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Cosas que los nietos deberían saber (Ebook)

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Mark Oliver Everett, el llamado ‘Kurt Vonnegut’ del rock independiente, líder y cerebro de la banda Eels, es hijo del físico cuántico Hugh Everett, que inventó la teoría de los mundos paralelos y en ellos se perdió cuando E, como también se conoce al autor de este libro, tenía 19 años. Con el cadáver del padre iba a empezar un ciclo de desgracias que culmina en una rara y Mark Oliver Everett, el llamado ‘Kurt Vonnegut’ del rock independiente, líder y cerebro de la banda Eels, es hijo del físico cuántico Hugh Everett, que inventó la teoría de los mundos paralelos y en ellos se perdió cuando E, como también se conoce al autor de este libro, tenía 19 años. Con el cadáver del padre iba a empezar un ciclo de desgracias que culmina en una rara y preciosa autobiografía musical, porque la desgracia siempre dio mejores historias y sobre todo si son de Everett, que se ha puesto a escribir y componer en lugar de, por ejemplo, lanzarse al precipicio. Un libro tan raro como ese apartado «dysfunctional-americana o down lo-fi» que, según alguna enciclopedia y como se explica en el prólogo de este libro, empieza y termina con eso que la cambiante formación de The Eels ha hecho a lo largo de tantos y tan importantes discos. Y precioso, porque es verdad y conmueve incluso al despistado que no sepa quién es este hombre. Y otro tanto hará por la infortunada que no haya escuchado jamás un disco de la banda pero que, felizmente, aún está a tiempo. Chico introvertido y maldito coge el virus de la música (en un familia disfuncional, era normal que a los diez años su disco favorito fuese el terrorífico primero en solitario de Lennon), se muda a Los Angeles, trabaja en lo que toque y, a fuerza de tenacidad y fortuna, consigue firmar su primer contrato. El primero de tantos como obligará la anormalidad de la banda, celebrada por otros elementos atípicos como Tom Waits, Van Morrison y Neil Young. Banda que, según la leyenda, Bush y Cheney intentaron prohibir por nociva. Hasta este punto la historia suena familiar, pero volvamos a la tragedia (convertida aquí en comedia de la que, sin embargo, no cabe reír a carcajadas). Eso que ha empezado con la muerte del padre, al que seguirán la madre, el manager de la banda y la tía azafata que iba en uno de los aviones secuestrados el 11 de septiembre, además de la hermana adorada y perturbada que se suicida para acabar con la estirpe. O casi, porque esta historia no ha conseguido acabar con E, que no nació hasta 1963 aunque este libro podrían leerlo sus nietos. Los que no ha tenido, aunque no sería del todo imposible que los tuviera, incluso sin haber pasado antes por la paternidad, como él mismo preferiría. Y es broma, desde luego, porque para Everett el mayor de los éxitos es vivir, cada día, otro día, y eso ya es mucho. Pero el chiste, como es bien sabido, siempre tiene algo de verdad, y hay que seguir viviendo y pensando en los nietos, en las cosas que éstos deberían saber. De eso va este libro.


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Mark Oliver Everett, el llamado ‘Kurt Vonnegut’ del rock independiente, líder y cerebro de la banda Eels, es hijo del físico cuántico Hugh Everett, que inventó la teoría de los mundos paralelos y en ellos se perdió cuando E, como también se conoce al autor de este libro, tenía 19 años. Con el cadáver del padre iba a empezar un ciclo de desgracias que culmina en una rara y Mark Oliver Everett, el llamado ‘Kurt Vonnegut’ del rock independiente, líder y cerebro de la banda Eels, es hijo del físico cuántico Hugh Everett, que inventó la teoría de los mundos paralelos y en ellos se perdió cuando E, como también se conoce al autor de este libro, tenía 19 años. Con el cadáver del padre iba a empezar un ciclo de desgracias que culmina en una rara y preciosa autobiografía musical, porque la desgracia siempre dio mejores historias y sobre todo si son de Everett, que se ha puesto a escribir y componer en lugar de, por ejemplo, lanzarse al precipicio. Un libro tan raro como ese apartado «dysfunctional-americana o down lo-fi» que, según alguna enciclopedia y como se explica en el prólogo de este libro, empieza y termina con eso que la cambiante formación de The Eels ha hecho a lo largo de tantos y tan importantes discos. Y precioso, porque es verdad y conmueve incluso al despistado que no sepa quién es este hombre. Y otro tanto hará por la infortunada que no haya escuchado jamás un disco de la banda pero que, felizmente, aún está a tiempo. Chico introvertido y maldito coge el virus de la música (en un familia disfuncional, era normal que a los diez años su disco favorito fuese el terrorífico primero en solitario de Lennon), se muda a Los Angeles, trabaja en lo que toque y, a fuerza de tenacidad y fortuna, consigue firmar su primer contrato. El primero de tantos como obligará la anormalidad de la banda, celebrada por otros elementos atípicos como Tom Waits, Van Morrison y Neil Young. Banda que, según la leyenda, Bush y Cheney intentaron prohibir por nociva. Hasta este punto la historia suena familiar, pero volvamos a la tragedia (convertida aquí en comedia de la que, sin embargo, no cabe reír a carcajadas). Eso que ha empezado con la muerte del padre, al que seguirán la madre, el manager de la banda y la tía azafata que iba en uno de los aviones secuestrados el 11 de septiembre, además de la hermana adorada y perturbada que se suicida para acabar con la estirpe. O casi, porque esta historia no ha conseguido acabar con E, que no nació hasta 1963 aunque este libro podrían leerlo sus nietos. Los que no ha tenido, aunque no sería del todo imposible que los tuviera, incluso sin haber pasado antes por la paternidad, como él mismo preferiría. Y es broma, desde luego, porque para Everett el mayor de los éxitos es vivir, cada día, otro día, y eso ya es mucho. Pero el chiste, como es bien sabido, siempre tiene algo de verdad, y hay que seguir viviendo y pensando en los nietos, en las cosas que éstos deberían saber. De eso va este libro.

