This book essentially takes the form of an extended interview with Tim Burton. We are talked through most of Burton's life, beginning with childhood and teenagehood, followed by his time at CalArts and as an animator for Disney, and finally we are talked through his professional filmmaking career. Throughout, elements of Burton's personal/private life as well as his thoughts, preoccupations and emotional feelings are woven into the narrative of his education, training and career. If we imagine that somebody had decided to write a biography of Burton and interviewed him about his life, but then decided to go no further with the project and to simply release the interview transcripts; that is how I would describe this book. It is something like a potted biography; it lacks the completeness we may be used to, but it makes up for that with a certain unfinished, raw quality that permits one to believe that what one is reading is quite authentic.
This book, I feel, is interesting on two levels. For the Tim Burton fan, it tells the man's story in his own words and is interesting for that reason. But it is also of interest to anybody who would like to read the firsthand account of a prominent director's (arguably unorthodox) route into the film industry and subsequent experiences in the industry (reading of how a precocious beginner managed to convince the mighty Vincent Price to provide a voiceover for a short film project was, in itself, worth the price to me). I would heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in Tim Burton or film directors in general. However I feel that if one wanted more from this book, one could end up disappointed. It doesn't talk about how to become the next Tim Burton, how to get a feature film off the ground, or anything like that. And the book especially does not contain a great number of pictures. It is one almost exclusively for reading.
In terms of the book itself, I feel it ought to be noted that neither the quality of the paper stock nor the print quality are the finest. The paper feels quite coarse and the text can, at times, be blurry. By no means is this to an extent which would impair one's ability to read the book. And as this book is contains so few images, the 'experience' of the book is not diminished. In fact, the 'raw' quality of the text which I mentioned earlier is perhaps even enhanced a little by this rough and ready edition. However, as this aspect was pronounced enough to be noticeable, I felt it was worth mentioning.
For the right person, this book is perfect. It is an enjoyable read and very interesting. If you are searching for one of those lavish, image-rich and text-poor coffee table/'doorstop' books, though, it would be best to continue looking.