Review of “Who I Am: A Memoir”, by Pete Townshend

Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times:

BOOK-popup“Who I Am” is an earnest, tortured, searching book — by turns eloquent and long-winded, revealing and oddly elliptical. In it Mr. Townshend, the guitarist and songwriter for the Who, gives an account of his life as intimate and as painful as a therapy session, while chronicling the history of the band as it took shape in the Mod scene in 1960s London and became the very embodiment of adolescent rebellion and loud, anarchic rock ’n’ roll.

Mr. Townshend’s self-portrait is raw and unsparing. He tells us about being abused as a child and lasting feelings of shame, anger and anxiety. He tells us about his drug use and struggles with alcohol. And he tells us about being arrested on suspicion of possessing images taken from a child-pornography Web site.

(He says he was trying to come to terms with being abused as a child himself, and was helping to “set up a research program for a new support system for survivors of childhood abuse.” And while he was given a formal police caution, he was cleared of the possession charge.)

Mr. Townshend’s many internal conflicts are exhaustively mapped.

More here.