Title: Amy, My Daughter
Author: Mitch Winehouse
Publisher: Harper Collins
With her unique voice and her musical genius, Amy Winehouse, became an instant celebrity when her debut album Frank was released in 2003. She soon became a musical icon with a huge fan following.
Her musical career was cut short when she died on July 23, 2011, she was mourned by fans not just for her outstanding musical talent but also her generosity. However, Amy’s death wasn’t quite a surprise. For years she had been, very publicly, struggling with alcohol and drug abuse.
In this book, using exclusive extracts from his own personal diaries, Mitch Winehouse talks openly about his daughter’s early childhood, way into music, her successes and her relationships and her struggles with her addictions.
Mitch Winehouse throws light on Amy’s stubborn behavior as a child, how she supposedly reacted to his leaving her mother, her relationship with her brother and her special relationship with her paternal grandmother who he credits for Amy’s musical genius.
A large part of the book is about Amy’s struggles with addiction and Mitch’s part in trying to save her from her self-destructive behaviour. No book written by a parent of a child who died so tragically can be completely objective, however, Mitch’s admiration for his daughter’s genius, ability to love with all her heart and her generosity with strangers comes of as being genuine.
Mitch Winehouse tells of his pain and that of the loved ones of many addicts very poignantly in these lines:
Perhaps the most difficult thing about loving and helping an addict, which most people who haven’t been through it don’t understand, is this: every day the cycle continues is your new worst day. When looked at from the outside it seems endless, the same thing over and over again; but when you’re living it, it’s like being a hamster on a wheel. Every day there’s the chronic anxiety of waiting for news, the horrible rush when it turns out to be bad, the overwhelming sense of déjà vu – and the knowledge that, despite your best efforts, you’ll probably be here again. Even so-called good days are not without their drawbacks. You enjoy them as much as you can, but in the back of your mind there’s the lurking fear that tomorrow you could be back to square one again, or worse.
Amy comes across as being a very lonely woman, who despite her genius, struggled with self-acceptance and sought her escape in drugs. Mitch does try to pin the blame for her addiction on her ex- husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, but it’s clear that her psychological problems started way back in her childhood.
Overall, I found the book fascinating in parts and boring in others.
I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley in exchange for a review.
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