cover image Don’t Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You: A Memoir

Don’t Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You: A Memoir

Lucinda Williams. Crown, $28.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-5931-3649-2

Singer-songwriter Williams flexes her linguistic chops in her soulful debut memoir. She begins with her tumultuous Deep South childhood that nonetheless offered bright spots: “Yes, my family was dysfunctional, fucked up. But that’s not what really matters to me. What matters is that I inherited my musical talent from my mother and my writing ability from my father.” Her teenage years were shaped by obsessive guitar playing, a love for Chilean composer Violeta Parra, and full-blown worship of Bob Dylan. Williams chased her musical dreams into early adulthood, playing gigs in Jackson, Miss., before signing her first record contract in 1978. Throughout her career, Williams cycled through romances, tours, and struggles with mental illness and professional insecurity. Describing her decision to skip the 1994 Grammys after winning the award for Best Country Song, the musician is forthright: “The truth is that I was not just self-conscious but also scared. I feared that I didn’t belong. It’s a feeling I’ve been trying to shake my entire life.” Raw and honest, this must-read account soars on the back of Williams’s hard-won wisdom about making art and overcoming struggle. Fans and non-fans will be rapt. Agent: David McCormick, McCormick Literary. (Apr.)