cover image Rememberings


Sinéad O’Connor. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-358-42388-1

The idiosyncratic singer-songwriter takes readers on an emotional roller coaster in this unapologetic, soul-baring debut. Born in Glenageary, Ireland, in 1966, O’Connor endured traumatic physical abuse by her mother and began shoplifting as a child. Through the tumult, she sought respite in her older brother’s Bob Dylan records, which led her to start playing guitar. She traces her rise as a singer in London in the 1980s and condemns the misogyny she witnessed in the music industry: “I made a lot of money for a lot of men who couldn’t actually have cared less what the songs were about.” After soaring to fame with a cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” O’Connor sparked controversy by ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II in 1992 on Saturday Night Live, a move that she says many still believe “derailed my career.” On the contrary, she argues, “it set me on a path that fit me better.” While that path comprised years in and out of mental-health institutions, she’s refreshingly frank about how it helped her “re-rail” her life as a mother of four and eventually return to live performance, where she “scream[s] into mikes now and then.” This page-turner will enthrall the singer’s fans. (June)