Cover Image: Three Pianos

Three Pianos

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I'm a massive Andrew McMahon fan, and this book was full of delightful and heartwrenching stories from being a teenage rock star, growing up in a complicated family life and a lifetime of loving music.
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I enjoyed this memoir so much! I am going to be honest, I am typically not big on celeb memoirs. But sometimes I do find myself gravitating towards memoirs by musicians I love. I think because I am interested in finding out the inspiration and story behind their music. 

This is such an honest and intimate memoir about the life of Andrew McMahon. He is rarely living life in a stand still, moving from one city to the next as a child and even as an adult always evolving. His music career began as a garage rock band to lead singer of the band Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin and then eventually to being a solo artist. This memoir discusses his father’s struggle with addiction and his battle with leukemia to dealing with the complicated emotions that can result from surviving such a devastating illness. 

I loved how candid Andrew is in his memoir. He doesn’t sugar coat anything. He exposes both his fears and imperfections. The writing is beautiful and there were parts of the book that really felt lyrical and in some ways like a love letter. It was a great reminder that our adversities may shape us but don’t have to define us. We are free to evolve and with challenge can come triumph.
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I have followed Andrew McMahon since his first band Something Corporate in the early 2000’s thru his next band Jack’s Mannequin and now Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.    When I saw he was publishing a memoir I had to read it.  I expected a memoir detailing how he approached song writing, the highs/lows of touring and the strain that stardom takes on a personal life.  What I got was a deeply emotional read that examines how our childhood affects the rest of our lives, his painful struggle with returning to life after cancer and a profound love note to his wife, Kelly and daughter Cecelia.  

Three Pianos begins with Andrew McMahon’s childhood struggles with his fathers addiction to deaths of close family to being the chubby kid.  All these pressures pushed him to finding his voice in a band behind a piano that provides him a taste of fame.  Just as he is embarking on a solo career he is diagnosed with leukemia, that battle with define who he is for a long time.    After beating cancer, getting married, starting a new band, he has to come to terms with the PTSD of actually surviving.  

While this memoir does mention how certain songs came to be, the inspiration behind them and what was going on in his life during that time, don’t expect this book to be a complete thesis on his musical catalog.  It’s definitely more a look at how our parents shape us, how we have to grow as people and look at our own flaws while trying to grow the f*ck up.   Three Pianos tackles the hard pieces of his life and does not sugar coat it.  How getting a record deal, touring, fans, money changed Something Corporate.  His struggle with feeling unable to produce music for the mainstream.  Then everything that comes with surviving cancer, his self destructive tendencies, marriage crises, friendship changes.  He tackles it all and in his honesty, he exposes his own shortcomings and flaws.  

Since I am a fan of his songwriting, I was obviously fan of how he wrote this memoir.  It has a very flowy, lyrical cadence, like there is a melody playing in the background while I was reading it.   Though out the book he talks to the several pianos he uses like friends and I appreciated that element, weaving the instrument in that I feel he excels at.  

Three Pianos is Andrew McMahon’s love letter to Kelly and Cecelia.  As well as the pianos that saved him at his lowest points, loved him through it all and hopefully will inspire him to continue creating music.

“And at some point, you have to remind yourself, when you add it all together, if you want up where you want to be be and you do what you love surrounded by people you love, maybe the pieces fell exactly as they were meant to.“

*I received an e-arc from Princeton Architectural Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Three Pianos comes out October 26th.  

CW: addiction, cancer, miscarriage, drug use.
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I'm a huge Andrew McMahon fan.  I've loved him since his Something Corporate days.  I was excited to read this and feel lucky to have been able to read about his life.  A lot of his story I was already familiar with, but I learned some things I didn't know about him.


Thank you Princeton Architectural Press and NetGalley.
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I have been a fan of Andrew McMahon's music since the Something Corporate days, so I was thrilled to find out he was releasing a memoir.  Reading this book made me realize how little I knew about his life outside of the music.  I of course knew about his leukemia diagnosis and treatment, but did not know anything about his childhood or relationships.