30 review for Cosas que los nietos deberían saber (Ebook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    D. Pow

    There is in this world certain songs, books, movies that get to the human condition like no other. Or maybe just an aspect of the human condition. Or maybe just an aspect of one humans condition. The aspect I am thinking of is a certain tenderness, a rawness, and an emotional vulnerability. A life of nakedness and need, of bird-like frailty and beauty, an opened-hearted way to life that lets all stimuli in no matter how razor-like hurtful it is, how lacerating and potentially lethal. But there i There is in this world certain songs, books, movies that get to the human condition like no other. Or maybe just an aspect of the human condition. Or maybe just an aspect of one humans condition. The aspect I am thinking of is a certain tenderness, a rawness, and an emotional vulnerability. A life of nakedness and need, of bird-like frailty and beauty, an opened-hearted way to life that lets all stimuli in no matter how razor-like hurtful it is, how lacerating and potentially lethal. But there is toughness here too, not the posturing homo-erotic MMA bullshit kind, but a soul courage wherein a person stares straight at the harrowing, dehumanizing things of this seemingly godless world and doesn’t bat an eye. This is the place where lovers live and artists, mad-men and potential suicides. This is the place where Mark Oliver Everett, aka E. to his fans, does his best work. Everett or E. is most famous for the work he has done with the long standing indie band The Eels. Everett is famous in his songs for confessional, sometimes morose lyrics that delve into a screwed up childhood, bad break ups and the constant anxiety and sense of impending doom that certain, perhaps overly sensitive souls, feel every waking moment of the day. He’s a lover and a fighter but also a neurotic and a dweeb. He’s one smart fuck-up and he knows we are all doomed. He dresses his sad-sack poetry in such beautiful melodies that even when he recounts tales of his sisters suicide and his mothers death by cancer(see the Eels brilliant 2nd album-Electro Shock Blues) the music itself partially transforms the lyrical message and serves as temporary balm to the searing message the lyrics are delivering. With Things the Grandchildren Should Know Everett has written a straight forward autobiography recounting much of the same ground familiar to Eels fans. But here there is no Beatlesque hook or clever middle eight here to lessen the impact of the story, only Everett’s spare but effective ‘just the facts, maam’ prose. But they are interesting facts and they are artfully, if simply told and I think for people who have never heard of The Eels this was still be a damned sight better than your usual woe is me, my life sucks memoir. The book is filled with a plethora of fucked up events. Mark discovers the body of his dad, Hugh, who was a world class physicist who just missed the boat to the fame and fortune this entailed, and was instead grinding out his years in lackluster suburban servitude. And, of course, Hugh died right as teenage Mark was making a connection with him. Later the book recounts Mark’s obsession and drive to make with his music and there are scenes here that are as good as any in discussing the nuts and bolts of the gestation of a song, the recording process, and the wonderful buzz one feels when someone gets your stuff and a wider audience is reached. But always there is pain mixed with the joy. Even though The Eels are famous for almost baroque pop, there is something bluesy, earthy and gritty to them. Their music is the blues re-imagined by a white geek with a dead science genius dad, a suicide sister and a big record collection. It is rife with the stuff the old blues records are: death, lust, women, subsistence living and both incredible joys and down in the bowels of hell horrors. The stuff of life. And here in this wonderful memoir you’ll find some of the same things. Hurtful and harrowing as it can be, it is also courageous and thoughtful and full of insights you won’t find elsewhere.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ian "Marvin" Graye

    What a Ride! This is the first book for years that I've started and finished in one afternoon. I thought it was going to be a train-wreck, but it was more like a roller-coaster ride. E. and I. The pace started off at a million miles an hour and never let up. E. went all over the place, and finally, on the last page, when he came to a stop, he realised that he had reached a point of some wisdom and contentment. So did I. February 22, 2011

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This is a lovely little memoir written in a relatively sparse, straight-forward style. Mark Oliver Everett - usually just referred to as E - is an interesting enough person that his writing doesn't really require much flourish, and he manages to make his self-effacing style of humor charming and relatable rather than grating or affected (not an easy task). E is best-known as the frontman for eels, one of the first rock bands I "discovered" on my own. I remember picking up Blinking Lights and Othe This is a lovely little memoir written in a relatively sparse, straight-forward style. Mark Oliver Everett - usually just referred to as E - is an interesting enough person that his writing doesn't really require much flourish, and he manages to make his self-effacing style of humor charming and relatable rather than grating or affected (not an easy task). E is best-known as the frontman for eels, one of the first rock bands I "discovered" on my own. I remember picking up Blinking Lights and Other Revelations from a local record shop pretty much on a whim, and thinking that while it was weird and very different from all of the music I'd grown up on, it was also really vulnerable, really pretty, and really affecting. Like most eels records, it's sad but not depressing, morose, but tied together by a tough string of optimism or hope. Everett's autobiography works largely the same way. He has what sounds like a nightmare of a dating life, a cluster of terrible family tragedies, and a generally kinda depressive nature, but there's a resilience in his personality that's really attractive and inspiring. It's an honest book, but not the sort that defines honesty as cynicism.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Johnny

    Things you should know. Mark Oliver Everett is the mastermind behind The EELS, more commonly referred to as E. This book is heavy on the sarcasm, but light on the condecension. I would say that despite what some of us may have faced in our lives thus far, 82% of us should count ourselves lucky that this is not our life. The other 18% are entitled to a hug at any time (even considering my near legendary space issues.) I absolutely loved this book. I have been a fan of The EELS from the moment I h Things you should know. Mark Oliver Everett is the mastermind behind The EELS, more commonly referred to as E. This book is heavy on the sarcasm, but light on the condecension. I would say that despite what some of us may have faced in our lives thus far, 82% of us should count ourselves lucky that this is not our life. The other 18% are entitled to a hug at any time (even considering my near legendary space issues.) I absolutely loved this book. I have been a fan of The EELS from the moment I heard 'Novicaine for the Soul' on KDGE in Dallas, Tx. I am grateful that they had at least one radio hit. It was a quick read, straight-forward and honest, with several heartbreaking moments that caused me pause. Also, a great insider view of the music industry featuring cameos by Tom Waits, Van Morrison, Neil Young, & others.

