Amy, My Daughter
Author: Mitch Winehouse
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Publication Date: May 29, 2013
(Originally Published June 26, 2012)I do feel bad for Mitch Winehouse. No matter what else you may say about him, he is a father who has had to bury a child, and that's an experience no one would wish on another. So it's hard for me to criticize him too harshly because, at the end of the day, he's a grieving father and he has a right to his own memories and his own side of the story. He did, however, translate those memories into a book for everyone to see. So I can't read the book without criticizing him just a little.
Amy Winehouse was a troubled person with a serious addiction to drugs and alcohol. She was also a singular talent with a voice that comes along only once in a long while. She made poor choices in her personal and romantic life and died far too young. These are all facts that the whole world could see. And unfortunately her story is not unique. From Etta James to Whitney Houston, her story is one that has been told before. Of course that doesn't make it any less tragic. Like many fans, I was curious to read her father's book, even if I was a little skeptical about his motives. Was he trying to show the world the "real" Amy? Was he exploiting her death to sell his own book? Or was he just using the whole thing as an opportunity to reiterate that Amy was fine and that the press was just exaggerating everything? Shockingly, it was the last one.
Somehow, despite the fact that he knew his daughter had an addiction to alcohol and hard drugs--an addiction that eventually killed her--and despite the fact that he had tried to get her to go to rehab many times, Mitch Winehouse still managed to spin her life story as "not that bad." Numerous times throughout the book he recalls incidents in which people told him that Amy was doing drugs but he responds by insisting that she wasn't or that it was greatly exaggerated. Even his stories about her rehab stints are filled with his own enabling behaviour, like helping her find "alternatives" to rehab that she would find easier (i.e. easier to sneak drugs into). I know it must be an impossible situation to live with an addict, particularly if it's your own child, but sometimes I found his stories maddening.
She obviously was not fine, even if her Daddy thought she was.
Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
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