This book was definitely eye-opening and it gave me a better understanding of who he is and why he made the choices that he did (going from Something Corporate to Jack's Mannequin and Jack's Mannequin to Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness being some of the choices that were explained in the book).  One of the things I really appreciated is that he was brutally honest about who he is and some of the mistakes he's made.  He didn't try to paint himself in a better light, but rather openly admitted to his missteps.  I personally had a not so great experience with him, and while knowing more about him doesn't change that experience for me, it does help me to understand him better.

I really enjoyed learning about his childhood.  There were certain aspects I could really relate to and others that made my heart break for him.  I will also say that his wife, Kelly, sounds like an absolute angel.  Andrew is lucky to have someone like her by his side, that is for sure.

I cannot imagine what it's like to have your high school band land a record deal and everything that comes with it.  This book really explored the way that affected Andrew and his bandmates, in both good ways and bad.  Then to start a new band only to be sidelined by a leukemia diagnosis is just earth-shattering.   I'm happy that after so many struggles, Andrew seems to finally be at peace and in a good and healthy place.  It seems that he really turned some things around in his life, and that was probably the only part of the book that I found to be a bit rushed or that could have used a little more explanation.  

I thought the writing was really beautiful, which isn't surprising, considering I find him to be an excellent songwriter.  I liked the way Andrew weaved his relationship with his three pianos throughout the book (hence the name of the book).  I appreciated learning the backstories to the albums and it really adds meaning to so many of the songs.  As listeners, we each have our own interpretation of what songs mean, but this book really gave me a deeper insight into what inspired the songs that have meant so much to me.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of Andrew McMahon's music.  It definitely made me nostalgic for my youth and had me pulling up Something Corporate music that I hadn't listened to in some time.

Thank you to NetGalley and Princeton Architectural Press for the advance e-copy of this book.
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I had only heard of Andrew McMahon through his band, Jack’s Mannequin, appearing on One Tree Hill years ago when I was a teenager and I LOVED THEM! There was only one aspect of Andrew’s life that I knew about, which I don’t want to spoil here, but getting to learn more about this man and his life gave me so many more layers of understanding to his music. 

This book can be a really difficult read because of some of the topics and the way that Andrew writes - he pulls you in and paints such a vivid picture for you that at times it feels like you are right there alongside him experiencing his joy and pain. The writing has a flow to it which is just beautiful and is something I could only imagine a songwriter being able to pull off. 

He also touched on something that I’ve been finding really interesting recently- how we view our parents as teenagers versus once we ourselves as adults changes. The separation we have between who we thought they were and who they are, that evolving relationship and dynamic between parent and child is one I find so interesting and which Andrew touches on throughout the book in a way that, whilst the exact circumstances likely won’t be the same, many will relate to. 

Even if you don’t know Andrew and his music I’d highly recommend this one because his life, as a child, teenager and adult outside of music is something that so many of us will be able to relate to and I think is a memoir that will allow other to have more compassion, understanding and empathy for those around them. 

TW for this book; addiction, rehab, cancer diagnosis, mental health, drug use, miscarriage, grief, family dynamics.
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📚 Three Pianos by Andrew McMahon 📚

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Andrew McMahon is an incredible wordsmith, which is why he’s such a great songwriter and musician but now also a wonderful author.

Andrew McMahon's reflection on family dynamics, his band lives, and relationships intertwine with the backstory of three different pianos that helped him navigate those periods. These parts of the book are like thank you letters to long-lost friends and provide insight into the progression of his creative process over the years. 

The love/ hate relationship he’s had with music over the years, the awe he carries for his wife, and the adoration he has for his daughter is beautifully portrayed throughout. 

I loved this book. Maybe I’m a little biased because I’ve loved listening to Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness over the years. Maybe, but I doubt it.

Check it out on October 26th!

Favorite quote: “Your closed lid became my perch, a stage within a stage, and I ascended my throne to your platform nightly to marvel at the human moving seas. It didn’t take long to realize you were more trouble than I bargained for, but by then I had become a magnet for resistance.”

