefree feel to the music, and when I looked the band up years later, they pretty much looked exactly how they sounded. They've been mostly out of the spotlight for a few years (save for "Let's Have a Kiki," which goes blessedly unmentioned in this book), but this book still feels timely. The Scissor Sisters and Jake Shear' image and personality feel distinctly early-2000's, a time not so long ago but still very different in terms of musical atmosphere and sexual and gender expression. Shears grew up in kind of a weird grunge/post-grunge era where music really wasn't all that good and gay people weren't that accepted, so he had to forge ahead with his own organic musical persona. I was surprised to find out that most of his influences are classic rock, punk, and electronic rather than pop music, only because Scissor Sisters were always marketed as so pop-heavy. This is one of those rare memoirs in which the pre-fame stuff is just as interesting as all the juicy stuff we read it for in the first place. Shears (a stage name, which I didn't know before) relays a relatively normal childhood marred by family difficulties, bullying, homophobia, and strange friendships, eventually getting to his wilder years in Seattle and New York where he never had a penny to his name and spent all his time at weird bars with even weirder people. This is definitely his story, not the Scissor Sisters' story, so if you're looking for a comprehensive read on their albums and singles, you may be a little disappointed. The end of this book was definitely rushed. In fact, when I was at 90%, I was wondering how the hell Shears would fit the rest of his career into such a small space, but he really didn't. He left a lot to an epilogue, and to be honest, it doesn't feel all that optimistic. He had a great career, took advantage of a lot of opportunities, and made great friends, but even at the end, there's a pervasive loneliness to Jake Shears. It doesn't seem like he's a particularly happy person. Maybe content, but not happy. Some of the most emotionally gripping parts of this book include his longest-lasting relationship--the friendship with his BFF Mary, a morbidly obese woman he met on a party-line when we was a teenager. They're an unlikely duo but she's one of the only constants in his life. His love for her is so real that he even wrote a song for her--"Mary," which became one of the band's hit singles. Nothing Shears ever did was conventional. He was always on the outskirts, never the in-crowd, and his entire life is filled with colorful people who make us want to be friends with them, too. If this book is any indication, he's certainly lived a life worth living. This is an easy read that delves into a weird band, details the life of a gay kid growing up in an unforgiving world, and reminds us of some of the obscurest bops of the past 20 years. All around a decent pick.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dario DallaLasta

    I just finished reading Jake Shears' memoir "Boys Keep Swinging," and I feel closer to him than I ever thought possible. Not only is the book insightful, grounded, and honest, but it beautifully portrays the origin and rise of the band Scissor Sisters during the early part of the 2000s. I thoroughly enjoyed learning all about how Jake (née Jason Sellards) grew up, how he met the real-life Mary (the subject of the aching song "Mary" from the band's first self-titled album), and how the band I just finished reading Jake Shears' memoir "Boys Keep Swinging," and I feel closer to him than I ever thought possible. Not only is the book insightful, grounded, and honest, but it beautifully portrays the origin and rise of the band Scissor Sisters during the early part of the 2000s. I thoroughly enjoyed learning all about how Jake (née Jason Sellards) grew up, how he met the real-life Mary (the subject of the aching song "Mary" from the band's first self-titled album), and how the band survived after being catapulted into worldwide fame after their debut album dropped in 2004. I could personally relate to his story, especially since I followed the band's shows all over NYC during that fruitful time; in fact, I even appear in their music video for "Filthy/Gorgeous," directed by the brilliant John Cameron Mitchell. Jake's writing is lovely and endearing, and I thought this quote really made sense: "I'd thought we could be boyfriends, in my naive way. But he wouldn't give me the attention I needed. What I didn't quite understand yet was that no single person would ever be able to give me the level of attention I needed." But a room full of fans could. And that, my friends, is how a superstar is born.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Coco V

