There are almost two books here. The first is McGowan's early life in rural Ireland, where a milkman actually comes to the house to take away the milkThere are almost two books here. The first is McGowan's early life in rural Ireland, where a milkman actually comes to the house to take away the milk (buying the excess), half-mad aunts spout fire and brimstone and uncles give whiskey to pre-schoolers.
The second begins when the Pogues begin, and it's everything you expect: punk, sex, drinking, bloody noses. It's a whole lot of fun, but I honestly missed the early parts of the book, with the bizarre (or possibly typical) Irish folks. Perhaps because I know less about that scene?
McGowan's bio is told in a series of interviews with wife Victoria Clarke, and though she claims to be the writer in the relationship, McGowan is the real storyteller.
Clarke's editorial interludes are not only annoying, they're overwrought and awful, often having to with the wind and loquaciousness. Clarke often opens a chapter by setting up the scene (in the kitchen, at dinner, etc.), then drops one of her insane adverb constructions.
Examples. Italics mine:
p.1: "A rugged Irish cottage. A fierce and loquacious wind tears, mercilessly, mirthlessly at the simple thatched roof."
p. 3: "Shanes snorts acrimoniously and takes a swig acerbically."
p. 25: "The fierce and loquacious wind whistles horrifically in the chimney..."
p. 39 "A fierce and loquacious barman mops the gleaming mahogany bar with an immaculate dishrag determinedly.
p. 55: "Victoria frowns, bemusedly."
And on and on. Just let the man tell his story! Three stars for what might be a four-star autobio. without the interference....more
Today, most celebrity biographies are ghostwritten --and it shows. They could almost be written using a Mad Libs sheet, just filling in the relevant dToday, most celebrity biographies are ghostwritten --and it shows. They could almost be written using a Mad Libs sheet, just filling in the relevant details for the star in question.
Dolly wrote this book herself, and her singular voice just shines. Anyone who has heard her on a talk show (or listened to her music) won't be surprised to learn that she's a fine storyteller.
She says that God, sex and music are the three big things in her life (though after reading the book, I'd wager that food is a close fourth), and she has plenty to say about them all. It's worth noting that she never mentions religion in a way that is anything other than inclusive and non-judgmental of all people.
If she ever quit music, her second career could be as a comedienne. I'll remember a lot of these lines for the rest of my life. For example, when Kermit performed on her TV show, a crew member joked that it was amazing he could sing like that with a guy's hand up his ass. Dolly topped him by retorting (I paraphrase): "So what? I did the same thing for seven years on the Porter Wagoner show."
Dolly dances around her relationship with Wagoner, but a lot of truth comes out in lines like the above.
A question and answer section comes at the end of the book, with Dolly addressing common fan queries about things like rumored lesbianism, her husband Carl Dean and her weight. She trashes the idea of weight gain being related to deep-rooted psychological issues. ("I didn't get fat because my Mama slapped me when I was five. I gained weight because I'm a damn hog.")
If you already love her, you'll love her more, and if you don't, you will by the time she talks about sharing a bed with siblings who peed in the night.