I really enjoy most of Buckley's books, but the last two that I read (Florence of Arabia & Supreme Courtship) didn't really do much for me. So whe...moreI really enjoy most of Buckley's books, but the last two that I read (Florence of Arabia & Supreme Courtship) didn't really do much for me. So when I learned of this book, which chronicles the terminal illnesses and deaths of his parents, I wasn't much interested. Oh dear, I thought, an overwrought and maudlin weepy melodrama about two people I couldn't care less about. Pass. But when I found a copy in the local library, I rolled my eyes and with low expectations, I picked it up.
So I was delighted to discover that, no, it's not an overwrought and maudlin weepy melodrama. It's actually warm, funny and tender. Even when he presents some jaw-dropping anecdotes about his sometimes savagely difficult upbringing, he never allows himself a great deal of self-pity. And wow, does he have room for self-pity. His father was a man who expected his son (and the world) to bend to his will. His mother was a world-class pathological liar who was completely indifferent to the misery she almost off-handedly left in her wake. And yet Buckley manages to avoid a total tabloid tell-all aspect to the book.
After reading Boomsday, I marveled at the consummate skill Christopher Buckley exhibited. How on earth did he get such an ability with his surgical wordplay?! In reading his snapshots of banter between his parents and the people who entered their orbits, I really got it. He learned at the knees of people who were masters of the English language. He paid dearly for that knowledge, but he has a great deal to show for it. One example is this book. (less)
I don't know. Maybe I'm not all that interested in tell-all books. Maybe this just wasn't salacious enough for dirty ol' me. But these interviews with...moreI don't know. Maybe I'm not all that interested in tell-all books. Maybe this just wasn't salacious enough for dirty ol' me. But these interviews with groupies young and old just sounded an awful lot like two car salesmen in their 40's reminiscing about the perfect golden football season they lived in high school.
"And then I scored the winning touchdown and the crowd roared and the team screamed our victory to the skies and then Jesus looked down from on high and gave me a big ol' thumbs-up and then my cheerleader ran up to me and we kissed forever. Wanna do Burger King for lunch?"
The older ladies tended to wax philosophic about their blowjob distribution. Okay, whatever. Maybe showing pink to the boys in Zeppelin really was a life-affirming spiritual and emotional experience. But the younger gals just appeared to be burned-out emotional wrecks whose childhoods were so horrific that their only escape was to imagine that Axl Rose or Kid Rock would someday pluck them from the audience and be their penis daddy.
I personally know some would-be musicians who would love these accounts, but because I don't wanna watch them wipe the drool off of their descriptions of the "best parts" of the book, I won't be recommending this book to them.(less)