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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2004
I found this book to be very well written and a book that I couldn't put down easily. Being a long term Bob Geldof fan I was expecting the book to be more against him than it was, and yes in the start it was. The book does show you though how you can be influenced by what you are told and that you do not always know the whole story. I found it to be very well written and not just a re hash of the tabloid story, there is new information contained within its pages that will in some cases surprise but mostly clarify the whole story. Everything that Gerry and the other friends around her did they did (in relation to the drugs) to try and help them seek help because as they found the drugs were in the reach of the children and it was their safety that was paramount to them. I also think that it was not wrong to include the press in all of this as in the past Paula had herself use the press to get what she wanted in her life, namely Michael. She had used the press when it suited her and in turn they would be interested when something happened in her life. It also made it clear to me why I had found it difficult to read Paula's autobiograhy (I gave up after a couple of chapters)as she left a large amount of information out of it. A modern day tragedy but a story that had to be told. There are still a few unanswered questions but they will never be answered fully. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the lives of any of the subjects.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2012
This biography was written by Gerry Agar, one of Yates friends and part-time PR. Agar has first hand knowledge of people and events, although she cannot be described as permanent member of an "inner circle". Her tale unfolds from a casual meeting with Yates collecting kids from school and rekindling an old acquaintance.

Paula is described as "very intelligent", but unstable and unreliable. Considering how she dumped people when they were of no further use to her, this description seems pretty accurate. Yates had a borderline personality, kept under control during the marriage with domineering (but dependable) Geldof. However, after 20 years together Yates was having enough of "Saint" Bob.

I could sympathise with her about that, as I guess it must be difficult to live with somebody who reached semi-god status. Unfortunately, her reaction to marital trouble was very predictable. Yates started an affair, which grew into an obsession. Hutchence had some psychological flaws of his own and the result was two people getting the worst out of each other.

From sordid clandestinity the affair developed into tabloid fodder, also thanks to Yates. She pushed the story into the open, possibly trying to infuse some "reality" into an episode that was better left short and secret.

Chapter after chapter we follow a storm of court battles, fights for money and child custody, substance-abuse escalation, delusion and paranoia, etc... Yates wanted too much and everything to suit her needs. Nobody could contradict her or she threatened suicide. Hutchence, sarcastically described as her "part-time" boyfriend, went down first, crushed by the pressure coupled with his fragile personality.

At the time of his death Yates was not working, her lavish lifestyle being financed by the men in her life and by her deals with tabloids. Whatever shred of sympathy I might have felt for Yates dissolved after reading of the huge amounts she received for interviews and photos of herself and her children. There is much complaint about gutter press, but it sounds like "celebrities" are more than happy to exploit it when in need...

I am not an INXS nor a Geldof fan. I did not read any tabloids throughout the years of the Bob/Paula/Michael triangle, so I thought I was quite open-minded and unprejudiced. I did not want to "pick a side". However, I found the tale gloomy and I finished the book with relief. Nevertheless, it left a bad aftertaste.

I never found Yates particularly likable and after reading this book I found her even less so. Unfortunately, I did not find "Saint" Bob or "elegantly wasted" Michael much more agreeable. All the parties seemed worried only with getting what they wanted and under no circumstances Geldof could be mistaken for a victim. Eventually he prevailed, in the most bizarre twist of events. But the physical and chronological distance did not dilute the lust, greed, selfishness and delusion that permeate the story.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2014
Was prompted to read this after the recent death of Peaches Geldof. The years in which the writer was close to the family are described in detail and the sadly inexorable slide towards death becomes understandable. The writing style is a bit clunky but overall a useful account of this family story.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2014
I don't understand why other reviews on this page seem to denigrate this book. It is well written, factual and includes many resources to back up its content.

Gerry comes across as a wise woman who herself has had many battles with codependency and various addicts appearing in her life. Her account is based upon personal testimony of things that occurred and also where she did not witness things, she gives good account of those events with fact where possible.

The lives of the Geldofs are like something from a Greek tragedy and you will find your loyalties initially with Paula who comes across as an innocent who is controlled by Bob. Then the pendulum swings and we see the manipulative, controlling,obsessive, fantastical, deluded, selfish, narcissistic, addictive and mean sides of her character. She certainly seemed to be a siren who drew men to the rocks and destroyed them. I could not help wondering what Bob's girlfriend felt about his alleged ongoing love of Paula long after she had rejected him.

