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Things The Grandchildren Should Know [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Mark Oliver Everett , The Chet
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 July 2009

Mark Oliver Everett's upbringing was 'ridiculous, sometimes tragic and always unsteady'. His father - a quantum mechanic who worked for the Pentagon - was a genius who had corresponded with Einstein aged 13. He rarely spoke, and following his own miserable childhood had eccentric ideas of how children should be brought up. Mark - known as 'E' - and his older sister Liz were raised in a house with no rules, with parents who had 'a kind of seventies swinging marriage'.

Lacking any real sense of authority, E had to raise himself, not always with the greatest success. His love of music helped pull him through, and by his early 20s he was on the brink of stardom with his first album - Beautiful Freak. But then tragedy struck - having already lost his father to a heart attack, his sister and mother both died in short succession - Liz from an overdose, and his mother from cancer. It was the kind of brutal loss that could destroy someone, but somehow E survived, and channelled his experiences into his music. In THINGS THE GRANDCHILDREN SHOULD KNOW he tells his story - one that is surprisingly full of hope, humour and wry wisdom.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; Unabridged edition (2 July 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1405505915
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405505918
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 13.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Everett is the Kurt Vonnegut of the rock world."--"Rolling Stone""One of the best books ever written by a contemporary artist."--Pete Townshend "It is, like the music of Eels, intellectual, wry and unflinching as it conveys complex emotions with simple, graceful language."--"Los Angeles Times ""Everett captures the drama of a suburban Virginia family bedeviled by illness, early death, and madness, and illustrates how such adversities shaped his striking music gifts--and now this pitch-perfect memoir."--"Elle " --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The extraordinary true life story of songwriter Mark Oliver Everett, lead singer of the band Eels.

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great even without the music 17 Sep 2008
A Kid's Review
I don't agree with reviewers who say you need to be an Eels fan to enjoy this book. I barely knew Eels at all, and I came to the book because of my interest in quantum physics and Mark Everett's father (see, for example, In Search of Schrodinger's Cat). I found it to be a terrific read full of insights about growing up in America. And THEN I bought a couple of Eels albums, which are also great.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goddamn right it's a beautiful life 27 Oct 2009
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
I'm not a big fan of Eels but I remember loving "Novocaine for the Soul" when I heard it in '97 and I've occasionally dipped into their music every now and then. I recently got into "Hombre Lobo" and decided to give this book a go. Wow. Now I have to go and listen to every album they've done.

Mark Everett or "E" writes about his life in a candid memoir. His father was a brilliant physicist who created the theory of parallel universes but was a very distant man emotionally. E's mother was also quite distant but his sister Liz was the center of his universe. Liz was in and out of mental hospitals for most of her life and became heavily involved with drugs. One morning E found his father dead in his bed. A few years later his sister took her life. Shortly after his mother contracted inoperable lung cancer and died in front of him. He lost friends, a roadie called Spider, to heroin, and the brilliant Elliott Smith, who took his own life after frequent troubles with drugs. He also lost a cousin on 9/11 - she was a stewardess on the plane that hit the pentagon.

After so much death and misery it's a miracle E didn't take his own life. He writes that he was lucky, that he had music to save him. And what music! The text is scattered with lyrics which he explains as part of his life story. From being a young boy with a toy drum kit bashing away in a closet, to becoming an international rock star (a label he never gives himself by the way - the closest he gets is saying he's lucky to do what he does), E's story is remarkable for the overcoming of such hardships, of losing your entire immediate family in a matter of years and to find yourself alone, to then turn that into a series of heartbreaking albums is amazing.

It's written so well too.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible 25 Jan 2008
Probably the most beautiful story I have ever read. As an Eels fan I've been fascinated by E for a long time, and his intriguing lyrics have left me with a lot of unanswered questions. This book answers them all. None of his lyrics are a mystery any longer and you can relate them to his own life experiences, which only serves to help you relate them to your own.

