Things the Grandchildren Should Know

Posted on: 15 December, 08

Things the Grandchildren Should Know

by Mark Oliver Everett


Inexplicably, I am drawn to books about dysfunctional families.  Perhaps it is because my own family took the “fun” out of “dysfunctional.”  Reading about families that are more messed up than my own can be oddly comforting. 

The Everett family certainly had their share of dysfunctional.  The parents believed in a very “hands off” approach to parenting.  They did not believe in setting rules and boundaries, believing children learn best by natural consequences.  Toss in a little family mental illness, and you have the recipe for a wild childhood. 

The first half of the books was quite entertaining.  Everett has an easy, amusing writing style. It helps to have a childhood more chaotic than a three ring circus.  He was a good storyteller, in the beginning. 

The second half of the book drags on for an eternity.  Everett is a musician.  I had never heard of him, his music, or his band.  I definitely recognized many of the names he so freely dropped.  It is possible I would recognize his music if I heard it.  I am just really lousy with names. 

The retelling of his music career came across as trite.  He sort of fell into music.  No one believed in him.  Moved to Los Angeles with a handful of dollars in his pocket.  Struggled at odd jobs during the day; wrote music at night.  Gets his big break, only to have it fall apart, etc, etc.  It was the same old story and lack the engaging writing style of the first part of the book. 

There were no funny stories of musician days.  There was lots of whining about people not getting his “art.”  The record labels only wanted to produce albums that would sell.  (Silly business people….wanting to make money.)  Everett was annoyed that they didn’t appreciate his vision.  If the public does not understand an artist’s message, it is possible that the artist has not communicated well enough.  In the case of this book, Everett did not communicate his life as an artist very well.


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