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Publisher's Summary

Raw, gritty, compassionate, surprising and darkly funny - Australian legend Jimmy Barnes' unforgettable childhood memoir.

The time I have spent writing this book has caused me a lot of pain. Sometimes because of what I have remembered about my childhood and sometimes because of what I couldn't remember. It is funny how your mind blocks things out when those things can hurt you. There are a lot of things I wish I didn't remember....

A household name, an Australian rock icon, the elder statesman of OzPubRock - there isn't an accolade or cliché that doesn't apply to Jimmy Barnes. But long before Cold Chisel and Barnesy, long before the tall tales of success and excess, there was the true story of James Dixon Swan - a working class boy whose family made the journey from Scotland to Australia in search of a better life.

Working Class Boy is a powerful reflection on a traumatic and violent childhood that fuelled the excess and recklessness which would define but almost destroy the rock 'n' roll legend. This is the story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes. It is a memoir burning with the frustration and frenetic energy of teenage sex, drugs, violence and ambition for more than what you have.

Raw, gritty, compassionate, surprising and darkly funny - Jimmy Barnes' childhood memoir is at once the story of migrant dreams fulfilled and dashed. Arriving in Australia in the summer of 1962, things went from bad to worse for the Swan family - Dot, Jim and their six kids. The scramble to manage in the tough northern suburbs of Adelaide in the '60s would take its toll on the Swans as dwindling money, too much alcohol and fraying tempers gave way to violence and despair.

This is the story of a family's collapse, but it is also the story of a young boy's dream to escape the misery of the suburbs with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join a rock 'n' roll band and get out of town for good.

©2016 Jimmy Barnes (P)2017 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A stunning piece of work - relentless, earnest, shockingly vivid." ( The Australian)
"Jimmy Barnes' 'memoir of running away' is a tale of sheer survival, the horror of a violent upbringing snapping at his heels 'like it was yesterday'." ( The Sydney Morning Herald)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Raw & honest autobiography

Everyone has a story, but not many are as horrific as this. An inspiring story of survival & I guess we'll have to wait for the next book to read about his success.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Heartfelt, raw and honest

Without a doubt the best biography I have ever read. Rather than focus on Jimmys conquests and make excuses for the way he was bought up, he embraces it and tells relatable and real life stories in the purest form. Rarely does this book focus on music. Rather it focuses on emotions and humanity and it is brutally honest at times. Couldn’t recommend it more highly and I can’t wait for the next book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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interesting

i grew up listening to cold chisel. there are so many things here that i never knew about jimmy barnes.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Inspiring Story.

What an inspiring story. This is a wonderful book and Jimmy does a great job at drawing you in and making you feel like you are there living this with him.

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What a life

this is such a wonderful insight into the life of Jimmy Barnes. the person you see today had definitely been moulded by his upbringing but this just shows that no matter how hard it was he fought hard to find his true meaning in life. his narration of his own story makes it even more enjoyable.

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Captivating

An excellent down to earth book, interesting, unbelievable hardship, sad & funny, loved every minute of it

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  • Kim
  • 18-05-2018

Powerful and Insightful!

Listening to Jimmy tell his story in his own words, brought this book to life. Hearing the different challenges he and his family went through brought a sense of normality when reflecting upon certain areas of your own childhood.

This insightful book clearly demonstrates the power of vulnerability, courage, strength and unity.

Highly recommend!

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thankyou.

loved it. heartfelt story of trials and tribulations. Do or die. never wonder. more praise for a working class man.

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  • Ann
  • 12-05-2018

great listen

great book just had to keep listening. have to get second book now for sure.

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a good story teller

easy to listen to and enjoyable. I've never been a fan of his music, his style or anything. however i liked this audio book. at times it made me think a bit of angela's ashes, not as extreme though.

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  • Matt Lockwood
  • 30-10-2017

Bloody Brilliant.

I binge listened in one sitting. Couldn't stop. There are dark tales of hard post War Scotland and redneck towns in South Australia- but the laughs and yarns throughout just had me hooked. Jimmy Barnes is one of Australia's favourite rock stars. This is a brave story, read by the man himself. Well done Jimmy Barnes- I'll see you at a book signing.

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  • Mr J Clark
  • 02-02-2018

True Working Class Boy

Wow!
What a life that poor boy had!
But hold on that was how it was back in the day!
Absolutely loved the story told by Jimmy and have the utmost respect and love for him.
I was in Australia in 1985 and was lucky enough to be introduced to Jimmy Barnes’s music by my Aussie mates and blessed to see him live at Bombay Rock Surfers Paradise.
Haven’t stopped listening since!
Can’t wait for Working class Man to come out on Audio