  5. 5 out of 5

    RandomAnthony

    Mr. Everett, better known as "E" from the band "eels" tells his harrowing life story with grace and humor. I'm a huge eels fan, so I found the book illuminating and inspiring, but I'm not sure a non-eels fan would have the same reaction. Still, this is a great story of artistic integrity and the role art can play in helping one survive dark times.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paul ZombieVintage

    I read this book during the Thanksgiving 2008 drive from Chicago to Minneapolis. This book will probably go down as the most pleasant memory of that trip, with the possible exception being the moment I was introduced to the singing, strumming, and smacking around of guitar hero world tour. But back to the point, the book is a fantastic read, but I am a poor judge in this case as I am a rather rabid follower of E (short for M.E. which is short for Mark Everett) and his various musical endeavors. I I read this book during the Thanksgiving 2008 drive from Chicago to Minneapolis. This book will probably go down as the most pleasant memory of that trip, with the possible exception being the moment I was introduced to the singing, strumming, and smacking around of guitar hero world tour. But back to the point, the book is a fantastic read, but I am a poor judge in this case as I am a rather rabid follower of E (short for M.E. which is short for Mark Everett) and his various musical endeavors. I've been to two shows in Minneapolis at the Pantages Theatre and was fortunate enough to be sitting in the fist couple of rows for both of them. I own all of the cds and would love to get my hand on vinyl copies of them, but I think that the small fortune I'd need to shell out will foolishly be spent elsewhere like on food and shelter (or maybe spent wisely on Guitar Hero!). I wouldn't argue with someone who feels cheated by an autobiography written when the author is still quite healthy and relatively young, its kind of like a band putting a greatest hits record out shortly after their third record drops. In this case though the history of short lives (at one point he describes looking at a photo of his sister and the three generations that proceed it, and remarks that he is the sole living person from his family) and the amount of life he has stuffed into his time on earth make it seem justifiable. I told a friend that I wanted this to be my favorite book before I had even opened a page. It doesn't reach those heights, but at least I really enjoyed it and feel like it was well worth the money I handed over to Amazon for it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeroen

    Can we kind of re-do my bio? I don’t want to keep being the sad sack whose house burned down.- Timothy Showalter, of Strand of Oaks Reading Mark Oliver Everett's Things the Grandchildren Should Know gives me the very opposite feeling of what Showalter expresses here. Everett, who goes by the stage name E and is best known as the singer of rock band Eels, seems totally fine and comfortable with being the sad sack. This is his right, of course. He mentions in the introduction here that people who w Can we kind of re-do my bio? I don’t want to keep being the sad sack whose house burned down.- Timothy Showalter, of Strand of Oaks Reading Mark Oliver Everett's Things the Grandchildren Should Know gives me the very opposite feeling of what Showalter expresses here. Everett, who goes by the stage name E and is best known as the singer of rock band Eels, seems totally fine and comfortable with being the sad sack. This is his right, of course. He mentions in the introduction here that people who write books about how interesting their life is make him uncomfortable. I'm happy he expresses this and agree with him, but the thing is that he does it anyway. I don't know what that tells us about him. And really, contrary to the blurbs that suggest the book is more suburban American novel than rock memoir, this will really only add something to those looking for background information on the band or the man behind the band. Or detract something. I have never been an Eels fan, but the Live with Strings record was important to me eight years ago when it came out. There was a feeling of unwarranted solace to it; without knowing about the horrid details of E's life, I still got that sense of being in the eye of an enormous shitstorm, a sense of the peace with life that E describes at the end of this book. Unfortunately, most of this book deals with the shitstorm. Everett's life has clearly been marked with remarkable bad luck, has been horrible by all standards. Everyone around him was dying. In some sense, you could say E himself was the eye of that perfect storm. The book works with the contrasts: Eels the band was on the way up as the rest of the singer's world crumbled. Curiously, E does not really look into the causality of the two. He acknowledges that writing music keeps him alive, and that this makes him write more music, but he doesn't seem to realise that the horrors of his life helped his band on its way up. Any Eels fan will tell you that it is precisely that candid funereal feel of that second Eels record, Electro-Shock Blues, that makes the band so special. I suppose Everett does not want to look under that stone, and that is understandable. Unfortunately, also, Everett is not a great writer. At the start of the book, he makes a point of explaining how he doesn't want to bullshit the reader with flowery phrases and imagery: he wants to tell it as it is. I am always annoyed by this kind of talk. If you want to tell it as it is, just do that. No, there is something else lurking in this statement, namely the idea that the short, to-the-point sentence is more honest than the labyrinthine claptrap of quote-unquote poets. It is the kind of cult that Hemingway nurtured. It is the idea that being a man of the people means playing it simple, which is always an idea I found rather offensive to "the people". Personally, I think the writer has an obligation to work his hardest on every word. The concise style can be great, if it fits, but so can the more elaborate one. It was only toward the end of the book that I started to realise what was going on. I'd had a nagging feeling about the tone the narrator took from the very start. There was something dishonest about it, a sense of desperation. From the childish denunciation of his schoolteacher "Mrs. Bitch" to the self-congratulatory tone he takes in his music business travails (talk of not selling out to commercials, always doing your own thing and never repeating yourself – which are all traits I admire, but less so if presented in such a boastful fashion), I wondered what exactly the man was trying to prove, or who he was trying to win over. Who was he trying to convince? He had a loyal fan base. He was an artist loved by many. There was no need for him to pat himself continuously on the shoulder. But then it struck me: the one he was trying to convince is himself. He talks a lot here about his confidence suddenly plummeting upon some or other rejection or incident. It is Everett making up the balance of his life and telling himself it is okay. Or that he “is okay”, as he concludes at some point toward the end of the narrative. This is, essentially, a self-help book. Unfortunately, again, he had nailed that sentiment already in "Things the Grandchildren Should Know", the song after which this book is titled. It is my favorite Eels song by far and a large part of the reason why I picked this book up in the first place. It perfectly sums up the feeling of loving life despite so so many things. When in the penultimate chapter, titled after the book titled after the song, he provides a verse by verse gloss of the lyrics of this song, it becomes abundantly clear how unnecessary this book is, and how a folded flower can be more poignant than an unfolded one, can pack more punch, more pollen. All the glosses do is overexplain things that the song had already captured perfectly. As with that chapter, so with the whole book: that sense of perseverance that runs through the Eels discography no longer packs a punch when it is unfolded and unfolded and unfolded into a serious number of quires, folded back into a book. It perfectly shows that songwriting and prose writing are very different things.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    In this trek through Mark Everett, lead singer of "The Eeels" ' life he is honest. He is not trying to win me over with his dynamic prose or his thesaurus found words. He is not wasting my time with "flowery shit". He is "straight with me", and I dig it. We follow M.E. through his crazy, non-supervised childhood into his spiraling, stair climbing adult years, through his music ups and downs and into his own self awareness. He, of course, talks about his success in music, but he is no braggart, h In this trek through Mark Everett, lead singer of "The Eeels" ' life he is honest. He is not trying to win me over with his dynamic prose or his thesaurus found words. He is not wasting my time with "flowery shit". He is "straight with me", and I dig it. We follow M.E. through his crazy, non-supervised childhood into his spiraling, stair climbing adult years, through his music ups and downs and into his own self awareness. He, of course, talks about his success in music, but he is no braggart, he is not shoving it down my throat. Music is part of his life, part of his being, so naturally it is focused on in the book. When I picked up the book, I really thought it was just going to be some jumbled up lessons on life for the authors Grandkids- and while it did have some life lessons I was most surprised at how funny parts of it was. Seriously, laugh-out-loud moments were happening. I was also surprised at how sad parts were, through it all he was so honest with the audience. I commend M.E. Some of that had to be crazy-hard to put down into words, he has gained a fan. No, I don't really know much of his music... but I'm going to have to change that, he gave so much insight to his songs- I feel like I could reach out and touch his heart... I know that's cheesy, but man, it was an emotional ride. I whole-heartedly recommend this to anyone, especially those who like memoir's. I'm going to take a leap and suggest that if you liked "The Glass Castle", you'll probably like this one. Excerpts from book: "Kids know what's going on. They always respond to The Beatles, for instance. Doesn't matter when they were born, they always seem to respond. Show me a kid who innately doesn't like The Beatles, and I'll show you a bad seed." "Reviews don't really mean anything if you look at the history of rock journalism. The usually can't tell you what will stand the test of time when they review something brand new on a tight deadline, but I'm going to let myself feel good about this. (Book reviewers: this doesn't mean you, of course, I have nothing but utmost respect for what you do. How do you like the book so far?)" "And If I'm such a nonbeliever, why do I keep catching myself sitting on the back porch with my head tilted toward the night sky, talking to Liz and my Mom and Dad?" "Life is so full of unpredictable beauty and strange surprises. Sometimes beauty is too much for me to handle. Do you know that feeling? when something is just too beautiful?" 4.5 stars=love

