Shawn Colvin’s recently published memoir Diamond in the Rough is really meant for her fans. People that know her music will have a better appreciation for the book, as she goes into great detail about her songwriting and the many musicians she’s played with over the years. Most of these references went over my head, but I carried on because the book was well-written and Shawn is an Austin girl. She’s lived everywhere, but she makes it clear throughout the book that Austin has her heart.
Shawn’s life has not been easy. Despite her career’s longevity and triumphs, her struggles with substance abuse, eating disorders, self confidence, paranoia, anxiety and depression have overtaken her at various times. She doesn’t explore these issues too much. The book reads like the beginning of a confession, with the subject quickly changing her mind before it gets too real. This isn’t the type of rock-bottom, sad story, that prompts a step by step crawl back to the top; Shawn Colvin is the type of woman who would rather pour her heart and soul into a song, rather than to her best girlfriends or her therapist. Or her memoir. She simply states, I was a drunk, and moves on.
Rather than framing her story as success despite adversity, it’s a tale of musical evolution and the problems that arose along the way. If you are looking for a dramatic, voyeuristic peek into the darkest depths of a troubled life, this is not the book you want. If you want to see what goes on behind the curtains in the life of a musician, this is it. With a little Prozac and fashion mixed in for good measure.