It's a miracle that this man remains so upbeat despite so much personal tragedy, and in fact is stronger because of it. It's a long time since I've read a book so quickly, with so much concentration. I've read autobiographies by many of my favourite music/comedy artists, but none of them come close to touching this. I consider myself unfortunate that I am not a close personal friend of Mark Oliver Everett.

I was not previously aware of the controversy surrounding "Daisies of the Galaxy" but I am so glad I know about it now! Pure insanity and makes for great stories.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
It's a story of one man, who doesn't quite fit in. He doesn't fit in because of his take on life which has been aided by his family's strange place in their community.
This is an honest account of growing up feeling different, having natural talents which don't really materialise until he's in his late teens. When he does realise that music is a road by which he wishes to travel, he struggles with balancing his creativity with the fact that death seems to be around the corner.
Clearly sensitive, Mark E writes with a flawless passion where he tries to clearly assess quite horrific incidents through a natural distance - and this throws up his emotional and intellectual dilemma.
He is an outsider who writes some quite amazing music. In the context of his music it's great to have this personal account of his life rather than read interviews or record reviews. It brings even more to his records.
Good autobiographies bring images into your minds eye about the writer - this is a very evocative account of "E's" life and well done to him for writing it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By katy20
I recently went to an Eels gig at the 02 in Leeds. I had heard a bit of their music before, but wasn't a major fan. The gig was awesome. Then i started listening to all E's music...each and every song beautiful. Such an honest musician and an honest and inspiring man. My brother gave me this book after I started getting into the band. Took me about 2 days to read. No one would be able to put this book down. I found his writing style so refreshing and genuine and it's the most inspiring thing I've ever read. Me and my bf recently broke up and I've been going through some tough home life - what I'd consider a difficult patch in my life. After reading this though it put everything in perspective - you know what I have a lot to be happy about. E has been through so much tragedy in his life, but he has turned this into something positive - his beautiful music and this beautiful piece of writing. I can not recommend this enough, particularly if you're going through some tough times atm. After reading this you'll feel that bit more positive and think you know what if he can make something of his life with everything he's been through, why on earth can't I!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular
Couldn't stop reading this. Sad, funny and crazy all at the same time. I enjoyed hearing the stories behind every album and it really explained a lot about the kind of artist E is. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Alison Coddington
5.0 out of 5 stars If you aren't an Eels fan prior to reading this, you may well be after
I have always been an Eels fan; his lyrics have always resonated with me; I lost may father when I was 9 years old (and in a similar way to E "Plastic Ono Band" did... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Mr. M. R. Putt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An often moving always thoughtful tale well told
Published 20 days ago by Mr Christopher Milne
5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating Insight
I have to admit to not being an avid reader but this auto bigraphy wss facinating. I read it through in 2 days. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rory Hennessy
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all E fans! x
I received the book well in time and packaged well also. Thank you for the excellent service. Mr Everett bared his soul and it requires another read. A must read for all E fans!
Published 1 month ago by Iris Fernando
5.0 out of 5 stars Hate autobiographies normally; LOVED this!
I've only ever read one other autobiography - one of Barack Obama's! I shy away from them on the basis that I expect they'll reflect an overblown sense of self-worth and celebrity... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr Roger J L Varley
5.0 out of 5 stars And you think you've had it tough?
Been a fan of the Eels music for years and I've got all of the albums. I always wondered where E got his inspiration and ideas from. Now I know... he's lived it all. Read more
Published 5 months ago by heedfuzz
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for fans
Very funny guy, and a very moving book, a must for Eels fans! he's so underrated in the music world...
Published 6 months ago by marvaop
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, like no other biography.
Very good read, even if you have no idea who he is or the EELS' music. I've read it 3 times over the years and have bought about 5 copies as presents for friends.
Published 6 months ago by Peter SInger
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!
What an amazing life and performer. Couldn`t leave the book down once I had started it. Am an even bigger fan now than I was before.
Published 8 months ago by Helen Minihane
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