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Stafford

    I've long been a fan of the Eels, and think "Electro-Shock Blues" is one of the best albums of the 90s. And since my work on the TV show Lost, I've also been fascinated by the work of Hugh Everett and his many worlds theory. So I was happy to pick up the book written by the Eels' frontman, E, who also happens to be the son of Hugh Everett. This is the most honestly written memoir you'll probably ever read by someone who is in the public eye: this is a no-holds-barred account of his difficult chi I've long been a fan of the Eels, and think "Electro-Shock Blues" is one of the best albums of the 90s. And since my work on the TV show Lost, I've also been fascinated by the work of Hugh Everett and his many worlds theory. So I was happy to pick up the book written by the Eels' frontman, E, who also happens to be the son of Hugh Everett. This is the most honestly written memoir you'll probably ever read by someone who is in the public eye: this is a no-holds-barred account of his difficult childhood, and of the one-two-three punch of his father's sudden death, his sister's suicide, and his mother dying of cancer, leaving him all alone, the last man standing in a family that had been wrought with secrets and hardships. On the flip side, there's a lot of griping and complaining about people, ex-girlfriends, ex-friends, record company execs, so after a while it's one thing to read E's thoughts; quite another to imagine ever being friends with the guy. But in the end, he's not asking you to be his friend: he's simply pulling you into the world in which he lives, a world that he's survived to become one of the best indie artists working today. And for that, I would definitely recommend this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hinch

    Mark Oliver Everett, also known as E, the man behind the band Eels, has written the kind of autobiography that has the substance to change lives. To put it simply, it is a work of staggering genius. It is poignant, funny, and frequently optimistic, and surely a great source of inspiration for anyone burdened by the weight of living. There is nothing pretentious or gratuitous about this book. Nothing flowery or extraneous - just a straight-shooting, honest, no bullshit story, of desperate sadness Mark Oliver Everett, also known as E, the man behind the band Eels, has written the kind of autobiography that has the substance to change lives. To put it simply, it is a work of staggering genius. It is poignant, funny, and frequently optimistic, and surely a great source of inspiration for anyone burdened by the weight of living. There is nothing pretentious or gratuitous about this book. Nothing flowery or extraneous - just a straight-shooting, honest, no bullshit story, of desperate sadness and infectious joy, and most of all, of an earnest need to keep going despite the odds. Everett delivers us more than just a fascinating life story; he offers us a universally relevant analysis of his evolving state of mind as he struggles over the years to make the most of what's thrown at him. Told in direct, simple, and beautifully honest terms, this is a book that deserves a place in every home. Even if you don't know of the Eels, and share little interest in music, you will be moved by the open and honest story of E, a truly fascinating individual.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Baal Of

    I never payed any attention to Eels, despite the efforts of one of my D&D friends who has tried to push them on me for well over a decade, until a few weeks back when Beautiful Freak came up during my progression through the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. So I finally actually listened to the entire album, and I was so impressed that I bought a copy of the CD. When I told my friend, he took the opportunity to thrust this book upon me. So here I am reading the intimate details I never payed any attention to Eels, despite the efforts of one of my D&D friends who has tried to push them on me for well over a decade, until a few weeks back when Beautiful Freak came up during my progression through the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. So I finally actually listened to the entire album, and I was so impressed that I bought a copy of the CD. When I told my friend, he took the opportunity to thrust this book upon me. So here I am reading the intimate details of the life of a musician whose work has only very recently entered into my awareness. In general, I don't read a lot of single band or musician biographies, preferring music books that focus more on genres or time periods, the exception being bands that have been long time favorites such as The Church or Porcupine Tree. In fact at this point, I have still only listened to Beautiful Freak once, because it is still in my newly purchased music listening queue with at least 10 albums sitting in front of it. Mark Everett's writing style is straightforward and conversational, and he lays out his life in raw and unflinching detail. His life is filled with some stunningly tragic events, including the suicide of his sister days before the release of the first Eels album. He also reveals a lot of details about the music business, and just how it can grind down artists who just want to create, which of course just adds to the chorus of experiences of other artists I've read about. Put all of that together, and it made a for strange reading experience, in which I was simultaneously feeling that he had an interesting life, but at the same time I didn't have the same kind of visceral connection that I did with say Steve Kilbey's auto-biography. This is the kind of book that is pretty clearly aimed at the long term, serious fans. Maybe I will be one of those fans in a few years. I do intend to listen to more of his albums.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine

