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Since she first burst onto the international music scene, Melissa Etheridge has released seven albums that have sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, garnering not only public adoration for her uncompromising honesty but numerous critical awards, including two Grammys and the prestigious ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award. The Truth Is . . . is a highly charged autob Since she first burst onto the international music scene, Melissa Etheridge has released seven albums that have sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, garnering not only public adoration for her uncompromising honesty but numerous critical awards, including two Grammys and the prestigious ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award. The Truth Is . . . is a highly charged autobiography—a bold and unflinching account of an extraordinary life that Melissa describes as only she can: from her Kansas roots, through her early love of music, to her brilliant rise to superstardom in a male-dominated rock world. Melissa openly discusses the massive impact of her publicly coming out, a revelation that only increased her popularity, making her a highly visible spokesperson for the gay and lesbian community. The Truth Is . . . shares Melissa Etheridge’s fascinating story with unprecedented candor and insight.


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Since she first burst onto the international music scene, Melissa Etheridge has released seven albums that have sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, garnering not only public adoration for her uncompromising honesty but numerous critical awards, including two Grammys and the prestigious ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award. The Truth Is . . . is a highly charged autob Since she first burst onto the international music scene, Melissa Etheridge has released seven albums that have sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, garnering not only public adoration for her uncompromising honesty but numerous critical awards, including two Grammys and the prestigious ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award. The Truth Is . . . is a highly charged autobiography—a bold and unflinching account of an extraordinary life that Melissa describes as only she can: from her Kansas roots, through her early love of music, to her brilliant rise to superstardom in a male-dominated rock world. Melissa openly discusses the massive impact of her publicly coming out, a revelation that only increased her popularity, making her a highly visible spokesperson for the gay and lesbian community. The Truth Is . . . shares Melissa Etheridge’s fascinating story with unprecedented candor and insight.

30 review for The Truth Is . . .: My Life in Love and Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy

    I do not write songs to keep for myself. I give the songs away. And they become whatever the people listening want them to be. Just because the song came from a certain place - maybe anger, maybe passion, whatever - once I let it go, it takes on a life of its own. That's the beauty of creating music. It is something different to everyone. Slightly late review. I discovered Melissa Etheridge only a few weeks ago (although I had seen her divine 1994 duet with the incomparable kd lang, singing 'Yo I do not write songs to keep for myself. I give the songs away. And they become whatever the people listening want them to be. Just because the song came from a certain place - maybe anger, maybe passion, whatever - once I let it go, it takes on a life of its own. That's the beauty of creating music. It is something different to everyone. Slightly late review. I discovered Melissa Etheridge only a few weeks ago (although I had seen her divine 1994 duet with the incomparable kd lang, singing 'You Can Sleep While I Drive' a few months earlier) and since then she (and her marvellous music) has dominated my life. This autobiography is now 14 years old, but still very potent and intense, just like its author. She's one of the most charismatic performers I've ever seen. Not to mention truthful. This latter element plays a large part in this book: she talks about growing up in Leavenworth, Kansas, her difficult relationship with her mother, the shocking abuse she suffered at the hands of her older sister, discovering that her vocation lies in music and songwriting, and, aged 17, beginning to fully understand her sexuality. Further chapters lead us through her years of playing gigs in lesbian bars in the early 80s, her complex (and often non-monogamous) relationships with women, and her later critical and chart success, winning two Grammys, as well as meeting Julie Cypher, who would become her longtime partner, in the process (though at the time this biography was written the two had split for good; one gets the impression that it was probably for the best). I very much enjoyed this book. Etheridge's personality, not to mention her honesty, shines through. I still have hopes for a second volume, though there is at least her upcoming twelfth album, This is M.E., to look forward to. Rock on, Melissa!

