33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Pete does his best to explain...,
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This review is from: Pete Townshend: Who I Am (Hardcover)
This is the book that we Who/PT fans have longed for. We knew that Pete's account of his life would be very different to how his story has been retold through the decades, but nothing prepares the reader for the blunt, unselfpitying voice emerging here. As a songwriter, Pete has expressed his muddled and sometimes tortured self and we've always accepted his flaws. His honesty transfers uncomfortably to memoir; not in terms of writing quality, but in the sad revelations of infidelity and drug use. I've always respected Pete for never denying his flaws and weaknesses, but I never suspected that the roots lay in a chillingly sad chapter of his childhood - a mad, often cruel grandmother and her frightening male friends - that seems to have blighted his entire life.
There is the unfortunate aspect of why many readers of tabloids will buy this book, specifically Pete's arrest in 2003. He took his punishment and lived out his five-year penance, but still has his disastrous mistake hanging over him. I still feel shock and sadness about this whole saga, but reading Pete's unflinchingly clear account I accept that he meant to do good. His heart ruled his head, in an emotionally crazed mouse-click.
Disappointingly, Pete talks little of the background, the triggers perhaps, behind many songs. Some are mentioned in detail ('Seeker' and 'Pure and Easy', for example), but I've always wondered how 'Naked Eye', 'Slit Skirts', 'Blue Red and Grey' (among many personal favourites) came about.
Of course, life in the Who and the major projects such as 'Tommy', 'Lifehouse' and 'Quadrophenia' are exhaustively covered, as are the turkeys 'White City', 'Iron Man' and 'Psychoderelict'. There are occasional hints as to what may have inspired a song, such as an adolescent fantasy about owning a fleet of beautifully decorated buses. Umm, I wonder...
Karen Townshend emerges as a reluctant heroine, a remarkably resiliant and great-hearted wife. Roger Daltrey started out as a tough, somewhat one-dimensional bruiser, but he has been Pete's most reliable friend. It is really touching to read Pete's feelings for these two amazing, long-suffering backers.
Pete's memoir has been a long time coming, but worth the wait. 'Can You See the Real Me', he had Daltrey wail, and now we have this amazing guy's life finally told in Pete's own voice. An amazing journey, indeed.
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Oct 2012 12:15:46 GMT
Thanks for such an informative review which has encouraged me to buy it.
In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 12:57:09 GMT
Thank you too! I hope you enjoy the book and offer your review. Cheers!
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2012 21:40:15 GMT
Red on Black says:
Ms Felicia Davis-burden - A very fine review well done. I have just downloaded on Kindle and can't wait to devour it!
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2012 21:53:06 GMT
Thanks Rob! I hope you put in a review as well. Cheers!
Posted on 1 Nov 2012 17:16:47 GMT
My wife's getting me this book for my Feast Day present on 11th - I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2012 17:41:35 GMT
I've already read it twice!
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2012 17:49:08 GMT
You're so lucky, Ms Davis-Burden! I still have 10 days to go! :-((
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2012 18:04:48 GMT
You definitely have to set time aside because there's so much to take in, not just the obvious bits. I was sitting almost in shock by the time I got to the end. I was glued for a whole Saturday afternoon!
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Nov 2012 10:31:49 GMT
Sounds brilliant! You must be a huge Who fan, like me! I'll have to arrange a time when my wife is busy with our toddler so I can devour the book! Roll on 11th Nov.!!!! :-)
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Nov 2012 19:29:19 GMT
Damn! You spotted the tell-tale signs.... 36 years of loyal passion! I fell for the aggression and lyricism when I was 10... Or was it the nose and the DMs? Ah well. Really hope you enjoy the book and write a review. Cheers!