And I Don’t Want to Live This Life by Deborah Spungen

And I Don’t Want to Live This LifeAnd I Don’t Want to Live This Life
by Deborah Spungen
Random House, 1983
ISBN: 978-0449911419
432 p.p.

Mothers are held to a standard of never speaking ill of their children regardless of who their child is. It is always said that a mother’s love is unconditional but what happens when you have an infant that never stops screaming and attacks people once they learn to walk? A teenager who is out of control, addicted to drugs, violence, and easy sex who is affecting your marriage causing the rest of your family to shatter?

When is enough…enough?

And I Don’t Want to Live This Life is the story of Nancy Spungen told by her mother Deborah Spungen. Spungen pours her heart out in this book allowing people to get to know who Nancy behind the Sid and Nancy persona truly was.

Sid and Nancy are seen as the punk Romeo and Juliet. Nancy is not mentioned without Sid and in Spungen’s book she does her daughter justice by giving her back an identity.

Nancy was more than the wild child, punk rocker queen involved with Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. The public only saw one side of Nancy which was fabricated to fit the punk rock scene. Nancy and Sid had a standard to reach and it is no secret that they were disturbed and drug addicts yet the public failed to understand they were searching for something that was missing in their lives which they found in each other.

Nancy Spungen was stabbed to death in the Chelsea Hotel in New York City in 1978. This made headlines as punk rocker Sid Vicious was held in custody for the death of Nancy. Sid ultimately confessed to the crime but stated it was accidental yet he died of a drug overdose before being convicted.

To most, the news of a girl stabbed to death by her boyfriend is just another tragedy. For Deborah Spungen, this was both a tragedy and a relief.

Spungen’s brutally honest account of her daughter’s life is very moving. She tells the story of a daughter she both hated and loved.

It is hard for some to fathom Spungen’s love/hate relationship with Nancy but through the various accounts of Nancy’s behavior towards her family readers can sympathize with Spungen. As a mother, she wanted the best for her three children. Spungen went through a lot with Nancy to try to save her from her own destruction. She never gave up on her and always wanted what was best for Nancy.

“I had promised Nancy a life of quality. Keeping that promise was the basis of my existence. Death is a part of life. Her death of quality was denied to her. I had to find a way to give it to her; to keep my promise.”

The book is written with immense passion that only a mother losing grip of her troubled daughter could write. Spungen loved her daughter unconditionally and wanted the best for her but Nancy was blinded with what she thought was her only way to live.

This is a great book to take a good look at your life and see what you are doing to yourself and those around you. Many times we forget that the choices we make not only affect us but those closest to us. It is unfortunate that for some it is too late.


Deborah Spungen was born in Philadelphia. She was married to Frank who passed in 2010 and mother of three, Nancy, Susan, and David. Deborah has been the owner of a natural foods store, a direct mail consultant, and a member of the Philadelphia Crime and Elderly Coalition. She founded the Philadelphia chapter of Parents of Murdered Children shortly after Nancy’s death.

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