    I really enjoyed Jake's life story. It's pretty much everything you would expect (adventure, drugs, backroom blowjobs galore), but it ends kind of abruptly right as the second SS album is coming out. I wanted to hear more about the band. I kind of picture him just being like, "Over it. I'm done. Send it off!" Anyway, the prose is good, and you can tell he's had some training. He seems like a good person but does comes across a bit detached and self-centered most of the time, which isn't a I really enjoyed Jake's life story. It's pretty much everything you would expect (adventure, drugs, backroom blowjobs galore), but it ends kind of abruptly right as the second SS album is coming out. I wanted to hear more about the band. I kind of picture him just being like, "Over it. I'm done. Send it off!" Anyway, the prose is good, and you can tell he's had some training. He seems like a good person but does comes across a bit detached and self-centered most of the time, which isn't a shocker. I give it 3.5 stars rounded up to four.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    WOW! What a great read! It was broken up perfectly. A lot of relatable content for me. Made me remember things I had forgotten in my life. The ending, broke my heart.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Al-Ali

    i loved it. it’s been a very long time since i finished a book, let alone finishing it in 2 days. i’ve always loved jake and the scissor sisters. i’ve seen them live in abu dhabi and ana matronic left me an envelope with security with 2 tickets for me and my friend. i’ve loved the band ever since and their music meant so much to me. reading this book goes into jakes personal life and how it had all started, early life, meeting the band, going into fame and working with elton john and other i loved it. it’s been a very long time since i finished a book, let alone finishing it in 2 days. i’ve always loved jake and the scissor sisters. i’ve seen them live in abu dhabi and ana matronic left me an envelope with security with 2 tickets for me and my friend. i’ve loved the band ever since and their music meant so much to me. reading this book goes into jakes personal life and how it had all started, early life, meeting the band, going into fame and working with elton john and other people he’s been idolizing since he was a kid. very personal and touching.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sanders Kennedy

    Overall I loved it. There were a few parts that I wish went deeper (him and Anderson cooper) but being from nyc and growing up in the same spots downtown as he did brought back a lot of cool memories.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Louis Skye

    I’ve never been much into autobiographies but I enjoyed this. I remember listening to Scissor Sisters in the early 2000s; I always thought their videos were so incredibly bizarre. Jake Shears, lead singer and author of this book, was one of the rare artists at that time who was unabashedly fabulous and flamboyant, with absolutely no compunctions about what he looked like on screen. I thought that was incredibly cool. I have only ever heard 3 songs by the band but haven’t really thought of them as I’ve never been much into autobiographies but I enjoyed this. I remember listening to Scissor Sisters in the early 2000s; I always thought their videos were so incredibly bizarre. Jake Shears, lead singer and author of this book, was one of the rare artists at that time who was unabashedly fabulous and flamboyant, with absolutely no compunctions about what he looked like on screen. I thought that was incredibly cool. I have only ever heard 3 songs by the band but haven’t really thought of them as anything more than a one-hit-wonder. After reading this book, that notion will have to change. Turns out Shears studied creative writing and has been writing fiction since he was a child. This book is testament to his love of words. I love his writing style. It’s personal but also amusingn clear but concise. His writing isn’t too whimsical; it’s like a friend chatting to you over afternoon tea. I love it! I enjoyed the first part of the book where Shears writes about his youth and life in Arizona. He made the settings come alive and I could practically see the people he was describing. His difficulties fitting in, and his subsequent loneliness, are universal themes recognised by any queer young people out there. When Shears writes about Scissor Sisters finally taking off and going on a frantic worldwide tour, you can feel the exhaustion and the perspiration slide off the page. It’s fantastically well-written and was so gripping that I couldn’t leave the book for those chapters. Shears has poured his heart and soul into this book, even if it means painting a not so pretty picture of himself or life as a pop star. He is able to distance himself enough to give the facts of a situation, which is hard when you’re writing about yourself. I liked his honesty but sometimes felt he wasn’t being harsh enough on himself. He speaks of writing and creating songs without all his band members but forgives himself quickly when those bandmates became upset about being excluded. He mentions some innate racism that makes him uncomfortable when he moves to New York but doesn’t engage with this facet of his personality apart from a couple of throwaway sentences. He glosses over his temper tantrums and his habit of making scenes in front of people. It feels a bit like Shears himself hasn’t accepted that he isn’t perfect at all times. It isn’t easy to lay oneself bare in words, but I can’t help but wonder how the people at the receiving end will react to him going on easy on himself. I also found the middle sections a bit slow and dull. They were too preoccupied with Shears’ many romantic entanglements which seemed to have been included more for salaciousness than any other reason. I would have preferred if more chapters were spent on how the band worked together and what exactly went into creating a studio album. As much as I loved Shears’ writing, I did often find myself wanting more. There were elements introduced but preemptively dropped. There are passing mentions of presumably significant events that aren’t elaborated upon. The ending of the book seemed a bit abrupt to me, as well. Whether or not Shears will write more memoirs, I don’t know but, one would hardly expect a sequel when reading an autobiography. Why not include everything here? I did enjoy this book, despite a few flaws. Shears has been very open about the music industry, suburban life and the struggles and joys of being LGBTQ+ in America. His writing is attractive and engaging and he holds little back. I would have liked this to be complete story of his life, which it was styled to be, and for more thought to have been put into what did and didn’t get fleshed out. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read. If you need me, I’ll be listening to the Scissor Sisters.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Preston

