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Review: Instrumental by James Rhodes

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Last year a friend of mine sent a message to say that he was heading to a book/music launch. I happened to reply with something along the lines of that sounds fun, who is it your going to see? When he said James Rhodes, I immediately replied saying that I was super jealous, really wished it was me that going and basically begging for him to get me a signed copy of the book.


Because every now and then someone’s story fascinates me and James’ has since I first saw him a few years ago in a channel 4 documentary called Notes from the Inside, with James Rhodes, shortly after I heard he was going to be writing an autobiography and so pre-ordered it…as you do. Unfortunately it was hit by delay after delay and its release was continuously postponed with no real reason given, frustrating for me as a reader but I assumed it was just one of those things.

Then on the 24th May 2016 I saw an article by James in the Independent which went into the detail of why the book had suffered from so many delays, and I was shocked at what he had gone through in order to be able to tell his story.

Instrumental is James’ story of being forced into hell and his climb back from it. It is an honest account of the horrific rape and abuse that he suffered as a child and the devastating effects that had on his life both physically and emotionally. In places it is hard to read, in others I just wanted to throw the fucking book away, I did not want to read the words on the page, the raw pain that he suffered seeped from the pages. It was painful. However at the same time it was unbelievably hard to put the book down the continuing effects of the abuse he had suffered was truly harrowing but overall it was a story of survival, one of hope, and one of the power of music. Even through his darkest times music was his salvation, through his gift and love of playing he is able to start rebuilding his life.

The true beauty of this book though is James’ realness he knows he has behaved appallingly and not once does he use what happened to him as an excuse for his behaviour. He also knows he is not yet ‘healed’ he still has his demons to fight, they will never unfortunately leave totally as they have caused too much damage, but with music and the love of his son and his girlfriend, he finally has the support to give him the strength to continue.

Disclaimer: I was bought this book as a gift and was so moved that I wanted to write this review but have received no incentive to do so. 

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