  2. 4 out of 5

    mark

    This might be the best, most honest celebrity memoir I’ve read … and, it is far more than just that. It is also an insightful, truthful look at ambition and success and romantic relationship, i.e. intense desire; homosexuality, creativity, fame, families, work and home, childbirth, art, in other words – the human condition. It covers a lot of material with few words and many pictures. The introduction is so spot on, beginning with a diary entry when Melissa was fourteen, in 1975, Leavenworth, Ka This might be the best, most honest celebrity memoir I’ve read … and, it is far more than just that. It is also an insightful, truthful look at ambition and success and romantic relationship, i.e. intense desire; homosexuality, creativity, fame, families, work and home, childbirth, art, in other words – the human condition. It covers a lot of material with few words and many pictures. The introduction is so spot on, beginning with a diary entry when Melissa was fourteen, in 1975, Leavenworth, Kansas: “To Myself: Who are you? Where are you? Why do you hide so?” And the intro concludes: “You see, I believe people have their own points of view. This is simply mine.” It just so happens I believe and agree with much of what she does, eg. Past-life regression, causes of cancer (very interestingly, ME subsequently got and survived breast cancer); approach/avoidant patterns, time (the date) of birth affecting personality, personality being present at birth, that childhood traumas and family influence adult behaviors – things like that. Etheridge’s method is simple and straight-forward. She begins at the beginning (wink) and tells you what happened, what she was thinking at the time it happened, and what she now thinks about what she thought then. And of course there are the songs she wrote about what happened, when it happened, which were sometimes cloaked in a sort of coded language – misunderstood, confused sometimes, by herself as well as listeners. But what remained constant was her passion and drive. And there are a lot of pictures to augment the story, too. When she hit the radio waves in the late 80’s, I just loved her music. I had no idea she was a lesbian, the thought never crossed my mind. The words and music were just so filled with passion and desire, love and loss – I totally got it. And it ROCKED! She came out publicly in 1993, at President Clinton’s inauguration. And then this, in 1998, Mathew Shepard, was brutally murdered in Wyoming, beaten and left to die roped to a fence post, because he was gay. It was a very big deal here, in Colorado, and especially for me as I was working in the Social Work Field. Etheridge’s recounting of her reaction to that is the most poignant writing in the book. It moved me to tears. Of course she wrote a song, SCARECROW. I dare you to read it and not weep. This event is recalled in the chapter titled MOTHERING, when Melissa’s partner was giving birth to their first child. At the time, that relationship was coming apart; and Etheridge had been asked to write a song for the US women’s soccer team, on their way to a World Cup championship and … ME wrote the song BREAKDOWN, about emotional collapse. By now, if your reading this now (July 3, 2015); you must be getting eerie feelings of New Age woo-wooism. I am, did. The Shepard murder is not unlike the recent murders in Charleston. Same motivation (a hate filled rage that targets innocents) and the victims’ survivors reacted similarly, too, with forgiveness. And, ME’s explanation as to how and why is right in line with my own. I thought I was reading my own thoughts about what happened, then and now. And (of course) the US women’s soccer team is headed into the World Cup Championship game Sunday. And then, how did I come to be reading this book now, 14 years after it came out, you ask? Well, I’ve been going through all my stuff, downsizing, and happened upon ME’s music that I had recorded on cassette tapes, back in the 90’s … and then I remembered I had this book on a shelf in my garage and thought – I’ll give it a read before I give it away. And (of course) the SCOTUS just made gay marriage legal in all fifty states. Are you freaked out yet? I’m not going to give the book away now, you’ll have to find your own copy. And give the music a listen, too. Five stars. Summer 2015

  3. 4 out of 5

    Addy

    I love Melissa Etheridge and saw this at my library and had been meaning to check it out for a while now. It wasn't a very long book so it only took me a few hours to get through. She talks about how she grew up, with an emotionally distant mother, her older sister who molested her, and her father who was the only one who supported her musical aspirations. She grew up in Kansas and talks about trying to get a music career going there, and also her issues with being gay. She left Kansas and drove I love Melissa Etheridge and saw this at my library and had been meaning to check it out for a while now. It wasn't a very long book so it only took me a few hours to get through. She talks about how she grew up, with an emotionally distant mother, her older sister who molested her, and her father who was the only one who supported her musical aspirations. She grew up in Kansas and talks about trying to get a music career going there, and also her issues with being gay. She left Kansas and drove out to L.A. where she became involved in a lot of relationships with women who were emotionally unavailable. It seems that when she wanted to commit, they did not, and she slept around with a lot. She seemed to leave one relationship and head right into another one. Eventually at one of her gigs in a bar she met her to be partner, Julie, whom at the time was married. Julie left her husband for Melissa and they had a tumultous ten year plus relationship, which ended with two children by IVF by the now infamous Crosby! She talks a lot about her life and her loves and more importantly, her music and how it all came to be. It was a very good read, I enjoyed it very much.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy Bennett