This story contains obsession, addiction and dysfunctional people - a dangerous mix. At the centre 4 young girls caught up in the drama and tragedy of the lives of the adults around them. Sadly, it is no wonder that peaches ended up damaged and ultimately echoing her mother's demise, despite Bob's apparent positive input in the intervening years.

Very sad but a compelling book that clearly shows how dangerous people's drives, unmet needs and addictions combine to create a tragic cocktail that affects the lives of others and leaves a lasting legacy of damage.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2014
I gave a five star rating based on what was written, regardless of how the author portrays Paula it leaves you feeling somewhat sorry for the tragic ending. I don't know somewhere along the way the British and ultimate rock chick lost her way. the truth will never be totally known and I feel that regardless of what happened - these girls she left behind without their mother. whatever your personal opinion is - her legacy lives in and now history has repeated it self with the loss of peaches. I hope that Paula, Michael and peaches are now at peace x
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2014
A compelling account of a situation that rapidly spiralled out of control, ending inevitably in tragedy. A mix of sex, drugs, self-deception, lies, arguments about money, infidelity, celebrity, and excess. And plenty of love, not just the love that Bob and Michael had for Paula, but that all had three for the children caught up in this mess. As with Diana, Paula tried to manipulate the press, who had their own agenda and made a desperate situation even worse.
This is a well-written and convincing account, based on first hand experience -- except towards the very end, when Gerry Agar had to walk away (having, alongside the Nanny, tried her very best to help) from the impending predictable outcome. There's a lot to consider here about human nature and, in Paula's case, the impact of a dysfunctional childhood on adult behaviour.
I read it in a day. Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2014
Could not put this book down and had me reading it during the night. This time a "friend" really tells all and she was around to see it all happen and at the eye of the storm. You see the story from Team Paula and also from Team Bob, to whom she crosses over to support. A fascinating read and sad, that history has repeated itself with Peaches. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2015
Paula Yates fascinated me because she did so much stuff that I would have loved to have done such as interviewing well-known rock stars on my bed and clubbing till dawn. Like her I didn't drink and certainly didn't dabble in drugs so I always thought we had a lot in common. She was sassy stylish witty in your face and on The Tube the most cutting edge youff program to had on the dear old BBC. And she appeared on it when she was preggers, not just a bit but almost due to drop........ unheard, of but Paula did it and brilliantly.
Paula was championed by Janet Street-Porter who revolutionised youth television picking it up by the scruff and giving it a damn good shake so it was never quite the same again.
I wanted to like this book and I hoped it would offer insights to the troubled triangle of Paula, Michel and Bob but it really didn't. More a re-hashing of what is in the public domain, the sad downfall of an extremely talented bright bubbly girl ultimately hemmed in by the expectations society placed on her.
Paula Yates was born to a couple who had their own well documented marital difficulties. The person she thought and believed to be her father Jess Yates was a television personality, talented organist, and producer of a well known Sunday night religious program. All this came to an abrupt halt when he was caught out "cavorting" as the Sunday papers had it, with a rather young showgirl. It was made to sound as sleazy as possible and Jess was vilified and made almost unemployable.
Her mother was an actress in horror movies and when that work dried up became a rather successful pulp fiction writer.
Paula was a very bright girl sitting and passing three A levels at fifteen at a crammer. By this age her mother had also dyed Paula's hair the trade-mark blonde, as Paula said later "She felt sorry for me being such a plain mousy little thing."
By fifteen Paula was also out clubbing but was also famously tee-total, resolutely drug free and non-smoking. Others would laugh at her for being so uncool as they put it but Paula maintained she preferred to remain in control at all times.
Early on she met Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats and people were always surprised at her strong attraction to him given her usual taste for pretty well-groomed boys. Whatever she was nick-named the limpet by the others in the band and Paula ended up getting her man when they married in 1976 although Paula arranged everything. There didn't seem to be a lot of romance to be had with Bob, but maybe he kept it behind closed doors, who knows?
