Such piercing poetry, candor and vulnerability have long been the trademarks of Simon’s music and she brings these qualities to the page in her latest venture the New York Times bestselling memoir ‘Boys in the Trees’ published last month by Flatiron Books – along with an audiobook read by Simon (with an original score she wrote with composer Teese Gohl) and a companion album titled ‘Songs from the Trees’.
A riveting work that stands alongside Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids’ and Rosanne Cash’s ‘Composed’ as one of the finest music memoirs of the past few years – ‘Boys in the Trees’ chronicles the ghosts that have often acted as both muses and torments for Simon in her creative and personal lives.
As the third daughter of four children born to the self-made publishing magnate Richard L. Simon – co-founder of Simon & Schuster and his wife Andrea – she grew up in comfortable homes in New York City Connecticut and on Martha’s Vineyard – where her parents’ dinner guests often included the likes of George Gershwin Benny Goodman and Jackie Robinson.
But the façade of a sparkling creative family papered over tumultuous dynamics at play.
In shattering prose Simon describes her ‘inability to get and keep Daddy’s attention and the suspicion that of his four children I was the one he cared for least’.
She recounts feeling inferior to her talented older sisters – of a disturbing early sexual experience with a teenager in the neighborhood and of her mother’s affair with Ronny—a young man who had been hired as a babysitter for Simon’s younger brother—that created lingering repercussions for the entire family.