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Customer Review

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite, 13 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Autobiography (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
He's the only pop star who my heart still beats a little bit strangely for, so a read of this was inevitable. The wish is that he'd been guided to elaborating the first third, an absorbing impressionistic swipe around his childhood and Manchester full of tantalising anecdotal nuggets, then the Smiths as the great leap free, and that would have done: instead the group is tied up and abandoned in about thirty pages, and then after a little solo life we're into the Court Case, where the writing slumps and it's a bit like peering through the blinds of a Dickensian studio where a gibbering old man fling documents in the air and says, Look, I was right, look, I was right, over and over again. Then it's a final 100 or so pages about audience love on endless tours and that's it. You can see why the court thing obsesses him - having escaped his uniformed comprehensive inferno, suddenly, there he is, back in the schoolmasterish world of British justice, being smacked down by Authority yet again. But it's hard to understand why a wealthy and intelligent man couldn't get decent legal representation and appears to be left floundering with an elusive bunch of half-wits. The big gap is a glimpse of the engine room where the Morrissey/Marr chemistry took fire and blazed down the building: the creative process is hard to describe, but if that's what makes certain lives worth living, then for god's sake, at least have a go. It could really have been worthy of its publishing house; but, as it is, not quite.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Feb 2014 22:39:52 GMT
Adrian Gent says:
My wife says that is the most accurate review of this book she has read, having just finished Morrissey's book with a feeling of disappointment and bemusement.
When I gave the book to her I was urging her to hurry up and finish it as I was eager to read what Moz had to impart too, but I think I'll pass for now.

Posted on 25 Feb 2014 20:56:25 GMT
Farhan Haq says:
Great review Stuart, well written and representative of my feelings upon having recently finished reading it.

Posted on 7 Mar 2014 12:47:10 GMT
AfxTwn says:
I also agree with the others here, your review was a very accurate one and I think sums up what most readers would have thought about the book (apart from the die-hard Smiths fans and Moz-heads who wouldn't hear a bad word said against him).

The books started off great, got weighed down by the court case and finished off with endless page after endless page about how all his new fans love him the world over and just generally runs out of steam and things to say. I found it interesting that he was still obsessed by chart positions and how well his records were doing when in today's music world, this seems rather meaningless and not something you'd expect a man of his age and stature to care about.

Apparently he's got the message about the first third of the book surrounding his childhood being the best part as he's now writing a novel around similar themes.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Mar 2014 10:12:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Mar 2014 10:13:36 GMT
dandybeat says:
Totally agree with the above review. This autobiography is Morrissey at 90, sitting in a bath chair with a tartan rug over his knee, reminiscing - the early days are joyful tales but then he starts to rant, 'he's stuck in one of his loops again' says his carer, and goes off to do the dishes.

Both me and my partner are big Moz fans and were really looking forward to reading this. Two pages into the book I commented how the book didn't seem to have been edited at all, and that impression was amplified by the time I was skipping through the court case details etc. It could have made a cracking 100 page book (if those 100 pages were tightly honed prose about the interesting stuff).

A good (brave?) editor might have tentatively marked parts of the text 'repetitive?', 'a bit more detail on you and Johnny?', 'this phrase would work well in a song but looks a bit, erm, hackneyed in a book?'. Also, did anyone else find that long-winded anecdote about driving on the moors and seeing a naked boy run in front of the car weirdly disquieting and out of place? - more pages given to this than the Morrissey/Marr magic.

He's catty about most people he's worked with, sometimes hilariously, and sometimes he seems just a bit, well, moany and disingenuous. Nonetheless, if it were somehow possible, I'd love to see this book given the Ealing Studios treatment, Alistair Sim playing all the parts from Judge John Weeks to Sandie Shaw to David Johansen. So much promise, maybe the novel mentioned above will deliver more.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Mar 2014 10:22:57 GMT
AfxTwn says:
I think this book sets out in print what most people who have associated with him already know, that Morrissey is a bit of a dick. Don't get me wrong, I love his music too and think he's a fantastic songwriter and in some parts of this book, he's also demonstrated he is a good storyteller but as he's generally not particularly pleasant to be around (which he freely admits in the book), I think this book demonstrates the more annoying aspects of Morrissey as a whole.

He plays the victim card quite a lot and I can understand that given the childhood he had but it seems a lot of the times, he's always the one being persecuted through no fault of his own and it's always the world against Morrissey. Perhaps we should the biographies of the other Smiths in order to get a more balanced idea of what went on at the time and what the band are really like as people. I think with autobiographies in general you have to take a lot of what is said with a pinch of salt, there's always going to be a huge bias in favour of the author and certain incidents are going to be left out or remembered differently. Context is also thrown out of the window a lot of the time.

Perhaps overall we were expecting too much from Morrissey with this book but I agree, it lacked an editor and perhaps due to Morrissey's notorious diva-like behaviour, the publisher was too afraid to do anything to the book for fear of not getting one at all.
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