14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Not what I was expecting., 24 Jun. 2005
Im going to break from the trend here and rate this book 3 stars because I was personally so underwhelmed by something Ive literally waited years for. I remember getting giddy in anticipation when I read Kevin Booth was writing a very personal biography of one of my favourite comedians of all time. Ive been a Hicks fan for a good few years now, devouring everything available to me including the sub-par biog from Cynthia True but Agent of Evolution made me feel hungry for something more.
The book itself is structured well enough with Hicks' life, loves and personal failures shown in an understanding light by both Bertin and Booth. But it just lacks something. Maybe its because anything worthwhile about Hicks' life has been written about by so many people already, not even the perspective of his real friends can add anything to a man we all seem to pretend to know so well.
But we dont, of course, know him. Which is why such biogs are valuable. But aside from the occaisional annecdote or insight into who Bill Hicks was, the book is thin on new information. Between the Just A Ride documentary, the mahr letters and True's book, everything has been covered already.
Were my expectations too high? Maybe.
Kevin Booth, a guy who I had a great deal of respect for (primarily for keeping the Hicks legacy alive via Sacred Cow Productions), seems to become the focus of the latter few chapters. Theres a hurricane of bitterness in Booth's words, towards a number of targets such as Bill's parents, other friends of Hicks & also, what I interpreted as a feeling of underappreciation or overshadowing of Booth's work. He'll always be know as Bill Hicks' best made rather than the producer/musician status that he craves. I dont think Booth is blameworthy for his feelings and you cant knock him for sharing them, but they do detract from the book. At least when I read it.
But I guess the redemption comes because its firstly a book about Hicks. Anything celebrating the man will always be welcomes by me. Even if I felt a bit empty when I finished it. Its worth buying if you consider yourself a Hicks fan and a completionist, but otherwise maybe wait until it comes out in Paperback. Secondly, if you're new to Hicks or want to know more about the man then this is probably the start you've been praying for. But for those that feel them 'know' the story of how Hicks came to be Hicks, I just felt let down.
Its a shame because I found it enjoyable enough, touching at times, but at the risk of sounding like a fat kid at a pizza shop: it just wasnt enough.