Jim's Reviews > Everyone Loves You When You're Dead: Journeys into Fame and Madness

Everyone Loves You When You're Dead by Neil Strauss
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's review
Apr 01, 2012

it was ok
Read in July, 2011

A miscellany of bits from interviews with rock stars mainly from the likes of Bo Diddley and Johnny Cash through Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen and Brian Wilson straight through to The White Stripes and Lady Gaga. Something for everyone. There are snippets from interviews with film stars and comedians (Billy Connolly, always a treat) and even something from Timothy Leary. A real mixed bag. Sometimes illuminating but more often these best-of-bits just confirm what we already knew.

This is a hefty book, 517 pages, and there will be something for just about everyone. It all depends what floats your boat. I think Strauss’ intent is a commendable one:

[I]nstead of looking for the pieces that broke news, I searched for the truth or essence behind each person, story, or experience. Often it came from something I’d previously ignored: an uncomfortable silence, a small misunderstanding, or a scattered thought that had been compressed into a soundbite. Other times it came from something more dramatic, like an emotional confession, a run-in with the police, or a drug-induced psychosis.

but I’m not sure how well he succeeds. They say you shouldn't meet your heroes because you can only ever be disappointed. They don’t say that for no reason. There’s a lot of disappointment to be had here. It’s not Strauss’ fault that most of his interviewees aren’t more erudite. (Where’s Stephen Fry when you need him?) The book was a New York Times bestseller, admittedly. I can see why but its scope was too broad for this particular old man.

You can read my full review on my blog here.
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