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Guest Book Review: My Cross to Bear by Gregg Allman

Greetings everyone!  Today I am going to have my first guest post, covering a review of My Cross to Bear by Gregg Allman.  Who is the guest you ask?  Why it’s none other than the-boyfriend-recently-turned-fiancé, Pat!  Yes, exciting things have been happening in real life!!  🙂

(Did anyone else not know until now that a man is a fiancé and a woman is a fiancée?  I had no idea.  Learn something new everyday…)

I’m thrilled to have him join me on my blog today, so without further adieu, here is Pat with his review of My Cross To Bear:

Photo taken from Goodreads

Photo taken from Goodreads

My Cross to Bear is the life story of Gregg Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band and one of the most prominent musicians in rock and roll history (a 1995 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, to be specific). If you’ve never heard of the band before, remember the song “Ramblin’ Man” from the original Rock Band video game? It was one of The Allman Brothers most recognized songs (and perhaps the song he mentioned the least amount of times in the book!).

I have to preface this review with the high expectations I had from the minute I purchased this book. SPOILERS ALERT.  The opening paragraph describes a dream Allman had during a heart attack in September 2011 – he was standing at a bridge during the twilight, where beautiful music was playing. A man, who appeared to be his brother Duane (who passed away from a motorcycle accident in 1971 at the height of the band’s fame), stood across the bridge and told him not to cross. Gregg decided the dream meant it was not his time to go yet. The prologue continues with Allman’s account of his band’s induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, where he spent five days in New York City, completely drunk. The morning after the induction ceremony, he checked into a rehab facility in Pennsylvania. He spent the 4-hour car ride to the facility getting drunk before checking into rehab. END SPOILERS.  Standing in the local bookstore chain, it was difficult to put the book down having read the first 6 pages. My fiancée (the one and only bookjunkiekrystal) encouraged me to buy the book since I seemed so interested in it.

This book is a very detailed account of Gregg Allman’s life; everything from growing up with his brother, Duane, to losing his virginity to a friend’s ex-wife, to the years of substance abuse and alcoholism that ultimately shaped The Allman Brother’s Band. If you want “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll,” this book has copious amounts of all three and then some, all elements combined and separated. Allman leaves no details out.

I felt the only downfalls of this book are A) the explicit detail to which he describes certain events (which also happens to be a strength of the book when he describes other events) and B) the amount of names of musicians he discusses. I understand not wanting to leave people out of the book that were influential parts of his life, but I also felt that I needed Google every time he mentioned a new name. Maybe I wasn’t well-organized while reading it, but I had difficulty keeping a few of the names straight (wait, when was so-and-so mentioned?).

Krystal can attest to the fact that I reached a point where I just wanted to be finished with the book. The definite details are fun for some parts of the book, like the first time he met Jim Morrison and The Doors: he was house sitting for a friend who owned a pregnant dog, and Allman had just helped the dog give birth to a litter of puppies when The Doors pulled up in a limo. On the other hand, Allman seemed to ramble on about this musician from this band that knew this other guy who knew his brother…you get the picture.

My Cross to Bear is a bountifully interesting read if you’re into the mystique of the late 1960’s through 1970’s. You’ll also learn about the band’s friendship with Eric Claption, and Gregg Allman’s three-year marriage to Cher. I’ll leave you to explore the rest of the “drugs, sex, and rock n’roll” if you so choose!


I hope you enjoyed Pat’s guest post today.  If you’re ever interested in guest posting a review yourself, please feel free to contact me.

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