Tori Amos: Pretty Good Years

By Jay S. Jacobs

Saturday 27 August 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

Hal Leonard Corporation
Release Date : July 31, 2006
ISBN-10: 1423400224
ISBN-13: 978-1423400226

Pretty Good Years is an unofficial Tori biography written by music journalist Jay S. Jacobs. As it was the first unofficial book to be released in a long time, fans were really curious to read this one, but in the end, it didn’t really achieve its goal. In the fall 2006, Little Blue World thus released a very harsh review, stating that the author had made dozens of factual errors about Tori’s life, career and songs, some of them pretty big (he claims that she decided to end her contract with Atlantic only in 2001 and that it was an amicable split, which is all but the truth) and that among the 215 pages the book counts, 80 are devoted to an extensive discography, bibliography, footnotes and index. Plus, filler content seems to be featured in the main part of the book too. These facts, added to the fact that the book didn’t provide any exclusive content or real insight, deeply annoyed a great part of the fans and discouraged a lot of others to buy it – me included.

However, Violet from Undented was much more sympathetic to the author’s work. She excused his errors as "inevitable in places" because of the "scope [he] was working with, the vast amounts of background research he was obviously juggling with to put it all together." She considered the book "a highly enjoyable read, very well-written and entertaining." Having not read the book, I can’t really express further judgement, thougb the reported numerous errors, and the error about her split with Epic in particular, make me cringe.

If as a fan you’re able to catch so many mistakes and understand the author doesn’t know the artist as much as you do, it can quite ruin your reading. And if you’ve been recently introduced to Tori’s music, that you buy a biography to have comprehensive informations about her but a lot of them are incorrect, if you find out, you’ll have the feeling you’ve been cheated. So I would suggest that you read an excerpt from Jacob’s book on Amazon and decide for yourself if you want to buy it. And maybe, aside these inaccuracies, the book is indeed enjoyable to read if you’re able to pass through the errors…

Availability and market value

The book being relatively recent, it is still commercially available in book stores. You can order it for 10,79£ on Amazon.co.uk and for 15,56$ on Amazon.com. Prices for used copies begin at 3$.