    He should stick to writing songs, not books, but he’s cute and recounts his slutty misadventures, so it held my interest. Kind of all over the place, but so is he. Fun read for fans of the Scissor Sisters.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric Lawless

    I really enjoyed this music memoir, one of the better ones I've read. To be honest, I only had a passing knowledge of Scissor Sisters music but the book was recommended to me and looked interesting. There is a, "I've just arrived in New York City, and I'm trying this drug, having sex with this person....times 20" that got a bit tedious. I got it early on, you got laid a lot and experimented with drugs, becoming an avid Ecstasy user for a bit...check. Other than the boredom of this section I I really enjoyed this music memoir, one of the better ones I've read. To be honest, I only had a passing knowledge of Scissor Sisters music but the book was recommended to me and looked interesting. There is a, "I've just arrived in New York City, and I'm trying this drug, having sex with this person....times 20" that got a bit tedious. I got it early on, you got laid a lot and experimented with drugs, becoming an avid Ecstasy user for a bit...check. Other than the boredom of this section I found the book rather enjoyable and Jake Shears to be a great writer.

  21. 5 out of 5

    George

    I enjoyed hearing about his journey, but I was disappointed it ended just as Shears and his Scissor Sisters bandmates were rehearsing their second album. That was more than a decade ago! I wanted more! Guess I'll have to wait for part two (assuming there will be one?). Would like to have heard more about his depression and recovering from it and the making of the second album, which seemed to be glossed over. He also talks about meeting the love of his life, who he split with about a year before I enjoyed hearing about his journey, but I was disappointed it ended just as Shears and his Scissor Sisters bandmates were rehearsing their second album. That was more than a decade ago! I wanted more! Guess I'll have to wait for part two (assuming there will be one?). Would like to have heard more about his depression and recovering from it and the making of the second album, which seemed to be glossed over. He also talks about meeting the love of his life, who he split with about a year before the book was written. Want to know what happened. So many things left unsaid. Also, considering that Shears went to school for creative writing, I wasn't enamored with the prose. I guess I expected more from this very talented individual.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eric Kennedy

    A bit scattered, but an interesting read for fans of the Scissor Sisters and Jake Shears. The book is divided into three parts: Youth, New York, and Scissor Sisters. The transition to the last part (which accounts for about 50% of the book) is a bit jarring, but eventually finds its footing. Interestingly, the book ends after the release of Ta Dah (2006), the band's second album. Having read about the band's various disagreements and struggles throughout their early years, I'm curious to see how A bit scattered, but an interesting read for fans of the Scissor Sisters and Jake Shears. The book is divided into three parts: Youth, New York, and Scissor Sisters. The transition to the last part (which accounts for about 50% of the book) is a bit jarring, but eventually finds its footing. Interestingly, the book ends after the release of Ta Dah (2006), the band's second album. Having read about the band's various disagreements and struggles throughout their early years, I'm curious to see how their final two albums played out behind the scenes and to learn more about their eventual breakup. Will there be a second memoir, recounting the later years of the band, Jake Shears's breakup, and his work on Kinky Boots? I'd read it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cody

