Horror Stories

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

I appreciated the book more after reading the Author’s Note, but I will say this for it, Liz Phair is not afraid of what people think of her. Many of these stories don’t paint her in a favorable light, but ultimately the effect is to make her more relatable.
Was this review helpful?
This was an incredible book that puts the author in a very vulnerable position. The title, "Horror Stories," refers to the moments in Phair's life that have haunted her the most. These moments are sometimes small, brief interactions, or mistakes that Phair has made that still stay with her today. This book is a compilation of memories that keep us up at night, of the things we wish we could have done differently. It's refreshing to read a book so honest about the dark moments in one's life.
Was this review helpful?
Entertaining read. I have a harder time rating and reviewing memoirs, because I feel like I’m judging someone’s life, but you can find a full review on GR or my blog! 
I enjoyed Horror Stories! Thank you #netgalley and Random House for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
When I saw that Liz Phair was releasing a memoir, I knew that I wanted to read it. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Despite my excitement for this book, I must say it didn't meet my expectations; I found the stories that the author shared to be uneventful and not falling into the category of horror as her book's title suggests.
Was this review helpful?
DNF at 34%. I recently listened to the Ben Folds memoir and was excited to also read/listen to Liz Phair’s. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the free ebook to read. I also purchased the audiobook. I really enjoy listening to memoirs narrated by the author and thought that might be a better way to take this one in. 

Unfortunately I really wasn’t connecting with the essays in this collection. They felt overwritten to me - and while there were some great moments including a description that unfortunately had me crying in public - I mostly couldn’t connect and ultimately decided to stop reading.
Was this review helpful?
Learned a lot about her life and career, thanks again for the review copy. I love learning more about my favorite artists, thanks again.
Was this review helpful?
The year was 1993. I had just turned 16 and was full of teenage angst. Liz Phair's 'Never Said' came on the local modern rock radio station, 89x, and caught my attention. From there, I dove into the rest of her first studio released album, 'Exile in Guyville.' Her overarching themes about love, disappointment, and speaking up for yourself, even when being a woman makes that difficult, had a major impact on me.

Fast-forward 26 years to the release of her book, Horror Stories. Although it contains a mixed bag of stories about her life before and after Exile in Guyville - along with lots of stories about guys - Phair clearly still has the same sense of outrage at a world that continues to try to push women down. 

All in all, this was an enjoyable read that has caused me to take quite a few trips down musical memory lane. Liz Phair fans will almost certainly be glad if they pick up a copy. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy.
Was this review helpful?
This is a memoir in essays from 90s (and beyond) music icon Liz Phair. It's a hard one to talk about because it doesn't have a central message or idea, it's more a collection of discussions about things that have happened in her life and the lessons she's learned; it bounces from period to period rather than going chronologically. It's very reflective in tone and is extremely well-written. I think her voice translated very well from music to prose and she's extremely present on the page.. Both her music and her writing are very assertive. She's extremely honest, she's okay with being herself, she's okay with showing herself as a sexual person, she's okay with pointing directly at her own mistakes. I think anyone who likes her or has an interest in hearing more about her experiences will likely enjoy this book.
Was this review helpful?
This is the second memoir I've read in the past few months by a musician whom I admire and enjoy. This book offered more details about the author's personal life struggles and not as much about the music but I did enjoy reading it and getting inside her head and subsequently her world.

This is an early copy from Net Galley that I started too late to be able to post an early review. I'm a fan of her music and I think you would have to be in order to fully appreciate this book. Liz Phair has a tremendous memory too. I admire her introspection and how she is able to reflect on her own life.

It seems to be that even those who do not know Liz Phair's music beyond her radio hit of 2003, will enjoy this book because the book focuses more on her childhood and later relationships.
Was this review helpful?
These little slices of Liz Phair’s life are meaningful moments that vibrate. This book is set up a lot like an album with different “tracks” or stories that make up a collection. Don’t expect a standard autobiography/memoir format.

Liz is slightly biased, but shows her flaws, allowing herself a bit of healthy empathy, but doesn’t dwell in self-pity. I enjoy how she interrupts events and her writing style.

I was a little let down that there wasn’t a lot about her music, more a focus on the industry and a reflection on the level of professionalism she exhibited, even in the intense and uncomfortable moments.

