“I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen” (City Book Review)

[5 stars]

I have always loved Leonard Cohen’s music but I have never taken the time to look at where he comes from. What Sylvie Simmons presents us here is an outstanding Cohen biography. Simmons takes the reader back into Cohen’s ancestry but quickly brings the reader into Cohen’s early childhood and up to 2011, balancing detail with conciseness to give us a very well rounded biography.

Cohen has traveled a long and winding road in his personal, musical, and romantic paths from Canada to Hydra to Tennessee to the UK to New York and Los Angeles, from one love affair to the next, and his music as is this retelling of his story reflective of that.

Cohen is really a poet and musician, using the poetry as the framework for his songs and really his outlook on life. Simmons talks about most of his records and what was going on in his life at that time. Cohen’s music is deeply personal and reflective of were he’s at in his life, and Simmons’s biography reflects that in her relaying of the Cohen story.

Simmons does a good job of relaying both the good and the bad; this is a loving but not sugar-coated biography. I feel I have a much better understanding of Cohen and appreciate his music that much more.

by Marc Filippelli for City Book Reviews

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