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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a life !, 3 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Paperback)
I'm a big Eels' fan and have managed to acquire the majority of his back catalogue (only missing 3 now !).

What can I say ? The man's a musical genius ! So, when I came across 'Things The Grandchildren Should Know' I couldn't wait to get an insight into his life.

Once I'd started it I couldn't put it down and finished it within a couple of days.

If anybody else had had the upbringing and experiences that Mr. Everrett had then they would either be in prison, sectioned or dead.

He's as good with a pen as he is with a plectrum, and my only criticism is that it's too short (although he does hint at a future volume later).

It has helped hugely to put his music 'into context', ("Elizabeth On The Bathroom Floor" being the result of him finding his sister unconscious after one of her many suicide attempts, and " Electro-shock Blues" resulting from her experiences in a mental institution).

If you're an Eels fan and you haven't read it then I would liken you to a Christian who hasn't read 'The Bible'.

Highly recommended.
Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational even if you are not a fan of the music, 2 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Paperback)
Some people arrive at this book via the music, and some the other way round. For me it started with the music and curiosity about who made it - and so I discovered Mark Everett AKA Eels, whose extraordinary life, full of emotional deprivation, tragedy and loss, has been turned into something positive by his creativity and individual outlook on life. He tells his story wonderfully well, showing how the smallest thing can teach us huge things about life, trust and hope. The cat and kittens story becomes something spiritually uplifting. Read this book even if you know nothing of the music.

I owned and loved 2 albums of the music before I read this book, and I am now buying and enjoying the whole back catalogue, enriched by knowing every song reflects E's experiences and feelings - I thought they were just quirky in order to be different. It turns out they are real and E's life has been different.

This book is so good I bought 4 copies along with the Essential eels album for Christmas presents. The gift of inspiration, optimism, survival and hope.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book, 20 Mar. 2008
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I bought this book as my Son is a great Eels fan and introduced me to their music. The book was fascinating and very emotional. An uplifting story that makes you realise that your own life is not quite so bad. I now have a good understanding of what lies behind his lyrics which makes the songs even more enjoyable and meaningful. The other reviewers have said everything else that I would want to say. Read it....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope Not Hate, 28 July 2010
By 
J. Emery "jimmyshoes01" (Earlsfield, London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Paperback)
If this were to be a one-line review it would read: "Finished in one day"
This book is so genuine and so heart-breaking, not to give it my full attention just for one day of my life would seem to do E a disservice. He never shirks from the realism of the bizarre, the despair and the hope that has littered his life. His honesty brings each short chapter jolt after jolt of eye-opening astonishment. It also confirms what I have thought for the best part of 25 years: music can save your life.
No-one would want to endure the losses he suffered, even the pay off of playing the Albert Hall manages to seem like a cheap reward. But it does reward him and this book has rewarded me and will do time and time again. I can see myself turning to those pages when I am up against it in my life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The son of the father of the son..., 6 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Paperback)
Interesting family story by E aka Mark Oliver Everett - leader of the cult band The Eels. He tells the story of his tragic family history and of his rather strange relationship with his family. His father died of a heart attack, his sister by suicide and his mother from cancer. Not to mention his cousin and her husband being killed in 9/11.
Wonder if E will win the lottery, as it seems he has had his share of bad luck?
Mark's father, Hugh, was a brilliant mind who proposed the many worlds (aparallel universes) theory.
It is amazing that Mark retains a sense of humour along with his prference for his own company. Brilliantly told story in a very readable format. Well worth a read. Thank you E! Love your music too!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have to read this book before you die., 21 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Paperback)
I was given this book as a birthday present this year and liked the quirkiness of getting a CD with it. I must admit I was not an eels fan, but after reading this book I am now. If this were a fictional story you would be perfectly entitled to have the opinion that this is OTT and unbelievable, but the fact that it is 100% true is something incredible and unique. We all have interesting lives and I think we should all be encouraged to write down our memoirs for our children and their children and so on.