    Highly addictive and emotional read. I've admired Jake Shears since I discovered Scissor Sisters when I was coming out in college. The band helped me to understand that being queer in this world is not only okay, but that it is something to truly celebrate and embody with pride. Shears writes about his life with humor, brutal honesty, and moving insight - I'll admit that I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of his writing. Knowing the stories behind his songwriting has given me a deeper and Highly addictive and emotional read. I've admired Jake Shears since I discovered Scissor Sisters when I was coming out in college. The band helped me to understand that being queer in this world is not only okay, but that it is something to truly celebrate and embody with pride. Shears writes about his life with humor, brutal honesty, and moving insight - I'll admit that I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of his writing. Knowing the stories behind his songwriting has given me a deeper and more nuanced appreciation of his musical catalogue. Book Riot 2018 Reading Challenge: 12) A celebrity memoir

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sue Trowbridge

    I picked up Jake Shears’ memoir Boys Keep Swinging because I was a fan of his glam-rock/disco band the Scissor Sisters, who have been M.I.A. over the past few years. Shears also wrote songs for the “Tales of the City” musical that I loved so much back in 2011; I still nurture a hope that it’ll go on to have a second life someday. As it turns out, Boys Keep Swinging doesn’t deal at all with the band’s lengthy hiatus, or “Tales of the City”—it stops around the time he’s about to start working on I picked up Jake Shears’ memoir Boys Keep Swinging because I was a fan of his glam-rock/disco band the Scissor Sisters, who have been M.I.A. over the past few years. Shears also wrote songs for the “Tales of the City” musical that I loved so much back in 2011; I still nurture a hope that it’ll go on to have a second life someday. As it turns out, Boys Keep Swinging doesn’t deal at all with the band’s lengthy hiatus, or “Tales of the City”—it stops around the time he’s about to start working on the Scissor Sisters’ second album. So this is really a book about how a kid named Jason Sellards, who grew up feeling like an outcast, became the platinum-selling rock star Jake Shears, and hints at why he had to walk away from it all for a while. I’ve seen Shears on Dan Savage’s husband Terry Miller’s social media, but until I read Boys Keep Swinging, I had no idea that Shears was a frequent caller to Savage’s radio call-in show when he was a high school student. Savage became something of a mentor to Shears after telling him on air that he should come out as gay to his parents; he took the advice, but it didn’t go very well, unfortunately... Read the full review

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Romero

    In his memoir, Jake takes us from his childhood in Arizona and the Pacific Northwest, and in neither place did he fit in. He was too flamboyant, too out there, just too over the top. But he didn't know how to be anything other than what he was. Gay, in a time and place that could get you ostracized but hurt. The relationship with his mother was one of total acceptance. His father more stoic silence. Trying to find his own identity and voice, he realizes he wants to sing. On stage. Be the center of In his memoir, Jake takes us from his childhood in Arizona and the Pacific Northwest, and in neither place did he fit in. He was too flamboyant, too out there, just too over the top. But he didn't know how to be anything other than what he was. Gay, in a time and place that could get you ostracized but hurt. The relationship with his mother was one of total acceptance. His father more stoic silence.  Trying to find his own identity and voice, he realizes he wants to sing. On stage. Be the center of attention, which he loves. When he moves to New York, his meeting with Babydaddy is pivotal and begins the formation of the band Scissor Sisters. The beginning was pretty good. The description of the gay community as well as the Seattle music scene was very interesting. Then we got to the middle and I was really trying hard to step over the names being dropped. I would have liked to know more about his depression and how the band wasn't that huge in the U.S. and why.  Were there parts that were a little slow? Yes. Was the gratuitous name dropping necessary? Not that I could tell. I would read the first half again.  Netgalley/Atria  February 20, 2018