A huge thank you out to NetGalley, Princeton Architectural Press, and Andrew McMahon for the opportunity for an advanced copy of Three Pianos in exchange for an honest review.

#netgalley #netgalleyreader #netgalleyreviewer  #netgalleyarc #AndrewMcMahon #arcreader #arcreadsandreviews #booksofinstagram #bookstagram #bookrecommendations #bookworm #instabooks #memoir #readersofinstagram #TBRpile #threepianos
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Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review an advanced copy. 

I have been a long time fan of Andrew McMahon and when I heard he had a memoir coming out, I was beyond excited. I have loved his music since I was a teenager listening to Something Corporate in my room. Some of the stuff in this book I knew like how he took time off from music when he was fighting cancer. But there was so much in here that i didn't know. I cried a few times while reading. When I met him in 2007, it's weird to me that he was struggling so much because he seemed so happy. 

I am not usually into memoirs but this one grabbed me not only because of how much I like the author but also because he is just a few years older than me, so a lot of his memories I could remember happening. He takes us through his turbulent childhood through his teen years and Something Corporate to Jack's Mannequin and his cancer diagnosis to nowadays where he is married with a daughter. 

I recommend this book to everyone.
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I’ve been listening to Andrew McMahon’s music since I was thirteen years old, and I have seen him perform... a dozen times, at least. His music has gotten me through black holes and my mom’s cancer treatment and so much death. It has also forged friendships, and played at my wedding. A light in the dark while I searched for the resolution, and when V quoted Dark Blue to me only a few days into us dating, I knew I had found someone special.

While his songwriting is raw and honest, this memoir expounds upon so much of his life. I’ve watched all the documentaries and most of the interviews and heard at least ten shows worth of song anecdotes, but there was still so much more to share! I loved hearing more details about his relationship with Kelly, and the fact that they fought through things that felt insurmountable (even more so than cancer treatment!) was so heartening to see. He’s a rock star, but he loves with his whole heart. Kelly is and has always been a literal angel.

I learned so much more about his family than we can get from a line in a song here and there, and I’m so appreciative of this unflinching honesty and demonstration of growth in both Andrew and those around him.

I’m sure being a “chubby kid” shaped his perception of the world, but the part I liked least was his off handed comments about cutting out soda and going vegetarian in order to lose weight and be accepted.

Read if you are interested in love, humanity, fighting against messy life circumstances, piano rock, mid-2000s music nostalgia, or Andrew McMahon himself.
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I devoured this book in less than 24 hours. I laughed, I gasped, I cried. Andrew McMahon bared all in this memoir, and I learned so much about him that makes his music all the more significant. While reading about his experiences I would be reminded of different songs and they would play in my head as background music, which was very cool.

My heart broke to read of al the hardships he’s endured, from his father’s addiction to his cancer diagnosis to his struggles after remission. I cried mixed tears of sadness for his bout with cancer and joy for his beating it, because if this man hadn’t prevailed and continued to make music, I never would have met my husband or had my two beautiful daughters. His music led me to the right place at the right time to meet the person who I was meant to be with, and for that I will be forever grateful to this amazing human.
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Andrew McMahon chronicles his life through goring up to be a teenage rockstar with Something Corporate, addiction, depression, cancer, love, and two other successful bands with Jack’s Mannequin and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. I have been an Andrew fan since I was 15 so this was an absolute pleasure to read. His writing feels like a friend and makes you feel like you’re feeling everything he felt. Even if you’ve never listened to his music, this book is a treat.
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McMahon has a way breezing through his life; hitting the dark moments. There isn't a lot of dwelling on any one thing. For fans of his music there is very little insight into what songs mean. This is more about his life's struggles. There is a beauty in this book being so open and raw without glorifying things.
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I'm a huge fan of Andrew McMahon's music as it definitively changed the course of my life. His words in this are so powerful and it shows in his writing. There were some elements that didn't translate from his songwriting background, but it was amazing to hear about his journey through addiction and the music industry. I also loved how he wrote directly to his pianos and how they followed him through his life.