    It's natural to be curious about celebrities, and singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge has done a nice job of satisfying that curiosity with her memoir The Truth Is. . .: My Life in Love and Music. Etheridge helps us understand her family background, her childhood issues with her sister, her growing-up relationship to her mother and father, her emergence into lesbian adulthood, her ten-year relationship with Julie Cypher, parenthood of two children with Julie, their break-up, and Melissa's growin It's natural to be curious about celebrities, and singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge has done a nice job of satisfying that curiosity with her memoir The Truth Is. . .: My Life in Love and Music. Etheridge helps us understand her family background, her childhood issues with her sister, her growing-up relationship to her mother and father, her emergence into lesbian adulthood, her ten-year relationship with Julie Cypher, parenthood of two children with Julie, their break-up, and Melissa's growing maturity and independence. Sprinkled in with her narrative are lyrics to some of her songs, as she shares with the reader how and why the words were written as they were. And also included are some nice still shots of her at different phases of her life and career. It's not an exhaustive, detailed account, but we get the picture. And it's well told and interesting. I feel as if I know Melissa Etheridge a lot better now than I did when I started reading, and I will enjoy her music more knowing something of the artist who created the songs.

  5. 4 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    This was another book I picked up unexpectedly. Even more unexpectedly I could hardly put it down. Not that this is the best written autobiography ever but ME recalls her story in a very down-to-earth and engaging way - without really holding back on challenging memories. What was also most interesting was that ME provides a lot of context to her music and many background stories to songs. An excellent read. Review first posted on BookLikes: http://brokentune.booklikes.com/post/... This was another book I picked up unexpectedly. Even more unexpectedly I could hardly put it down. Not that this is the best written autobiography ever but ME recalls her story in a very down-to-earth and engaging way - without really holding back on challenging memories. What was also most interesting was that ME provides a lot of context to her music and many background stories to songs. An excellent read. Review first posted on BookLikes: http://brokentune.booklikes.com/post/...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    I read this book while working on a project about how regular people become heroes. This book offers an inside look at how Etheridge uses songs to both reflect and construct her own life. The book reads like an extended US Weekly article ... the writing is worse than Stephanie Meyer, and I didn't know that was possible. Etheridge regularly displays self-contradictory impulses and lack of self-awareness, as well as an inability to construct a rhetorically aware text. But (lack of) artistic qualit I read this book while working on a project about how regular people become heroes. This book offers an inside look at how Etheridge uses songs to both reflect and construct her own life. The book reads like an extended US Weekly article ... the writing is worse than Stephanie Meyer, and I didn't know that was possible. Etheridge regularly displays self-contradictory impulses and lack of self-awareness, as well as an inability to construct a rhetorically aware text. But (lack of) artistic quality aside, the book is fascinating for the glimpse it gives into the challenges faced by a woman who has spent her entire life trying to overcome childhood sexual abuse. She is a frail soul, but one who loves passionately and deeply, and who is making recovery her business.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    An easy and enjoyable read. Yeah, it's a little fluffy and preachy optimistic at times...but god I needed that after Jude the Obscure! I would have liked a 'discography' (is that what a list of albums in chronological order by release date is called?) at the end - but that's a minor issue. It's amazing how I have gone from being 'meh' about Melissa Etheridge before seeing her live in concert to a fully fledged fan after seeing her live. She ROCKED the house!! It's kind of funny, because so much ha An easy and enjoyable read. Yeah, it's a little fluffy and preachy optimistic at times...but god I needed that after Jude the Obscure! I would have liked a 'discography' (is that what a list of albums in chronological order by release date is called?) at the end - but that's a minor issue. It's amazing how I have gone from being 'meh' about Melissa Etheridge before seeing her live in concert to a fully fledged fan after seeing her live. She ROCKED the house!! It's kind of funny, because so much has happened in her public life since completing this book - she almost needs a 'part 2'. I mean...the public battle with breast cancer, the public break up with Tammy, etc.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Keair Snyder

