Viv Albertine has done it again, and why would I be doubting. It’s not often you see one yet alone two biographies from a rock star, but with this follow up to Clothes, Music, Boys, To Throw Away Unopened, we are given a further insight into Viv’s life, this time her quest for truth and family identity. After the success of her debut biography, Faber & Faber have published another, focussing more on the difficulties she had with relationships, but not just with those partner-based as she explores those with her mother, father and sister, which were formidable and bumpy at the best of times.
Excavating her relationships with her family, she also unearths certain truths about herself which she is more than capable to admit, making this read brutally honest in it’s approach, a real voyeuristic insight into the life of Viv as a child and adult. There is little that she is afraid of admitting, freshly intimate as she outlines her emotive state and how the dysfunctionality of her past has played it’s part in this. Digging through journals and letters after the passing of her mother, the revelations of her childhood truly bring things to light, and the repercussions are blatantly fierce, when she considers how this has impacted on her behaviour and life decisions.
Albeit said by many, this painstaking, raw, rock biography is one that you will struggle to put down as Albertine once again uses language that will hook you in, hiding nothing with a direct humour that draws you in. Blasphemous, yet deep, she has stepped away from the punk culture that is conjured up with the mere mention of her name to focus on the everyday, being a mother, a daughter, a sister and a lover, and that is something which allows the reader to relate. Her fiercely frank and sincere approach makes this a pleasure to read, and also enlists your emotion to feel for her situation and that understanding for her need for her true family identity.
A fantastically visceral read, a blunt account, a revelation about the right and wrong decisions this brazen lass makes in her personal life, it’s a page-turner.
To Throw Away Unopened is available now via Faber & Faber.