Book Review: Beautiful Mess: The Story of Diamond Rio

Written by Diamond Rio with Tom Roland –
Reviewed by J Renee Archer –

Beautiful Mess is a beautifully written story about the messy history of the band, Diamond Rio. Tom Roland assists the Country band in telling the details of their 20 years (and counting) together plus, indulges the reader with the personal story of each band member. This biography turns celebrities into average people who have ups and downs just like the rest of us.The book begins with the Diamond Rio in the middle of a crisis that jeopardizes their careers in 2005. The first chapters backtrack in order to recount the days leading up to each member joining the group. While this is a key element in the story of Diamond Rio, it is a bit tedious for the reader. There is a lot of music industry lingo, places and people. With an overabundance of names and people with the same first name it was difficult, at best, to keep everyone straight in my mind. Thanks to Roland’s writing style this setting-the-stage section is fast-paced. He leads the reader through quickly and keeps the reader engaged and focused on the plot.

Each band member has a chapter devoted to telling his personal story.  This portion of Beautiful Mess is slower reading, but transforms each man from a superstar into a human. Later in the book a brief update is given of their current personal lives. This is particularly interesting because it is the reader’s chance to learn how the band members grew from the struggles they encountered professionally.

A common theme throughout the book is unity and commitment within and to Diamond Rio. This is proven repeatedly through the course of their 20 years together and the band tributes their longevity to these two qualities. With this clear message regarding their professional lives, I was disappointed to discover these attributes did not always carry over to their personal lives. The positive message that commitment and unity are of utmost importance professionally is somewhat negated when personal lives do not reflect the same standards.

Beautiful Mess is a good choice, even if you do not like Country Music. Avid biography readers will enjoy Beautiful Mess because of the multiple storylines—the band’s story and the individual stories. People who know the music industry well will enjoy making connections with the people and places in Beautiful Mess. And, of course, Beautiful Mess is a good book for those who simply want the inside scoop on the life of celebrities.

J Renee is an avid reader and enjoys telling others about the great books she reads. She and her husband and 3-year old son live in a 100-year old home in a rural community. J Renee enjoys gardening, playing and teaching piano and creating memories with the two boys in her life. You can read more reviews at J Renee’s blog:

J Renee received a complimentary copy of Beautiful Mess: The Story of Diamond Rio (ISBN: 978-1-5955-5268-6) from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a participant in their book review blogger program.

About J. Renee Archer

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