Much of the buzz surrounding Carly Simon’s recently released memoir, Boys in the Trees, has focused on the not entirely shocking revelation that Warren Beatty was one of three men who inspired the song “You’re So Vain.” But as it turns out, the best parts of the book actually aren’t about her music career--and the drama surrounding it--at all.
What keeps the reader hooked are tales of a childhood that was as troubled as it was privileged (her father cofounded the publishing house Simon & Schuster; her mother moved her 19-year-old lover into the family home when Carly was young), as well as an honest account of her tormented relationship with ex-husband James Taylor.
Also of note is Simon’s relationship--both personal and professional--with her older sister Lucy. Despite their father favoring Lucy, the Simon Sisters gelled musically, releasing three albums in the ’60s. They also apparently denied Sean Connery’s suggestion of a “Simon Sister sandwich” at the height of his James Bond fame (though Lucy did end up spending the night with him--alone).
Though beautifully written, Boys in the Trees is occasionally overdramatic and sometimes gratingly name-check-y (with mentions of in-home concerts from Ira Gershwin and unwanted come-ons from Marvin Gaye). Still, it’s certainly evocative of a certain time and place--and an unapologetically raw look at one of music’s greats.