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    I really enjoy the band the Scissor Sisters so naturally when I saw that the lead singer had written a memoir I had to pick it up. The book tales about Shears' childhood as well as his rise into fame. The book goes into detail about Jake's coming to terms with his sexuality as well as some of the more extreme jobs he had to take on in order to support himself. The book falters a bit when it arrives at the conception of the band. The thing that was the most striking was his relationship with I really enjoy the band the Scissor Sisters so naturally when I saw that the lead singer had written a memoir I had to pick it up. The book tales about Shears' childhood as well as his rise into fame. The book goes into detail about Jake's coming to terms with his sexuality as well as some of the more extreme jobs he had to take on in order to support himself. The book falters a bit when it arrives at the conception of the band. The thing that was the most striking was his relationship with Mary, a friend he made in college, something that eventually became the subject of one his songs. I really was touched by this section of the book and wanted to see what would happen with the friendship. If you like the band, you should read this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    DNF @ 51% I was enjoying this book up until the halfway point. I made the mistake of putting it down for a couple weeks and by the time I was able to come back to it, I only got through a couple pages before realizing I was no longer interested. The way Jake Shears talks about his childhood and upbringing got me hooked, but he lost me soon after coming to NYC. There were far too many off-hand mentions of people and places that he never really gave reason for that it just began to feel like name DNF @ 51% I was enjoying this book up until the halfway point. I made the mistake of putting it down for a couple weeks and by the time I was able to come back to it, I only got through a couple pages before realizing I was no longer interested. The way Jake Shears talks about his childhood and upbringing got me hooked, but he lost me soon after coming to NYC. There were far too many off-hand mentions of people and places that he never really gave reason for that it just began to feel like name dropping for the sake of it. I was really looking forward to learning more about Scissor Sisters, but I never got to it. I hope others have better luck with this than I did. I received a free ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Jones

    FABULOUS, ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY FABULOUS, ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY 👍❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mediaman

    I'll state up front I am not a fan of the Scissor Sisters--but I am a fan of memoirs, having read hundreds of them, and this is one of the worst. It's mindless jabbering about nothing but guys he has sex with and drugs he takes. Over and over and over again. He has no hesitation, no moral boundaries. Just get wild and party. Then he wonders why in the end he is sick and depressed. The worst part of the book is that this guy has aspects of his life that would make a fascinating read. He knows all I'll state up front I am not a fan of the Scissor Sisters--but I am a fan of memoirs, having read hundreds of them, and this is one of the worst. It's mindless jabbering about nothing but guys he has sex with and drugs he takes. Over and over and over again. He has no hesitation, no moral boundaries. Just get wild and party. Then he wonders why in the end he is sick and depressed. The worst part of the book is that this guy has aspects of his life that would make a fascinating read. He knows all sorts of famous people (intimately!), has an interesting background as a well-off kid mooching off his parents in adulthood, and becomes friends with an overweight girl named Mary. Almost none of these things are mentioned much in the book. The most interesting parts of his life get short-changed and barely alluded to. The guy dated Anderson Cooper and all we get is a couple paragraphs! He became close buddies with Elton John and all we get is a couple pages of nonsense! Namely, Jake Shears doesn't know how to write a memoir. Ironically he was a creative writing major in college, and the main problem with this book is that the first half reads like a creative writing class project where he uses ridiculously frilly words to pump up boring stories. We get hundreds of pages about nothing, but all sorts of adjectives to describe it. He includes "facts" from his memories that have nothing to do with anything. For example--his dentist dies. Okay, why is that important to include? We don't know--there's no story attached to it. His idea of detail is to tell the colors of paint on the wall of an apartment he lived in 20 years ago--but not only is that insignificant but since he was so heavily drugged during his entire life I don't think we can trust anything in his memory. What we do get is decades of drug abuse and gay sex (though neither are detailed--for Jake it's about quantity, not quality). He seems to be bragging about his ability to survive through the drugs and his sexual conquests, which make him feel appreciated. The drugs obviously do something to his mind and his health, but he's too dumb to notice. He hilariously claims that when he finally graduated college (after multiple schools, bad grades, and many years delay) it was proof that "I had my shit together." No, buddy, it wasn't. And this book is cover-to-cover proof that you still don't. Then after he becomes a success but can't figure out why he is always so depressed, he writes, "I was despondent, and it felt like there was nothing I could do about it. I think the last couple of years had been so hard on my body: Lack of proper food, not drinking enough water, sleep deprivation, had led to pure exhaustion." Notice anything missing? No mention of his rampant drug usage, daily drinking, and unsafe sex. The guy is clueless, as are most in these celebrity circles who can't figure out why they feel so bad. So what was the solution to his depression? Not to get off drugs or stop drinking but to take Elton John's advice and to get on MORE drugs (anti-depressants). The book is incomplete (ending long before some his more recent career choices) and the part of the book devoted to his actual known musical career makes up only about the last 40%. If that's what you're interested in skip the first half completely. But even better, skip the whole thing--other than the minor side-stories of his family and overweight female friend there's nothing worth reading here.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jolie

