Finally, here is a book that embodies the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, told by the person who knew Jimi more intimately than anyone during his rise to stardom.
If you are unsure about whose version of events you can believe regarding the life of Jimi Hendrix, Ms. Etchingham removes all doubt in the span of about 200 pages. At the very least, she clarifies Jimi's lifestyle during his time in London astonishingly well. Of course, the added bonus in this book is its readability; I dare you to put this book down for more than five minutes once you have read about Ms. Etchingham's childhood. In the space of about two hours, not counting a brief dinner break, I read this book from front to back.
"Through Gypsy Eyes" serves several purposes. This book is almost like a postscript to Tony Brown's indispensable book, "Hendrix: The Final Days." But only the last few chapters deal with Jimi's death and the events that have occurred since 1970. Much of Ms. Etchingham's book deals with her time with Jimi, though she sets the stage using her own childhood as the hook that makes you want to keep reading. You can't stop reading because you're just praying that Kathy's life turned out all right, when all along you know that it must have turned out well if she wound up with Jimi.
"Through Gypsy Eyes" is extremely engaging and easy to read. I got engrossed in this book from the first few sentences, and the intangible storytelling skill kept me glued to every page. Reading about Jimi and Kathy's evening at Eric Clapton's house cracked me up, as did every mention of Paul McCartney or John Lennon or Keith Moon. Kathy has this knack for dropping names without "dropping names;" she just happened to know all of these people who we all dream about meeting whenever we listen to their albums.
Several mysteries get solved in "Through Gypsy Eyes." Several people appear more important that I ever realized, while others appear more insane that I dreamt possible. Some people are specifically singled out and dismissed so effectively that I had to laugh out loud, particularly because I know the circumstances behind the stories. One person in particular (Dolores Cullen) suddenly became the villain in this weird, rich tapestry of lies and evil that went on behind Kathy's back for too long.
If you have ever listened to "Hey Joe" and wondered what it was like in the studio when Jimi recorded his first hit single, you need to buy this book. If you ever wondered what Jimi was like before the industry beat him down, you need to read this book. If you are a Hendrix fan, and you don't own this book, you must remedy the situation immediately.