    This is what every memoir should aspire to be. I started listening to the Eels in high school. I haven’t devoured their tunes as actively as I used to in the past few years (even if “Blinking Lights and Other Revelations” was the best five dollars I’ve ever spent); that being said, I didn’t even make it halfway through this book without launching a massive attack on iTunes to download whatever albums of Mr. E’s I didn’t already own. This book satisfied me in so many ways as a reader, as a music This is what every memoir should aspire to be. I started listening to the Eels in high school. I haven’t devoured their tunes as actively as I used to in the past few years (even if “Blinking Lights and Other Revelations” was the best five dollars I’ve ever spent); that being said, I didn’t even make it halfway through this book without launching a massive attack on iTunes to download whatever albums of Mr. E’s I didn’t already own. This book satisfied me in so many ways as a reader, as a music lover and as a fan of the author. Aside from enjoying the weirdly satisfying progression of E as an artist and watching his musical career blossom, I found myself undeniably drawn to his personality. I kept thinking that he seems like the kind of guy who deserves every ounce of fame he’s garnered over the course of his wobbly career. And I wanted to feel like less of a dick for dismissing albums like “Shootenanny!” and “Souljacker,” especially now that I understand their place against the landscape of the artist’s life (and the two albums most definitely deserved a second chance). I never really considered the origins of or stories behind so many of the Eels tunes I’ve loved for years. Knowing what was going on in E’s life and what inspired him to write the kind of songs he did made me wish there were more musicians who posses his integrity and raw passion. His love of music most assuredly intensified mine. For all the awful, heart-wrenching tragedies that have befallen a single man, E maintains an outlook that is admirably devoid of self pity’s trappings while embracing a searing truthfulness that’s only made more enjoyable by his knack for humorous observation and witty phrasing. There isn’t a drop of bullshit to be found in these 256 pages, which is remarkable for such a poignantly honest look inward. E displays his reactions, thoughts, feelings, perspective and aspirations with a refreshingly straightforward narrative. The bonus of E’s encounters with a plethora of other musical artists I love – Elliott Smith, most significantly – and his eclectic range of creative influences is a delight for the music lover in me. He loves so many of the same bands I do, he attended concerts I only wish I’d been alive to see, he respects so many of the musical acts (both past and current) that I just adore. Finding out that I share so many of the same tastes with this alt-rock star just made the reading experience all the more personal. The journey of self-discovery that’s at the heart of this book, just like the song with which it shares a title, is what every terrified loner needs to experience. Knowing that someone has had so many of the unnervingly similar thoughts, fears and dreams as I have, and knowing that the someone in question has triumphed so very impressively in the face of things that would strike down a lesser individual, instilled in me a sense of hope and companionship that I have never found in any of the hundreds of other books I’ve read. I couldn’t help but like Mr. E more and more with every page. And I am more convinced than ever that the man is nothing short of a national treasure. I can’t recommend this book enough. Now excuse me while I relish the rediscovery of both E’s and the Eels’ music.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karel-Willem Delrue

    Reviews don't really mean anything There is this thing about Eels. Ever since that big-eyed girl on the cover of Beautiful Freak caught my eye I have been regarding them as a cool band. I have attended a (very odd) live performance (in orange overalls - the band, not me!), I have covered two Eels songs with two bands and That look you give that guy was used in a play I wrote. And yet, somehow, I never considered myself a fan. I accidentaly learned about this memoir when a member of an overrated da Reviews don't really mean anything There is this thing about Eels. Ever since that big-eyed girl on the cover of Beautiful Freak caught my eye I have been regarding them as a cool band. I have attended a (very odd) live performance (in orange overalls - the band, not me!), I have covered two Eels songs with two bands and That look you give that guy was used in a play I wrote. And yet, somehow, I never considered myself a fan. I accidentaly learned about this memoir when a member of an overrated dance act brought it to the table in a Belgian TV show. Great title, I thought. And I also thought it was strange that a young rocker (neither Eels nor E aged in my head) had written a memoir. In his introduction Mark Oliver Everett saves no effort to convince us of the reason why he wrote it. Even though he dislikes talking about himself, he states, he has got a story to tell. At first I was suspicious, but it turns out that E, indeed, lived a remarkable live and he shares it in a very authentic, serene way. He gives it to us straight. Things The Grandchildren Should Know is the story of "a sad sack preteen zombie" choosing the life of a rock star over suicide. It is the story of stolen bikes, of broken hearts, of acne, of a very first drumming performance at school (which I could relate to) and of an airplane crash in the neighbourhood (which I could not relate to). It is a story of opposites and their reconciliation. Most of all it's probably the story of a man struggling to remain true to himself in a rock-'n-roll world governed by financial interests and marketing, the story of a man who does what he does because he loves it. And essentially this is a a story about coping with life's most painful tragedies and about finding overwhelming beauty in the experience of being alive. Life is so full of unpredictable beauty and strange surprises. Sometimes the beauty is too much for me to handle. Do you know that feeling? When something is just too beautiful? Since I heard 'Mystery of life' (and used its catch phrase on my son's birth card) I somewhat tried to rediscover Eels. After reading Things The Grandchildren Should Know I consider myself, somehow, a fan.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Roger

    The story of Mark Oliver Everett (better known simply as "E"), in his own words, "isn't the story of a famous guy. It's just the story of a guy (who occasionally finds himself in situations that resemble a famous guy's life)." Throughout his troubled childhood and later struggle to find success in the music industry, E faces an unrelenting series of tragedies juxtaposed with moments of happiness and fulfillment. What makes this story truly uplifting is seeing E face all the hardships he is force The story of Mark Oliver Everett (better known simply as "E"), in his own words, "isn't the story of a famous guy. It's just the story of a guy (who occasionally finds himself in situations that resemble a famous guy's life)." Throughout his troubled childhood and later struggle to find success in the music industry, E faces an unrelenting series of tragedies juxtaposed with moments of happiness and fulfillment. What makes this story truly uplifting is seeing E face all the hardships he is forced to undergo and staying strong and hopeful with the help of his music as a creative outlet, eventually finding success as the frontman of the band Eels. This book is a real page turner, and Everett's blunt yet elegant writing style reflects his truly unique and refreshingly optimistic outlook on life. You don't need to be a fan of E's work to appreciate his writing, and I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story about life, and all the different people who live it. 'Course I'm a 9th grader writing this review for a school project, so don't take my word for it, just read the book yourself.