    I loved this book. I've spent my entire life with Melissa's music as a soundtrack and hearing the stories behind the songs only made me love them more. I wish she would write another book talking about her life since this book ended, her battle with cancer and her relationship and breakup with Tammy, etc. I would definitely recommend this to any M.E. fans out there.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Lyman

    This book was more of a therapy session and the story of Etheridge coming out and living as a lesbian. It has virtually no memorable stories.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dana Berglund

    Super cheesy, but I'm a big Melissa fan so it gets 4 stars for being an honest celebrity memoir that felt almost like a conversation with her. The line-by-line writing (even with Laura Morton helping her as co-author) wasn't excellent, but the chapters were cohesive. I learned a lot, and I loved hearing the back stories behind some of my favorite songs. This was written right as she was leaving a 12 year relationship, and a lot changes for her in the year or two it took to write and publish this Super cheesy, but I'm a big Melissa fan so it gets 4 stars for being an honest celebrity memoir that felt almost like a conversation with her. The line-by-line writing (even with Laura Morton helping her as co-author) wasn't excellent, but the chapters were cohesive. I learned a lot, and I loved hearing the back stories behind some of my favorite songs. This was written right as she was leaving a 12 year relationship, and a lot changes for her in the year or two it took to write and publish this book. It's been 15 years, and I'm wondering if she'd consider writing another book to show us all how she got to where she is now....

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Perhaps I should set the bar higher but it’s nice to read a celebrity memoir and get all the way through without finding a typo or editing error. This is a well-written book that I breezed through and learned a few things about an artist that has had an interesting and eventful career. Bonus points for frankness.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    This is my girl I read this book and I could feel Melissa warm her compassion, her true self and her warm loving arms holding some one heart. Melissa you need some one who truly loves you for who you are.

  13. 5 out of 5

    MB Shakespeare

    Learned a lot about the artist.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Stericker

    Although dated (it was released in 2002), it was a compelling read (in spite of being ghost written...). It is a warm, honest book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pawpaw

    Surprisingly compelling read!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sonja Isaacson

    I am a little mad about this book because around page 5 she starts talking about how her sister abused her. I understand she is sharing part of what formed her, but I also feel like this gives anti-gay parties a chance to say she is gay because she was abused, otherwise she would be "normal". I was also surprised how much she seems to avoid talking about the demands of touring and dealing with fame. She just sort of periodically name-drops or mentions an event she was invited to. Instead it was I am a little mad about this book because around page 5 she starts talking about how her sister abused her. I understand she is sharing part of what formed her, but I also feel like this gives anti-gay parties a chance to say she is gay because she was abused, otherwise she would be "normal". I was also surprised how much she seems to avoid talking about the demands of touring and dealing with fame. She just sort of periodically name-drops or mentions an event she was invited to. Instead it was much more about her relationships, sexuality, and music. If I were one of her family members, friends, girlfriends, or partners, I might not be pleased with this book. Many of her descriptions of these people seemed negative to me or that she is sharing something that perhaps they did not want shared with the public. I did realize this week that she didn't disclose what her parents employment was. Wikipedia tells me her father was a teacher at the high school she attended. To me, sometimes the job your parent has - or the schedule for that job - may really affect a person. And in her case, it sounds like her father really supported her while she was a teen and that wasn't overly evident until the end.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Neil