What isn’t addressed is what I really want to know- Why did she stop making new music?
Was this review helpful?
I am a long time fan of Liz Phair (in fact I own all 6 of her albums), and also a fan of celebrity memoirs, so I was excited to check this book out. This is definitely not your typical celebrity memoir - in fact I'm not sure whether memoir is in fact the right term for it - it's more of a collection of autobiographical essays. They are each themed loosely around something that was sad or scary or upsetting that she either did or observed, and they are not in chronological order at all and skip over large chunks of her life - but they are also deeply personal and revealing. So it's very interesting in that you get only the barest outline of the overall story of her life - but yet come out with a searingly intimate feeling for who she really is as a person. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by this since her song lyrics are so sharp, but she is actually an astonishingly good and powerful writer. I'd actually love to see her try her hand at writing fiction.

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley, which omitted chapter 14 which apparently is about sexual harassment/me too. I don't imagine it would have changed my opinion of the book but if I do end up reading that chapter at some later point I'll update this review as needed.
Was this review helpful?
I've read not very good books before about musicians: Sting, David Bowie, Maria Callas. Horror Stories is an entirely different class of book, because Liz Phair is a great musician, and a great artist, but she's also a bona fide writer. A really great one who's willing to go there in this collection - to take her deepest darkest embarrassments and fears, the things that torture and keep one up nights for years, the nitty gritty behind failed relationships and she analyzes and elaborates for us. I didn't know she's adopted, and found it endearing that pregnancy stories weren't a thing for their family for that reason. I also didn't know that chlorine is bad in pregnancy. I love that she interned for Nancy Spero and Leon Golub. I want to know what country her brother moved to, but I notice with admiration that Horror Stories reveals only secrets of her own, none of her family members' whom she might have written songs about in the past. 

I loved these lines: 
Guilt is the poisonous flower that springs up after a selfish act.
How could anything that dazzling be toxic? How could anything that toxic be dazzling?
Was this review helpful?
An amazing memoir in that she does not portray herself in a terribly positive light. She let people down. She had an affair. She destroyed her marriage. One of the most honest memoirs I've ever read. It really has a lot of value to everyone, not just people who are fans of her music.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, Netgalley and Random House for sending me a digital ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

As a huge fan of Indie rock queen, Liz Phair - I knew I HAD to read her memoir, "Horror Stories" ASAP! 

This is an unusual but unique memoir of sorts. It's much more of a essay collection. In each chapter, Liz speaks candidly about an event or situation that left her traumatized in her personal life or recording career. "Three Bad Omens" is definitely a standout in this collection. Who knew Liz was a psychic!? My favorite chapter is "Labor of Love", in which she describes being in labor with her son, Nick for 30+ hours. Yikes! Liz is not ashamed of exposing her weaknesses when it comes to love either. In the "The Devil's Mistress", Liz openly discusses the toxic affair she had when she was married. In "She Lies" and "Below" - Liz becomes a bystander to frightening daily encounters that leave her rattled and uncomfortable. At the end of each chapter, Liz learns a valuable lesson from each failure and mistake, ones that were self-inflicted or out of her control. 

This is the kind memoir that you don't have to read in a specific order. Many of the stories are non-linear. Jumping from her University years, to her music career, to her childhood, and back again. 

Liz is unconventional, just like this memoir. I liked and understood the concept of this book, but with that being said, I still wish I got a little bit more backstory, especially how it felt to be a female musician in a male-dominated industry. I felt like something was missing. Liz is a great storyteller though. Just like she's a great songwriter. Her brutal honesty is what makes her special. I found her relatable. She has insecurities and inner-demons like the rest of us. I've been with her through all her career highs and lows. I wish her all the best. I appreciate when an artist is unafraid to expose painful and shameful parts of their pasts. That's what makes us human after all. Life is Phair.
Was this review helpful?
I read a lot of music bios and memoirs and this one really subverted my expectations in a good way. What I assumed was going to be a standard A to B to C narrative of her rise to Indie music stardom, turned out to be a collection of stories that happen during (and before) that time that were "horrifying" in some way. Her writing is very evocative, and she puts you right next to her for all of these misadventures. There are several passages in this book that will stick in my mind for a long time. The tree climbing incident with her brother, which I won't spoil, truly lives up to the title! I also admire her candor, especially when it comes to celebrity and her romantic relationships.  

This is a definite recommend, even for people only vaguely familiar with Liz Phair's music. And if it makes you a fan, all the better!

(Note: I plan to swoon about this book on an upcoming episode of my podcast, Learning The Tropes.)
Was this review helpful?
I  received this book free from the publisher through Netgalley. In exchange, I was asked to write an honest review and post it. My thanks to them both.

