"So, this is me. Lily Allen. I am a woman. I am a mother. I was a wife. I drink. I have taken drugs. I have loved and been let down. I am a success and a failure. I am a songwriter. I am a singer. I am all these things and more."
I've always liked Lily Allen's music, especially her ability to make a statement about a serious issue over the top of a catchy pop melody ('F*** you', 'Everyone's at it' etc.). I've always thought of her as an open, honest, kind of woman who doesn't hold back on giving her opinion. So when I discovered she'd written a book about her life so far I was curious. Then I discovered that there is an audiobook version with Lily reading it herself - I thought, what could be better?
I will admit that I was thrown at first by her reading style - fast paced, fairly level tone, lots of audible intakes of breath - but I soon realised that if these things were edited out or she had put on a more 'dramatic' way of reading it would no longer be the truly open & honest narrative that I was hoping for & that she was trying to deliver.
It didn't take long to realise that the image of 'Lily Allen' I had in my head of being the honest, brave woman who could take on the world and not give a f*** wasn't quite the reality. Instead, I discovered that the real Lily Allen has spent a huge part of her life feeling left on the outside of things and trying desperately to be in a position to feel loved and respected. While still speaking out at times, she often felt fearful about how any small aspect of her life or comment made could be taken completely out of context or twisted around so much that sometimes even she didn't recognise the truth of the situation. At one point, she explains the difference between 'Real Lily' and 'Cartoon Lily'. What the world has seen has been mostly 'Cartoon Lily'. Only recently- following true loss, grief, fear, and breakdown- has the Real Lily been brave and strong enough to step out into the light to allow the world to see her. To THAT Lily Allen, I applaud you & am so glad that you have finally reclaimed your voice.