  15. 5 out of 5

    textual silence

    Bought in Union Square, NY, and on my book shelf for at least two years, possibly three, before I got round to reading it because I wasn't sure I wanted to be a post-reader of the book - being a pre-reader usually helps avoid disappointment. Not your usual 'rock star' (or whatever) crappy book. This guy has some serious stuff to say, not only here but in his music, and is way more articulate and interesting than many of his contemporaries. An easy going everyday prose makes it a light read, whils Bought in Union Square, NY, and on my book shelf for at least two years, possibly three, before I got round to reading it because I wasn't sure I wanted to be a post-reader of the book - being a pre-reader usually helps avoid disappointment. Not your usual 'rock star' (or whatever) crappy book. This guy has some serious stuff to say, not only here but in his music, and is way more articulate and interesting than many of his contemporaries. An easy going everyday prose makes it a light read, whilst the subject matter clashes harshly with this, making it even more of an essential read to boot. E has to be in contention for the title of 'Least bull-shitty music performer alive today with the vast majority of his/her dignity in tact,' and so you'd be foolish to pass this one by… He also sports the most awesome beard, but that's extraneous at best.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I go to bed early everybody thinks its strange I get up early in the morning no matter how disappointed I was with the day before it feels new.. I had never heard of Eels and I'm so glad I have now. Such an encouraging story of a man who lost everyone he cared about and tried had to forge a career in the music business without selling out. Pretty hard for an ordinary regular guy to get through what he did and keep his dignity too. loved this book and I really like his music. I hope for this man to fi I go to bed early everybody thinks its strange I get up early in the morning no matter how disappointed I was with the day before it feels new.. I had never heard of Eels and I'm so glad I have now. Such an encouraging story of a man who lost everyone he cared about and tried had to forge a career in the music business without selling out. Pretty hard for an ordinary regular guy to get through what he did and keep his dignity too. loved this book and I really like his music. I hope for this man to find true love and have this children that will bring him grandchildren some day. At least they will know what he stood for.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sofie Praille

    Okay, I must admit: I was already an Eels-fan before reading this book. But I can assure you that even if you’re not, this book is worth reading. It’s not just an autobiography. It’s a true story filled with sadness, sarcasm, great humour and hope. It’s about struggling with life at its fullest and about rising at your fullest. At the end you put up an Eels-cd and listen to it in a whole different way. And the only thing you will think is ‘Hey, E, thanks for never giving up’.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    I'm not a big fan of Eels but I remember loving "Novocaine for the Soul" when I heard it in '97 and I've occasionally dipped into their music every now and then. I recently got into "Hombre Lobo" and decided to give this book a go. Wow. Now I have to go and listen to every album they've done. Mark Everett or "E" writes about his life in a candid memoir. His father was a brilliant physicist who created the theory of parallel universes but was a very distant man emotionally. E's mother was also qu I'm not a big fan of Eels but I remember loving "Novocaine for the Soul" when I heard it in '97 and I've occasionally dipped into their music every now and then. I recently got into "Hombre Lobo" and decided to give this book a go. Wow. Now I have to go and listen to every album they've done. Mark Everett or "E" writes about his life in a candid memoir. His father was a brilliant physicist who created the theory of parallel universes but was a very distant man emotionally. E's mother was also quite distant but his sister Liz was the center of his universe. Liz was in and out of mental hospitals for most of her life and became heavily involved with drugs. One morning E found his father dead in his bed. A few years later his sister took her life. Shortly after his mother contracted inoperable lung cancer and died in front of him. He lost friends, a roadie called Spider, to heroin, and the brilliant Elliott Smith, who took his own life after frequent troubles with drugs. He also lost a cousin on 9/11 - she was a stewardess on the plane that hit the pentagon. After so much death and misery it's a miracle E didn't take his own life. He writes that he was lucky, that he had music to save him. And what music! The text is scattered with lyrics which he explains as part of his life story. From being a young boy with a toy drum kit bashing away in a closet, to becoming an international rock star (a label he never gives himself by the way - the closest he gets is saying he's lucky to do what he does), E's story is remarkable for the overcoming of such hardships, of losing your entire immediate family in a matter of years and to find yourself alone, to then turn that into a series of heartbreaking albums is amazing. It's written so well too. Even a casual reader unfamiliar with Eels could pick it up and become engrossed in the story. As a fan though I found out so much about his life that I had to go back and listen to the records just to see if I could pick up on what was going on in his life when he recorded it. The finale comes with the release of the "Blinking Lights" double album and the "Eels with Strings" concert at the Royal Albert Hall. All the themes of the book come together as he stands on stage and plays the songs of his life. It's very moving and shows a writing skill far beyond what you would expect of a "rock star". But for all the high level of writing E shows here, his lyrics, his poetry, are the best examples of his gifts. "So in the end I'd like to say That I'm a very thankful man I tried to make the most of my situations And enjoy what I had I knew true love and I knew passion And the difference between the two And I had some regrets But if I had to do it all again Well, it's something I'd like to do" What a story, what a man. Read this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    Things the Grandchildren Should Know. Some memoirs are written in a style that reads like a conversation. You're left feeling like someone started in on this incredible story and just when you're about to interrupt, the person across from you answers the question you were about to ask. You're drawn in. You're conversing. You're exchanging ideas with the written page. Other memoirs read like you're being talked to instead of talking with the author. They're telling their story and you're going to Things the Grandchildren Should Know. Some memoirs are written in a style that reads like a conversation. You're left feeling like someone started in on this incredible story and just when you're about to interrupt, the person across from you answers the question you were about to ask. You're drawn in. You're conversing. You're exchanging ideas with the written page. Other memoirs read like you're being talked to instead of talking with the author. They're telling their story and you're going to sit there and listen. And like it. Damn it, you're going to like it. Except you're not. Or at the very least, I'm not. Not for 75% of the book anyway. Musicians are, by design, narcissists. Everything centers around them, they're in the spotlight and they like it there. Publishing books about their own lives fits in perfectly with that narcissism. Me, me, mine, mine, me, me... Nikki Sixx was able to pull off the conversation. Reading "This is Gonna Hurt" felt like you were sitting across the table from the man and conversing about the roller coaster that is his life. Mark Oliver Everett is talking TO you. Not with you. He's telling the story and you're going to sit there and take it all in. Take in the death of his father wrapped up on two pages. Take in two or three paragraphs about every girl that crossed his path. In the last quarter of the book, Everett warns the reader that he may start writing things in a more present tense. Less looking back. This is where the book gets better. The blurb on the book about surviving the death of his family members is....not misleading but not the focus of the book. There isn't much you could take away from this book to help you cope with your own losses, if that's what you were looking for with this. Favorite passage: "We're all fucked up, I'm thinking, and that's the truth. Everyone's got some crazy shit going on in their life and no one is living any of that fairy-tale shit that the TV made you believe life was suppose to be like when you were young."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gaby

