Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Good start: Needs More Flesh. Then Stir.
on 24 April 2001
I have always wondered why a writer for Entertainment Weekly was given the royal blessing to do this book (I still wonder). Someone with similar talents to the Buckleys, word and otherwise, might have worked harder at transcending the experience that is Jeff, and Tim, life like and playing music, and like all great biography writers, would have "taken you there" with their words, aura, and anecdote. Because their music transcended like few others and that did not happen in this book. Browne got such unusual and dramatic authorization to read Jeff's journals and had access to many, (but not all) of so many close to Jeff, you wonder why it had to be the portions of a persons private diaries that were the saving grace of this book. But then, that's why we love Jeff: the one and only in music and words. After Jeff's mother and Tim's ex-wife Mary Guibert got wind that the book was not well liked, she promised to pen her own, which we all look forward to. Despite this ones short length and uneeded shared bio status, the book was saved by the insight given into the father-son relationship, music and otherwise, which was heart warming, intelligent, and even hilarious, completely Jeff, completely from his journals. Who wouldn't love to read a entire book written by the man himself? I'll be saying and thinking it sucks forever...as I know we all will, especially those who were close to him. But some have critiqued this for being the dual biography of Jeff and his dad, the magnificent & talented Tim, and used even Jeff's own words to defend that view. A reprint diary excerpt was used and seemed out of place in the Sketches posthumus release artwork that said something to that effect. Which is why I believe Browne used primarily Tim-music reference quotes from Jeff, to cement what few realized, that seemingly, Tim was a true music mentor to him. If you couldn't hear it in Jeff's daring, you could read about it here. Their talents were indeed symmetrical. And you could read about forgiveness, understanding and "grace" in the words he wrote about Tim. So...for the effort, the subject(s), and for being brave enough to use the words of the departed with respect, and even daring to write this book for primarily a small group of vigilant fans, I give this book ___ thumbs, ___ stars. I think that once we pass, journals written become the mediator in all things spoken in our past, and give the living insight into the lives of lost loved and admired ones, and anyone who's passed gains that knowledge too. I have a hard time believing Jeff would be angry about the journals. And I hope this book becomes a bare-bones roadmap for further books, twins or not, about Jeff /or/ and Tim, and I hope it uses a million more quotes from Jeff (and Tim), dozens more pictures, hundreds more words from a wider circle of people who knew the two, and infinitely more stylistic interaction from the writer. I got into Tim's music after hearing Jeff. When you hear it you can trace the greatest music of our time that he inspired, and then journey to a music classroom and hear Tim's influences; the African, Indian, Jazz, Opera, Classical and Scat roots that Jeff embraced as well. The sooner people realize how amazing Tim is (not just Jeff), the sooner they start rocking and begin to understand the obsession felt by son and fan. Like all that leave us cursing death, their works should inspire the inspired to be as alive, daring and searching as they were. Bravo, we miss you both forever.