Why I chose this book:  Honestly I only really knew one Liz Phair song when I requested this book from Netgalley, and it’s one of her poppier songs.  But being a teen in the 90’s she was an alternative Icon and everywhere. I don’t know why I never really heard much of her music. Maybe she didn’t get much MTV play, back when they actually played videos, and not much radio play? They say whatever decade you are a teen in is the one your will follow the rest of your life, I love the 90’s so was interested in reading about Liz Phair. 
What was the book about: The story of a woman that becomes a rockstar, but still has to deal with all the stuff every other woman has to go through. She tells you the ugly parts and I found her honest and brave.

What was good:  I loved how she wrote this autobiography, she didn’t do what most do and write a linear story of their life. She told her story by telling stories about her life, mostly horror stories about her life. I always judge an autobiography by if I find their story believable, and this time I think she really did. She didn’t tell you the pretty parts, but some of the hardest and ugliest.  She works the details about her growing up, family, loves and loses all by telling you stories of what happened to her. It’s really great

What was bad: I didn’t love the last chapter.  But I couldn’t  write well about  what that was about either. 

Final Thoughts: I am now following the “This is Liz Phair” playlist on Spotify. Better late than never to the party, I guess. I  really enjoyed this book, and I really  related to her. Every woman has insecurities, money worries, broken hearts  and regrets, even cool alternative rock goddesses!  And I appreciate her laying her soul bare in these stories. 

Horror Stories was released on October 8th, 2019
Was this review helpful?
The stories in this book are often uncomfortable or unsettling to read--recollections of times the author failed to act in the way she would have wished she had, in retrospect. And as deeply personal as that is, it's something that many of us can connect with--things we still look back on and beat ourselves up over, even years later. If we, like Phair, had a major-market book deal, a chance to write the things we would want our families or fans to know, would we tell the truth as unflinchingly as she does? There are several of the stories I won't soon forget, and I hope I remember not only the horror of the situation but also the lesson Phair wants us to remember, that "our flaws and our failures make us relatable, not unlovable."

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review. First off let me just say, I adore Liz Phair. Her music is raw and unapologetic in ways that most other female artists were not when she 1st came on the scene. So I was really excited to read her 1st memoir. The writing was fine.  The individual stories were fine. The book itself was a little all over the place. Sort of like my lunch conversations with my close girlfriends. So for me it was enjoyable. Liz portrays herself in Horror Stories as a regular woman who just happens to be a famous musician. In no way coming off as pretentious or as a “humble brag” type of author/artist. If you are looking for a book detailing the progression of LP’s life and career this book is NOT that. It’s literally just random stories about times in her life. No idea how she picked which stories to include. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed them, the book just wasn’t fluid like I would have expected. If you’re a fan of Liz Phair I’d definitely say check it out. She seems like a really chill, grounded person with the same concerns and life experiences as the rest of us.  I found myself thinking “ok so I’m not the only one” several times while reading this book. #netgalley #horrorstories #lizphair
Was this review helpful?
Nothing makes me want to know a celebrity more than reading a book they've written.  Fiction, non-fiction, children's book, whatever.  If you put your heart and soul into something, I'm gonna want to meet you.  And being VASTLY musically gifted is also a great reason.

In Phair's book, Horror Stories, she has essays on her life and love and children and drugs and what her life has been like.  It comes across as real and heartfelt and raw and even a little mystified that she's the person she's become.  I guess we can all be like that at times. 

I loved Horror Stories and truly appreciate anyone who is able to tell the public who they really are.  There's something so vulnerable about being honest in a book.  More so than an interview in my opinion.  There's a reason memoirs are my favorite genre.

They just make me feel so damn human.

Horror Stories releases 10.8.19.

5/5 Stars
Was this review helpful?
Not really a memoir.

Liz Phair was the soundtrack of my high school years. Champagne Supernova was a staple on many mixed tapes.

If I hadn't had such a nostalgic bond with Phair's music, I doubt I would have picked up this book. And that's who this book is for: fans who want to know more about the artist, in any form.

But if you're looking for a "Behind the Scenes" of the music industry ... well, you won't really get that here. It's just a collection of memories as essays. And they're depressing. Really depressing. There's a reason the book is called "Horror Stories." Phair has some good stories to tell, but they're not rockstar stories. They're mundane stories told very well. It could be anyone telling these stories.

The best thing about this book is Phair really can write. She's an artist in any medium.

I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Theme: 3 stars
Writing/Prose: 4 stars
Was this review helpful?