    Listening to the simple yet profound Electroshock Blues at 16, I identified with every song, and thought it was something I’d write, or something that could have been written about me. Now I know I'm wrong. After reading Mr. E’s autobiography, my respect for him has grown even more, because it can’t have been easy to reach within and produce such raw, universal, and identifiable feeling out of experiences as unique and atypical as the ones he’s had. The best parts of the book are where he talks a Listening to the simple yet profound Electroshock Blues at 16, I identified with every song, and thought it was something I’d write, or something that could have been written about me. Now I know I'm wrong. After reading Mr. E’s autobiography, my respect for him has grown even more, because it can’t have been easy to reach within and produce such raw, universal, and identifiable feeling out of experiences as unique and atypical as the ones he’s had. The best parts of the book are where he talks about his music and his family. The frankness and candor with which Mr. E writes about the latter is not present in the passages where he writes about the other people in his life (probably because those persons are still alive and he’s protecting their privacy), so those stand out slightly discordantly, as if he was holding himself back and walking on eggshells- unlike the open tone of the rest of the book. In any case, Mr. E’s passion for music is central to the book. I’m not at all surprised he’s gotten a reputation for being “difficult”, but really, it all makes perfect sense when he explains it. At first glance, his artistic path may seem to be built upon brave and risky decisions, but it becomes clear that it’s mostly due to a very clear-defined and unwavering belief in himself and the music he wants to create. This book made me laugh at parts and cry at others. I’d recommend it not only to Eels fans, but to anyone who is into music, or worries about dying, or living.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Dorothy Parker wrote,"I know this will come as a shock to you, Mr.Goldwyn, but in all history which has held billions and billions of human beings, not a single one ever had a happy ending". I thought of this quote more than once while reading Mark Everett's memoir, 'Things the Grandchildren Should Know'. I read this book over the weekend, the last time I read a book that fast was - never! I read a couple pages and could not stop. I must say here that a goodreads friend wrote a great review, (thank Dorothy Parker wrote,"I know this will come as a shock to you, Mr.Goldwyn, but in all history which has held billions and billions of human beings, not a single one ever had a happy ending". I thought of this quote more than once while reading Mark Everett's memoir, 'Things the Grandchildren Should Know'. I read this book over the weekend, the last time I read a book that fast was - never! I read a couple pages and could not stop. I must say here that a goodreads friend wrote a great review, (thanks Aerin!) which intrigued me. I have never heard the group Eels before, but the subject matter sounded like something I could benefit from. This is an understatement. E has written a memoir that had me laughing till my sides hurt, and crying with tissues close at hand. It is written in a very straight forward manner, which draws you right in. Life can really suck most of the time, and for E it did in spades. The beauty of the book for me was not the tragic aspect of life, but the way in which he kept moving forward through the shit that came his way. E's memoir has helped me even now, as I walk through suck valley. Knowing that there will be mountaintops ahead, and some more suck valleys too. One of my English profs quoted someone who said, "Life is a patchwork quilt". It truly is. If I could, I would give this 6 stars, well I guess I just did. I got a special bonus from the book too, in that it introduced me to The Eels, my new favorite band.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leah Fitzgerald

    I loved Eels the first time I heard Novocaine for the Soul on MuchMusic. I was 16, and the lyrics spoke to me. I needed something for my soul so very much - I was an angsty teen after all. The album Beautiful Freak went on to become a soundtrack to my high school days and the subsequent albums all have ties to moments in my life, from my first dorm room to car trips with my husband and daughter. This book is what was going on with the man behind the music and it is a beautiful tale of a weird and I loved Eels the first time I heard Novocaine for the Soul on MuchMusic. I was 16, and the lyrics spoke to me. I needed something for my soul so very much - I was an angsty teen after all. The album Beautiful Freak went on to become a soundtrack to my high school days and the subsequent albums all have ties to moments in my life, from my first dorm room to car trips with my husband and daughter. This book is what was going on with the man behind the music and it is a beautiful tale of a weird and wonderful like where the downs (and there are many) are only surpassed by the ups. Mark Oliver Everett tells it like it is (and was). My favourite passage in the book? "It lasted five or six years. In the end, it didn't work out. But, after all, this is Chapter 13. What did you expect?" A necessity for reading is a complete soundtrack of E and Eels albums, as well as some other tracks, including Happy Trails (so you can hear it as he leaves his mother's funeral, even if he didn't get to), an Elliott Smith track of your choice (something from his dark period, preferably), some Tom Waits and some Neil Young. Maybe John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band album, if you can handle it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Don Gorman

    (2 1/2) First of all, this is a memoir, not any kind of self help or instructional book. A weird memoir as well, mostly because Mark Everett has lived a weird life and certainly came from a seriously weird family. I got turned onto this one by Judd Apatow's one page interview in the Sunday NY Times book review a couple of weeks ago. Everett is the founder and head of an indie rock band called Eels and most of the content here is about his struggle to make it as a musician. I am not familiar with (2 1/2) First of all, this is a memoir, not any kind of self help or instructional book. A weird memoir as well, mostly because Mark Everett has lived a weird life and certainly came from a seriously weird family. I got turned onto this one by Judd Apatow's one page interview in the Sunday NY Times book review a couple of weeks ago. Everett is the founder and head of an indie rock band called Eels and most of the content here is about his struggle to make it as a musician. I am not familiar with their work but I am going to check it out. His life story is all over the place but written in an easy to follow style. After a very slow start, the book flows pretty well. He certainly has a talent for lyrics as many are highlighted along the way. This is a different kind of feel but it takes you nicely into someone's head and their life, which is what a good memoir should do.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I don't even know where to start. I picked this books up this morning, read a few pages, went on with my day, picked it up about 3 hours ago and I wasn't able to put it down. I had to finish it, and I did. There is something so tragically beautiful about E. He is someone you want to meet and ask weird questions to. His life is sad and depressing, and the way he writes about it broke my heart, but while reading, I put his whole discography on my iTunes on shuffle, and I felt incredibly connected I don't even know where to start. I picked this books up this morning, read a few pages, went on with my day, picked it up about 3 hours ago and I wasn't able to put it down. I had to finish it, and I did. There is something so tragically beautiful about E. He is someone you want to meet and ask weird questions to. His life is sad and depressing, and the way he writes about it broke my heart, but while reading, I put his whole discography on my iTunes on shuffle, and I felt incredibly connected to him. He puts his life for everyone to read about, and I think it is his own version of therapy, and I'm glad that he put it out for his fans to read, because, at least this pertains to me, I will now be a dedicated fan for life. This quickly became a favorite book, and I can't wait to make other people read it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Owens

