"Springsteen’s book is the written equivalent of one of his legendarily lengthy stage shows. It’s a massive tome that will never be long enough for the fans (and probably seem a bit indulgent to naysayers), but carefully orchestrated to deliver rising and falling action, quiet moments of reflection and explosive passages of excitement, all laid out with the come-hither exhortations of a born performer. And at more than a few points, it leaves them wishing the words had musical accompaniment, as passages sound engineered to be shouted into a microphone with the passion and energy of a carnival barker, or possibly a tent-revival preacher—which, in his live act, is a fusion the musician often embodies.
Like life itself, the book lingers within the early years, and as time passes, years and events begin to churn by faster and faster, only stopping to explore singular moments or unexpected situations, like the political uproar over “41 Shots.” But some of the most potent moments reside in the final chapters, as Springsteen exposes a late-in-life struggle with depression that is as revealing as anything in the previous 450-plus pages. The artist’s forthrightness in confronting such vulnerabilities speaks to his lifelong commitment to rendering personal stories in vivid and affecting ways, his penchant for populating his music with striking characters now turned on his own life’s pains and pleasures. There are surely stories left to tell, but Springsteen, in his endless quest to craft the perfect setlist, has selected those that best fit his narrative. Even with this excellent effort in revealing the most human and exposed parts of himself, the Boss wants to put on a great show." - AV Club