*Thank you to NetGalley and Princeton Architectural Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest review*
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I've known for years that Andrew McMahon can write a song. Turns out he sure can write a memoir too.

Three Pianos is a deeply felt, strongly written memoir about McMahon's life and career. "Three pianos" refers to his personal connection to three different pianos, but it also (for me) evokes his three different bands (Something Corporate, Jack's Mannequin, and Andrew McMahon  in the Wilderness). 

As a long-time fan, it seems strange to say that what stuck out to me most weren't things I learned about McMahon but the way in which he discussed them. I highlighted over 40 passages; that's how often I was struck by the beauty of his writing. Of course, I did learn things about him I didn't already know along the way, but I think this book stands as a fine memoir, for fans and non-fans alike.
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Three Pianos by Andrew McMahon is a moving memoir that will appeal to readers regardless of their opinion of McMahon's music. 

Many celebrity memoirs appeal mostly to those already familiar with, and a fan of, that celebrity. This memoir will be loved by those readers but will also be a powerful story for those like me who neither like nor dislike his music. Or perhaps more accurately I am moved by some of his music and uninterested in some of it. This memoir, however, presents the person and that person is quite interesting and articulate.

In addition to fans, I would also recommend this to readers who enjoy memoirs in general, especially of people who strive to overcome obstacles and maintain some semblance of the person they want to be. McMahon succeeds in drawing us into his life and as a reader you will become invested in it.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Every Andrew McMahon fan knows Andrew pours his heart into everything he does and his memoir is no exception. His story is a love letter to the music that saves us and a powerfully rich and heartfelt story of family, fame, love, survival, and rebirth. My own story differs from Andrew’s in many ways but I felt a true sense of nostalgia reading Three Pianos. 

I first discovered Andrew’s music as a 15-year-old experiencing love for the first time. While reading Three Pianos, I felt myself returning to the day I discovered Something Corporate as I heard “Down” resonating from my boyfriend’s headphones. That boyfriend is now my husband of 10 years and Andrew’s music has been the soundtrack to our lives from the moment we first fell in love. We had the honor of meeting Andrew at Warped Tour in 2008. We then traveled across Texas and Oklahoma to see him in concert many times and flew out to California for the first Something Corporate reunion in 2010. I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of Cavanaugh Park and our first dance was to an acoustic version of “Swim”.  We now have three children, including our third girl, who is named Cecilia. Andrew’s legacy has played an enormous role in our lives and this book now holds an equally precious place in my heart. 

In his memoir, Andrew captures the poignancy and pain of family dysfunction and first love in an incredibly raw and realistic manner. While reading his book, I flashed back to my own experience of falling in love for the first time and then finding comfort in Andrew’s words and melodies when that love was crushed. Although I was sad to learn about Andrew’s heartbreak, it helped me understand why I related to his music to such an extreme degree. His songs already spoke to me but his description of the demons that haunted him during the songwriting process has given those songs even greater meaning. 

The latter portion of the book is heart-wrenching but hopeful. I don’t want to say too much about this aspect of Andrew’s story because it truly is his story to tell. I will say that I was deeply moved hearing more about his battle with cancer and the more recent portions of his life that I hadn’t been aware of until now. He has walked a long journey towards self-discovery and healing, which makes his redemption all the more commendable. 

Andrew has always had an incredible way with words and he has managed to craft yet another beautiful work of art in the process of telling his story. Although it felt different reading his words in the absence of his piano, I could hear his voice and his music in my head as I turned from page to page. There are plenty of references to beloved songs within this book that any fan is certain to catch and appreciate. While long-term fans will likely find the most enjoyment from his story, I believe anyone can find inspiration in this book. Be warned though: You will fall in love with Andrew’s enrapturing writing style and his depth of feeling as he recounts his unstable childhood, rise to fame, dance with death, self-sabotage, and eventual triumph.

Thank you so much to Princeton Architectural Press and NetGalley for providing me with an e-galley. It was truly an honor to read this book and I have already ordered my signed copy.
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