People might think Paula got work just because of who she was connected to but the truth was she worked mega hard, went to bed early and got up very early usually around 4/5 in the morning to write and mull ideas. She was responsible for so much innovation, wanting to interview stars on her bed in her early morning slot on The Big Breakfast Show for one. She felt it would show her being intimate and get people to let their guard down, this was pre the days of people arriving with about four minders and handlers to stop them saying anything, probably because of people like Paula who got them to say way too much. Gazing into those big innocent eyes of hers too late they realise they have said too much .
She defined the cutting edge, if Paula was doing it we all wanted to be doing it, she was hip and cool till suddenly it all began to fall to pieces. As ever sex was at the bottom and what sex INXS frontman Michael Hutchence was the one who blew Paula's and Bob's world apart. I think people sometimes forget Bob Geldof suffered greatly in all this as did their daughters.
These situations bring nothing but pain and almost never end well, the flames of passion singe all in its path leaving a trail of destruction.
Michael Hutchence swaggered into view, Paula was smitten and made no bones about it, famously going up to him and saying
"I'm going to have that boy."
Her crush became so intrusive she was asked to leave him alone by his management but Paula totally ignored this and their behaviour became more blatant and the public soon became aware and they didn't approve one bit.
Quite what Paula expected is difficult to know but for whatever reason Bob Geldof was regarded as a saint and Michael had a partner so it is hard to know how things would look good for the couple. Paula and Michael relationship appears to have been rather stormy and based on a deep physical attraction but again only the two people in the relationship can ever truly say and they are no longer here.
In May of 1996 Paula and Bob divorced and I remember a picture from the time of Bob kissing the top of her head and even now it brings tears to my eyes so tender is it.
Paula and Michael had a daughter together but it wasn't to bring them happiness as a year later in November 1997 Michael was found dead in a hotel room Sidney. Again the coroner ruled suicide but Paula was unable to accept this verdict saying he would have never left her all alone. I remember the pictures from this time of a tear-streaked girl clearly in the throes of a mental collapse. But who wouldn't break down under such circumstances as she had been sued for and lost custody of her daughters and was also fighting for custody of her daughter by Michael.
She lost this daughter to Bob as well.
Paula sought psychiatric help but during this time there was yet another bombshell to dropped from a great height, the person she thought was her father turned out not to be. Such a revelation could unsettle anybody but it turned to be yet another famous gameshow host.
Paula was shocked but when she tackled her mother she was completely dismissive, along the lines of well he was just there.
Again all those involved are no longer here so we can't ask them but it is a bit of a facer when you grow up assuming one man is your father as well as your parent only to find you were wrong and you wonder did he know. Or was the wool pulled over his eyes? But they are not here so we can't ask.
You could also argue Paula was mauled and victimised by the press who turned her into a hate figure not deserving of any pity or consideration. People she thought were friends sold stories about her, stories about deeply personal events, and she felt she was left bereft and almost friendless.
Paula died alone of what was ruled to be an accidental over-dose after not touching drugs for two years, the ruling the result of incautious foolish behaviour. One has to wonder what drove Paula to such behaviour after two years but only the person who took the drugs would really know the answer to that and she can't tell us. Possibly the date is significant being the date of Pixie's birthday but it might just be coincidence.
This could have been a much better book but I lost patience with it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2010
Is this book worth reading? Yes, I found it very entertaining and enjoyable but from about two chapters in I accepted that I was probably reading a complete work of fiction. I could enjoy it on that level but I guess it is not as easy for the families of the people who are left behind to view Agar's writing that dispassionately.

Agar comes across as being exitable, sometimes hysterical and this book definitely comes across as being a money grubbing attempt to profit from two tragic deaths.

In all, I would say that if you can accept this is mainly fiction it' a good read. But get it out of the library and don't line Agar's grubby pockets.

I was quite a fan of Paula's, especially for her looks and style, also for her writing. I know Bob Geldof is very private but I do wonder if maybe it's time for one of her friends or someone who knew her well to write a biography to rebut all the lies that have been told about her since she died. The tenth anniversary of her death is coming up and I hope someone will.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2014
could not put it down, stayed up many a night into the wee small hours gripped by the "what will happen next". good to hear the record put straight about many things that you read in the press and also wondered if it was true.
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