Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A life in music

There are certain books that just grab you from the beginning, and then commence punching you in the gut. Last night I picked up Things the Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett and could not put it down until I had finished it. Everett, lead singer and musician in The Eels, has had a life touched with tragedy and sorrow, and yet throughout the book as Everett writes about his life there is a feeling that he has come to terms with what has happened and is moving on.
To say Everett's life has been touched with tragedy is an understatement. At 19 Everett discovered the body of his father who had died of a heart attack, 14 years later his sister committed suicide and finally his mother died from lung cancer a few years later. Then in 2001 his cousin was a flight attendant on the plane that flew into the Pentagon and was killed.

These events inform who Everett is, and this memoir is amazingly written with honesty, and an almost visible desire to be up front with his readers. Everett writes about his struggles to be recorded and the single minded drive that kept him trying, and not being afraid to do his own thing. The chapter where Everett talks about his mother dieing in his arms is simply moving and stops you in your tracks.

As the blurb states 'Inside the crazy, tragic and beautiful world of a man on a mission.' Highly recommended.

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