    Given that "E" has always proven to be such a clever lyricist, his way with words shouldn't of knocked my socks off my ass as much as they did while reading his moving memoir. However, after absorbing his unbelievably touching, inspirational, and bittersweet story- I looked down and realized that my socks were, indeed, on the floor from having been knocked off my ass. I'm amazed that this is his writing debut. I hope that there are many more literary musings from the mind of "E." It's not often Given that "E" has always proven to be such a clever lyricist, his way with words shouldn't of knocked my socks off my ass as much as they did while reading his moving memoir. However, after absorbing his unbelievably touching, inspirational, and bittersweet story- I looked down and realized that my socks were, indeed, on the floor from having been knocked off my ass. I'm amazed that this is his writing debut. I hope that there are many more literary musings from the mind of "E." It's not often that a writer can blend lucid logic, swift wit, succinct yet powerful prose into such a memorable memoir.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    This is great, really interesting and told with a good sense of self-awareness - he hasn't believed his own hype anyway. It's dark, honest and revealing and also made me revisit his music and see (hear) it in a different light. However he's not a guy you'd want to hang around with too much as all his mates and family end up dying on him. If only we could get him to befriend Fearne Cotton..... * Ok maybe a bit mean-spirited there, I suppose she technically has the right to life.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Dhollander

    Publicity on the cover reads "Rock music! Death! Crazy people! Love!" and that sums up well what this book is about. Everett so brilliantly and emotionally writes about how music saved his life while and after losing his entire family, that you feel like giving him a big hug, telling him how well he is doing. And next time I listen to Eels, I know I will feel Everett's music along with him. Thanks to my daughter who recommended this book to me!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Oliver

    This is a brilliant, honest, sometimes shocking book. It's hard to believe so many tragedies could happen to one person and that person could make something positive out of it all. A friend lent me this book and that also got me listening to all the music of the Eels. Beautiful, twisted art from the mind of Mark Oliver Everett.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Teijo Aflecht

    More good parts than in Eels songs (of which they have at least a few). The stories about making albums and touring are the most boring, as usual with books of this type. Doesn't quite compare to the Lemmy interview-autobiography, but it was a good read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karie

    Thanks to the Early Reviewers program, reading “Things the Grandchildren Should Know” was a new experience for me. As with most people, the biographies I read are always about someone I know a great deal about, or have heard of, or at least have some interest in. I can honestly say I’ve never heard of Mark Oliver Everett (sorry, Mark) or the music group he founded, the EELS. But when I received this book in the mail and read the praise on the back and the first page that proclaims, “The following Thanks to the Early Reviewers program, reading “Things the Grandchildren Should Know” was a new experience for me. As with most people, the biographies I read are always about someone I know a great deal about, or have heard of, or at least have some interest in. I can honestly say I’ve never heard of Mark Oliver Everett (sorry, Mark) or the music group he founded, the EELS. But when I received this book in the mail and read the praise on the back and the first page that proclaims, “The following is a true story. Some names and hair colors have been changed.”, I was all in. Before going further, I did make myself a promise that I wouldn’t use the power of the Internet to find out ANYTHING about Everett…I would only learn about him through his own words. (Although once his career started to take off and he started to meet more and more famous people – I was sorely tempted.) And so I learned about this very thoughtful and very funny man through the lens with which he sees his life and world. I say funny even though much that I found funny was in a sort of startled, shocked way…words that caught me off guard, forcing me to go back and confirm that I’d read what I thought I had. The first part of many of his anecdotes lull you into thinking all is well…and then his last few words practically grab on to your eyeballs. “It’s weird hanging out and sleeping in the same room with two people you’ve never spoken to and aren’t allowed to speak to, but I was trained pretty well for this by being in the same room with my father all those years.” And: “At the end of the summer, which I had already started referring to as The Summer of Love, I drove my gold ’71 Chevy Nova away from home for the first time. I had bought the car that I called “Old Gold” complete with a stop sign used in place of its rusted-out floorboard, for a hundred bucks from my hot, blonde cousin Jennifer, who years later would die on the plane that hit the Pentagon September 11, 2001. She was a flight attendant. Sent a postcard from Dulles Airport that morning that read “Ain’t Life Grand?” in big letters on the front.” Weren’t expecting that, were you? And some things just made me smile. “Reviews don’t really mean anything if you look at the history of rock journalism. They usually can’t tell what will stand the test of time when they review something brand new on a tight deadline, but I’m going to let myself feel good about this. (Book reviewers: this doesn’t mean you, of course. I have nothing but the utmost respect for what you do. How do you like the book so far?)” But what stands out in this book, this story, this life is Everett’s honesty about some of the most difficult, gut wrenching and sometimes embarrassing parts of his life. “Pretty soon after that, (after his sister Liz attempts suicide) Liz and my mom went out of town to visit relatives and I found my father’s dead body lying there sideways on my parents’ bed, fully dressed in his usual shirt and tie, with his feet almost on the floor, like he just sat down to die at fifty-one. I tried to learn CPR from the 911 operator on the phone, carrying my father’s already-stiff body across the bedroom floor. It was weird touching him. That was the first time we had any physical contact that I could remember, other than the occasional cigarette burn on my arm while squeezing by him in the hallway.” That paragraph, by the way? On page 2. Everett’s way of expressing himself is just so clear and so blunt that his words really hit home. “Bob Dylan said that, when he was young, he had a secret sense of his destiny. I wish I had something like that, but I didn’t. At all. All I had was an aching sense of desperation and an acute cluelessness – a nasty combination.” And even after Everett’s career proves to be a pretty solid success, “I still have occasional bouts of desperation where I feel like there’s no hope. And I hate going to a new doctor or dentist. Not for the usual reasons, though. It’s the part where you fill out the personal information, when I get to, IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, CONTACT: I don’t know what to put there, and it makes me really sad and embarrassed. It’s the loneliest feeling, having no family. Holidays really suck and I usually try to pretend they’re not happening. On the bright side, Christmas shopping is a cinch.” Mark Oliver Everett’s memoir is touching, funny, incredibly sad, and self deprecating. (“So what kind of an ego do you have to have to write a book about your life and expect anyone to care? A huge one!”) I enjoyed this book immensely. Not only is the book an excellent read, his song lyrics, even absent of the music behind them, were at turns deeply disturbing and deeply moving. They stand alone as poetry. Lovely, sad, and above all, honest. Because Everett’s main focus is his music, and because this book covers most of his life, the odds that I get to read anything else by him are slim, but if he chooses to write more, I’m in, I’m all in.

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