    I am not a fan of reviewing memoirs, biographies or autobiographies. I like to read them but ask me to review them, no thank you. So, how did I end up with Boys Keep Swinging? A mistake. I didn’t read the blurb before I decided to push the Read Now button on NetGalley. I was multitasking, which is pretty common. Plus, I loved the cover. Anyways, I will do my best not to bore you guys with this review. Boys Keep Swinging is about Jake Shears. From his childhood on an island to finding fame with I am not a fan of reviewing memoirs, biographies or autobiographies. I like to read them but ask me to review them, no thank you. So, how did I end up with Boys Keep Swinging? A mistake. I didn’t read the blurb before I decided to push the Read Now button on NetGalley. I was multitasking, which is pretty common. Plus, I loved the cover. Anyways, I will do my best not to bore you guys with this review. Boys Keep Swinging is about Jake Shears. From his childhood on an island to finding fame with The Scissor Sisters, you can’t help but be drawn into the book. I was captivated from the first chapter and couldn’t put the book down. There were parts where I was giggling and other parts had me in tears. Jake’s sense of humor came through strongly in this book. The humor in this book is a dry sort of humor, which I like. The snark is strong with this book and I loved it!! I am going to admit, I have never heard of The Scissor Sisters before this book. But, they have made a new convert. Researching videos for this blog post, I came across the above YouTube video. Loved it. My 4-year-old daughter also loved it. She danced her little butt off for the entire hour and 8 minutes that the video played. She also has demanded that the “Skisser Sisters” be played on our Alexa/Echo. Nonstop….lol. There are serious moments in the book. It wasn’t all humor. One of the sadder scenes was Jake coming out to his parents. I wanted to reach through the book and hug him. I am roughly the same age as Jake and sadly the attitude that his parents were the norm. I had a friend who crossdressed. He didn’t fully start doing it until I was a senior in high school, so 94-95. The day he wore a skirt to school, he was sent home. He showed up the next day in a dress and got beat up after school. He was supposed to go with us in our limo for prom as my friend’s “date“. I was pulled aside by the captain of the football team the day before and was threatened. “So and so better not show up. You, him and your friends will regret it“. I did stand up for him and told the captain to take his ego and shove it up his butt, but still. My friend didn’t go to the prom. He didn’t want anything to happen to us. I never saw him after high school and I often wonder what has happened to him :(. I have read earlier reviews that have complained about the name dropping in the book. Honestly, it didn’t bother me. He was an up and coming musician that happened to befriend some famous people . Didn’t affect my view of the book or the content that was written. Those people happened into his life and he chose to write about them. Hell, if I was friends with Elton John, I would be name dropping too…lol. The end of the book was a bit melancholy. I can’t describe why but I did get a little sad reading it. I am giving Boys Keep Swinging an Adult rating. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 21. There is sex (lots and lots of sex), language, some mild violence, and drug use. The drug use might trigger some people. Saying that I would recommend this book to family and friends but with a warning. I would read this again. I would like to thank Atria Books for allowing me to read and review Boys Keep Swinging. All opinions stated in this review of Boys Keep Swinging are mine. **I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

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