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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
By 
messiahontrial (Amazonian jungle, West Yorkshire.) - See all my reviews
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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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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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
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 Hope Not Hate, 28 July 2010
By 
J. Emery "jimmyshoes01" (Earlsfield, London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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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 Not just the grandkids that should know this..., 10 Dec 2009
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Being a big fan of Mr E and all things Eels related have actually had this book a while now but re-read it the other night and felt compelled to submit my humble opinion. In truth other reviews here probably sum it up better than I can but to reiterate this is definitely NOT your typical "rock-star" "poor me" style autobiography, and it is part of E's considerable charm that he himself would probably cringe to think of himself in such a way. If you are already an Eels fan then this is VITAL as it gives a superb insight into the man, his (extraordinary) life and the inspiration behind the music-if you are not a fan then as others have said before me you will still find this a fascinating read. The content is already discussed in other reviews, the unconventional upbringing, deaths of close family and friends, and generally "so weird you just couldn't make it up" events in this amazing man's life-but it is far from a depressing read-indeed it is uplifting simply because E writes in a factual style and doesn't at any time ask the reader to feel sorry for him-if you want self-pity then look elsewhere. If you are prone to the odd "downer" (and let's be honest who isn't during these "rock hard times")I think you will emerge at the end of this book feeling that you have a kindred spirit out there-someone who really has been there and worn the t-shirt and just keeps getting back up for more.
A recent article by the great man himself attests to his slightly pessimistic (though understandable) view that he has to get as much music out there as possible as the family track record suggests he might not be here much longer to share his magic.
Like every other Eels fan I hope that Mr Everett's fears are unfounded-in case I didn't make it clear this is a magnificent book and I strongly recommend you buy it whether you are a dedicated fan, a casual observer or have never even heard of the man-if it introduces you to his music then your money will be well spent.
Oh and any guy who does a Christmas song and introduces the middle solo with "Baby Jesus-born to rock" is worth treasuring in my book....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Madness, music and crazy girls, 16 Jan 2009
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
A musician like Mark Oliver Everett -- aka "E" of the Eels -- could only be expected to write a rock biography like no other. And "Things the Grandchildren Should Know" lives up to that challenge by being part musical journey, part contemplation of crazy love, and partly a bittersweet life story full of losses.

Everett's family was the typical nuclear family of the times, but with an undercurrent of tragedy -- his withdrawn father died early, his mother didn't truly involve herself in raising her kids, and his sister got a head start on her downward spiral.

Everett himself got into trouble, acquired a rotten reputation and dated some incredibly weird girls ("my sister Liz came back from an AA meeting one day and told me that my first girlfriend was now a suicidal, alcoholic lesbian"), even as making music in his closet became the private passion of his life. When he could think of no other way of getting somewhere else, he chose to turn his music into a career.

Unsurprisingly, he struggled during the days of hair-metal. But as more raw, real music became big, Everett's unique brand of rock began to force its way into alt-stardom. But this couldn't bring him love -- and it couldn't save his sister from her copious inner demons, or his mother from lung cancer.

Reading "Things the Grandchildren Should Know" is not much like reading a straight biography.It's more like having a long, rambling, multifaceted conversation with Everett in a coffee shop, where he attempts to tell you his life story, but sometimes he keeps getting sidetracked by his tales of crazy girlfriends and meditations on life in general.

And he comes across well here -- a guy who has known plenty of tragedy, but still has his wry sense of humour intact. There's little bitterness towards his "crazy girls" or his immature mother, and he's even willing to talk about his now-embarrassing adolescence (complete with humiliating incidents like the "bloody sweatshirt" incident).

But while the first half of the book is a bit fragmented, the second half snaps together into a quiet, meditative cruise through Everett's life. An artist's struggles to keep his work from being put into car commercials is smoothly wound together with his personal struggles, including the tragic loss of his sister and mother -- and how he immortalized them in his work.

Fortunately Everett never becomes maudlin or depressing. He has plenty of witty stories that speckle the text, whether it's the controversy over his "obscene" songs or a story about his mother's really, really old boyfriend ("The Wright brothers? Oh yeah! I used to know Orville"). Not to mention his hilarious kooky ex-wife, who first greeted him with the words, "You are not beautiful!"

"Things the Grandchildren Should Know" seamlessly mingles Mark Oliver Everett's life story with his musings on life (and crazy women), his witty prose, and his artistic journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literary Music, 30 Nov 2008
By 
Mr. J. Rainbow "jazzlover" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is written as if it were lyrics to a song. Every word is perfect. One chapter epitomises this:

"I'm sitting in a salad factory somewhere in Germany and a pretty Russian woman just turned to me and said, "you are not beautiful""

That is a chapter!
Great read, get it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply ther best, 19 Sep 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, 6 April 2008
By 
This is a great book for Eels fans and particularly anyone interested in E. At times sad and darkly humourous; the most interesting chapters are when he deals with the personal tragedies that have beset his life and in the stories behind the albums he has created.
E is a maverick and his music so incredibly original that this book may have wider scope. The only negative would be the tendancy for self indulgence, but hey- he is a rock star after all!
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Things the Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett (CD-ROM - 7 Nov 2008)
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