MORE ROOM IN A BROKEN HEART: The True Adventures of Carly Simon by Stephen Davis

My life as an actress allowed me to sing in a number of shows, but I would never label myself a singer. I was raised on The Grand Ole Opry and coveted Patsy Kline’s vocals until I heard Stevie Nicks and Carly Simon. But I’m not a factoid junkie. I never followed or sought out what the press wrote about any of the singers I loved. How their music affected me emotionally was all that mattered; their songs were my poetry. So my mind was an open canvas for Stephen Davis’s biography of Carly Simon.

Music’s accessibility is greater than ever. We buy, stream and watch our favorite music videos on Youtube. The ease with which we connect with our favorite musicians may lead us to believe the process that takes them from unknown to star is no big deal—a total misconception. The competition is stiff. The detours and roadblocks presented on Carly Simon’s journey to popularity shocked me, especially after I discovered she came from a family with “connections”. Simon’s biography proves that patience and persistence are the backbone to success. Her journey also chronicles the fickle reality of fame, and shows the only way to endure the highs and lows in any career is to stay true and connected to your heart.

If you make a record that’s true to yourself, and you love the work, it can’t be a flop. It can only sell poorly.

The biography is titled, More Room in a Broken Heart, but heart is exactly what is missing within its pages. Once Carly’s career takes off each chapter is more of the same, a detailed account of the songs, producers and musicians that were associated with each album with a bit about her personal life thrown in. The research required to present such a thorough accounting is impressive, but I found much of the material skim-able.

I thought my unrest with the material had to do with my preference for autobiographies or memoirs because the information is coming straight from the source. I also considered my frustration might be related to the fact that Carly Simon is a musician and not an actress or a writer, two professions close to home. But one of my favorite memoirs is The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin, which is all about chess and Tai Chi Chuan.

My favorite parts of Stephen Davis’s book were the chapters that delved into the personal lives of Carly Simon and James Taylor. I found their personal struggles and fears that collided and irritated fascinating and I wanted more. When Davis showed how these two individuals conflicts and personal growth lead to the music I was enthralled. Unfortunately, the bulk of the book is written the other way around—these are the songs, the albums, and oh yeah, this is what was going on in Carly’s life.

Personal preference aside, More Room in a Broken Heart is a wonderful reference for any Carly Simon and James Taylor fan, or anyone intrigued by the mystery man behind You’re So Vain. An eye opening read.

Treat yourself to More Room in a Broken Heart: The True Adventures of Carly Simon.