Son of a Beach Boy Paperback – Large Print, 22 Jan. 2015
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The actual writing is awful, I actually thought it must be a joke as a 10 year old could have written it. What I learned about Dennis Wilson from this book I could write on a postage stamp it is an absolute joke, the grammar is awful and the sequence of events are completely jumbled it is by far the worst book I have ever purchased and when I say "book" what I actually mean is a poorly photocopied one. Avoid this at all costs!!! Total waste of time.
Top international reviews
What troubled me more was that the book was virtually bereft of any stories about Carl and Brian Wilson. I also wanted to know whether Dennis' parents accepted Scott as a grandson given that he was adopted. The Dennis stories themselves smacked of idolatry more than realism, though that is understandable given the nature of the book. Was it worth $9? I'd say so, if for no other reason than a truly great quote from Christine McVie.
This next one is a doozy regarding Jan and Dean, “When Jan had a terrible motor car accident and was so badly hurt, he never recovered from his physical injuries. It was like a trigger for my dear uncle. He was never the same after it happened. He just flipped and locked himself inside his room.” Jan’s accident was April 1966. In fact, Brian continued to work productively throughout 1966, 1967 and even a lot of 1968. Yes, he didn’t release Smile, but he wrote all of 1967’s Wild Honey and co-wrote most of 1968’s Friends. This isn’t a nitpicking detail, but an important period in American Rock n Roll. To oversimplify what really happened only serves to perpetuate the sort of confusion and misunderstanding around Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys that Scott claims to want to clear up with regard to his Dad.
The author was Dennis’ step-son, and one can’t help but think he spent a lot of quality time with Dennis only for the few years he lived with him before he moved on to other women, making his own babies with them. Scott spends so much time trying to persuade us as to how much time and how absolutely wonderful it was being around Dennis, that you can’t help wondering whom he’d trying to convince the most, the reader or himself? Still, he had enough contact with Dennis in his later years to offer several first-hand accounts of Dennis’ man-child antics. Albeit put over too often with a veneer of silly fun loving rascal behavior, when clearly Dennis was destructive, including a horrible influence on Scott. Scott never seems to grasp that just because Dennis was “fun”, doesn’t make him a good Day in any way shape or form. Scott beats us over the head with his near obsessive devotion to Dennis, so much so, that you’re waiting for the next shoe to drop, where he finally sees the light. However, enlightenment never really comes. Instead Scott is always forgiving Dennis’ sins, yet holding contempt for many others. For example, Scott hates one of Dennis’ later wives for turning him onto harder drugs. Seriously? Like he wasn’t already on that highway to Hell?
I’m not suggesting Scott should hold the person he considered to be his Dad in contempt. However, I was hoping for a few more tidbits of hard earned worldly insights, or more nuanced and adult perspectives on the people around him growing up. Instead, we get one long slathering, unbalanced, love letter to Dennis Wilson, who could do no wrong in Scott’s eyes. I doubt many of Dennis’s wives or other children felt he could do no wrong. Scott is also pretty full of himself, which is surprising considering what an a$$hole he clearly has been much of his life, and also doesn’t seem to have had much true introspection nor deep epiphanies.
Although Scott loves his Dennis’ music, he doesn’t offer much appreciation, nor insight, into his Dad’s music. Not just the Beach Boys, but Dennis’ own compositions and singing. Particularly his work on Sunflower isn’t even mentioned. I was hoping he’d have deconstructed that stuff a lot more, and what a mountain of potential got flushed due to addiction.
Scott does have redemption at the end of the book. Some small insights are revealed, but most important Scott’s direct work, and funding of, the Beach Boys monument in Hawthorn is pretty freakin’ cool. He may not be a musicologist, but he sure respects the Beach Boys legacy, and literally put his money where his mouth is. Pretty darn impressive
All that said, it’s still a fun read for Dennis Wilson fans; almost in a tabloid sort of way. When you mix in what you learn about Dennis Wilson, with the fact that Dennis was a pretty brilliant singer and, at times, songwriter, you can come to your own conclusions about the complicated person Wilson was, and what a waste of talent his addictions caused.
I always knew Dennis was hyper yet lovable, but I was surprised to read that he was VERY destructive with Christine McVie’s property. I am sad that Scott followed Dennis, he must have been very impressed and addictive to the Adrenalin his father caused by having a good time but hey that was Dennis! And,I now understand the love hate relationship that was between the Beach Boys and the burden Carl Wilson must have carried for his two older brothers. RIP Dennis! Scott good book!!