    I did like this book...really, I did. I'm a huge Melissa Etheridge fan and she's someone I have the utmost respect for. But when I got this book in the mail, all I could think of is that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where they're giving Jason Alexander a hard time because his book is more like a pamphlet...a thin, brisk read. I expected a lot more story out of someone with such a resilient and eventful career. I especially wanted more story about the creation of her records, but instead the b I did like this book...really, I did. I'm a huge Melissa Etheridge fan and she's someone I have the utmost respect for. But when I got this book in the mail, all I could think of is that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where they're giving Jason Alexander a hard time because his book is more like a pamphlet...a thin, brisk read. I expected a lot more story out of someone with such a resilient and eventful career. I especially wanted more story about the creation of her records, but instead the book serves to simply address the multiple tabloid topics...the 'father' of her kids, the dissolution of her 10 year relationship, her sexuality, etc. While it is interesting to learn the truth about those topics (which does serve to at least explain some of her more cryptic lyrics), if you're more of a fan of her music than anything, you might leave feeling a bit disappointed. It does feel a bit hurried, especially once you get to the early 90s stuff, but it is still informative and written in a concise format that will enable you to blow through this book quickly...but that's a blessing and a curse, unfortunately. Hopefully she writes another book that will dive much deeper and makes for a more visceral read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I have been a Melissa Etheridge fan for as long as I can remember. This book, penned by Melissa and friend Laura Morton tells of her life, "her truth" as she puts it, admitting that her truth may conflict with others' truths. After reading her life story and learning more about this amazing woman, I am more inspired by and in awe of her. This book covers her life from childhood to the release of her 7th album, "Skin". I was always curious about her break-up with Cypher, and have come to a new ap I have been a Melissa Etheridge fan for as long as I can remember. This book, penned by Melissa and friend Laura Morton tells of her life, "her truth" as she puts it, admitting that her truth may conflict with others' truths. After reading her life story and learning more about this amazing woman, I am more inspired by and in awe of her. This book covers her life from childhood to the release of her 7th album, "Skin". I was always curious about her break-up with Cypher, and have come to a new appreciation of an artist I have always admired.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This biography of singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge was sprinkled with lyrics of songs that she wrote during the time of which she was writing. Stories from her troubled childhood and tumultuous youth, her break into recording, and her love life. She had two children with her partner in the midst of her musical career. She is very much her own person and driven, but very honest about her own shortcomings and how they affected her life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Ehhhhhh. Not at all what I was expecting. Mostly this book is about Melissa's many relationships and doing gigs when she was getting started on her career. I was hoping for more about her growing up years. I read the entire book in a couple of hours because there just isn't much substance. I am a fan of Melissa's and I wanted to like this book. I just didn't. I am glad she included pictures. I think all memoirs should have pictures.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Wendi Schwartz

    Ms. Etheridge comes off quite honest and forthcoming in the book. Funny how since the time of the writing, she has been very quiet about her personal life. I guess she likes to "air the dirty laundry" when she is the one who is seemingly victimized. But, when she becomes the "bad guy" she won't talk about her life. I admit, I am biased because once I was a huge fan of hers. She has become a hypocrite and phoney, in my opinion.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pia

    Alright, I admit it, I read this for the dirt! And, in terms of gossip column tidbits, I was not disappointed. While Melissa and her first wife, Julie, were together, her wife had a short affair with K.D. Lang!? Oh, my! Otherwise, though, this book was too steeped in self-help-jargon and pseudo self-analysis that was neither smart, or thoughtful, or insightful.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    Given that I am a HUGE Melissa Etheridge fan, I would have read this book no matter what. However, I was pleasantly surprised by its honesty, humor, and content organization. Granted, she had a shadow writer, but so do a lot of celebrities and their books do not turn out this well. I will likely read this book again.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    THE TRUTH IS..... What an interesting book!! I have never been a great Melissa Etheridge fan but after reading this book I believe that I will give her music a listen...and re-evaluate! I loved some of the words to some of the songs in the book and would love to see how she puts them to music....I may even become a new fan.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    Some people should stick to their primary talent (i.e., singing) and not try to write books! While I learned some info about ME from ME, the writing style was very unpleasant for my eyeballs (and brain) to take in.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cayr

    I've discovered something about myself. When I read an autobiography, I either end up liking the person more, or I end up liking the person less. This fit into the second category. Still love the music though.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    She spoke to me. It's amazing. The insights into her lyrics are enlightening. The book makes her real. She makes me believe that I can succeed, too. Success isn't just for the wealthy. Success is for me. And for her. And she and I aren't so different.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cathi

    so far so good...but only in Ch. 1 :) Well I finished this book at 4:40am. It was a good look into Melissa Etheridge's discovery in finding herself. The stories behind some of her lyrics, some are straight forward, some a veiled look into the life of others.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amy P.

    It was a very quick read and interesting enough. I think if you're a big Melissa Etheridge fan it's probably more interesting, but even if you're not you'll find it enticing enough to finish the book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tanya Tregenza

    It's refreshing to read that even the gifted musicians are still human. They still have the same issues as we do. A well written insight into everyday life as a much loved parent and inspirational musician and woman.

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