This book is just wonderful and even if you are or are not an eels fan its worth reading and even if you think its not good its only a short book so there's no real downside to it in anyway...I think anyway!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply ther best, 19 Sept. 2008
By 
Charlie T. (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I agree with the reviewers who say that this is the best rock biography ever written, but it is much more than that. Although E's family was clearly an unusual and pretty dysfunctional one, the story he tells about growing up in suburban America makes great reading even if he had never become a rock star and even if he hadn't had a famous quantum physicist father who invented the idea of parallel universes. It really ought to be made into a movie! Anyone who is interested in what America was like in the 1960s and 1970s will enjoy it even if they have never heard of Eels. It's certainly different from The Wonder Years.
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5 of 6 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 - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Paperback)
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. Even a casual reader unfamiliar with Eels could pick it up and become engrossed in the story. As a fan though I found out so much about his life that I had to go back and listen to the records just to see if I could pick up on what was going on in his life when he recorded it. The finale comes with the release of the "Blinking Lights" double album and the "Eels with Strings" concert at the Royal Albert Hall. All the themes of the book come together as he stands on stage and plays the songs of his life. It's very moving and shows a writing skill far beyond what you would expect of a "rock star". But for all the high level of writing E shows here, his lyrics, his poetry, are the best examples of his gifts.

"So in the end I'd like to say
That I'm a very thankful man
I tried to make the most of my situations
And enjoy what I had
I knew true love and I knew passion
And the difference between the two
And I had some regrets
But if I had to do it all again
Well, it's something I'd like to do"

What a story, what a man. Read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it. Now you read it., 14 May 2013
By 
Jones (England and USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Paperback)
I don't really know what took me so long to get round to reading this because Eels the band and I have been together for a very long time. He writes songs that make you sit up and listen. He writes with such honesty and wit you always want to listen some more. That's exactly how this book is written. A once troubled fellow with a yearning heart telling his story of the unusual journey from East America to West, from strife to where he is today. His battles with the harsh realities of everyday life take you through tragic episodes, comical relief and astonishing situations. Truly astonishing situations.
As you are reading a review you must want to know if it's recommended for you or a gift for someone ?! Well, ..did you see "Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives" and were intrigued? Then you definitely need to read this too. Are you looking for some rock biography? It's better than one I've ever read and I've certainly wasted some valuable time reading more of those than necessary. It is one of the best biographies I've ever read come to think of it. Do you not care much for E's songs but you heard the book is good? I can't imagine just enjoying this and then not wanting to hear more of Eels music than "that Novocaine one".
Amazon delivered it to me in the afternoon and I had read it by bedtime. I'll buy the next book from Mark Everett on the day it is released. Whatever the subject matter! Can't wait. I did, however hear him say on a radio interview recently that he didn't enjoy writing a book so much so I hope he gets over that soon. He also said that at a book signing he had a worrying number of grandmas buying this book, possibly misled by the title. If you are such grandma, his concerns are probably valid but I would definitely recommend it for the dark teenager in your life. It's an outsider's love story written with humour and candour. Who wouldn't want to read that?!
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4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good read, 31 Jan. 2013
By 
col2910 (Bedfordshire,UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Paperback)
Blurb......

How does one young man survive the deaths of his entire family and manage to make something worthwhile of his life? In Things The Grandchildren Should Know Mark Oliver Everett tells the story of what it's like to grow up the insecure son of a genius in a wacky Virginia Ice Storm-like family. Left to run wild with his sister, his father off in some parallel universe of his own invention, Everett's upbringing was 'ridiculous, sometimes tragic and always unsteady'. But somehow he manages to not only survive his crazy upbringing and ensuing tragedies; he makes something of his life, striking out on a journey to find himself by channelling his experiences into his, eventually, critically acclaimed music with the Eels. But it's not an easy path. Told with surprising candour, Things The Grandchildren Should Know is an inspiring and remarkable story, full of hope, humour and wry wisdom.

A speculative charity shop purchase after reading the blurb on the back.

I was/still am unfamiliar with The Eels and there music, even after a scouting mission on You Tube to try and familiarise myself with some of their music.

Nope - just don't recognise any of the tracks.

I think I was drawn to the book, more from a curious rubber-necking perspective. How does someone cope with the loss of their entire family and still find the resolve to get up out of bed each day and carry on?

Everett deserves admiration for his strength of character and total lack of self-pity. Probably for his music too, but I can't comment on that.

Hopefully the next few years will deal him a kinder hand.

4 from 5

As stated above a cheapo purchase from a local charity shop.
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Things The Grandchildren Should Know
Things The Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett (Paperback - 2 July 2009)
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