Neil Young – Special Deluxe: A Memoir Of Life And Cars
Sharp-eyed KMA Readers will recall that I tried to read Neil’s last book, Waging Heavy Peace, and gave up long before the end was even in sight. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I am a fan of some of his music, so it ought to have at least held my interest long enough to finish the damn thing and not been so frustrating and dull. Nope.
Well, as if that book wasn’t bad enough, here’s another one. Purportedly, this one’s about his love of cars, dogs, and, oh yeah, reminiscences along the way. Well, just like the last book, I started out with the best of intentions of reading the whole thing… but this time I was less forgiving. I very quickly found myself skipping sections, then a chapter, then larger chunks until I ultimately realized it hardly mattered. That was when I set the book down. So Neil likes cars, and dogs (at least it lives up to its dust jacket promises), he had great people fixing unreliable cars for him, and he once found himself in a circle jerk. Pretty heady stuff.
Neil’s Dad was a famous writer, of course. By virtue of this, and of his family being friends with lots of other writers, Neil says (in the introduction) that he figures that this means he ought to be able to do it too. No, Neil, that’s not how that works. My Dad studied advanced chemistry and calculus and was a teacher for over 40 years. Several of our family friends were also teachers that long. That doesn’t mean, because I grew up around them, that I know how to do what they do. Get real.
Forget these rambling, bloated ‘memoirs.’ Neil’s talent, as should be obvious, is in writing songs. And even then, depending on the tune (or even entire album), they are by turns compelling, classic, overwrought, weird, indifferent, and pure crap. With a discography spanning a career as long as his, all of that is probable, nigh on inevitable. But these books, I swear.
I’m really happy for those who think these things are great, that these pages hold deep insights into their hero. Personally, I wouldn’t get quite so excited about any it. And therein lies my real frustration with these books – he’s had such a fascinating life, and these things don’t come close to telling the story like they ought to and it’s sad. There, I said it. Good on him for trying, for using his own words and framing how he chooses, and for doing something instead of nothing. I just don’t think I’m his target audience.
That said, if he keeps this up because he figures he’s on some kind of roll, his next book ought to be about how he loves guitars (duh) and bewbs. I would read that one. Get on it, Neil, it’s time to sew up this trilogy in the making. Les Pauls and bewbs. Go!
I’m so glad I signed this book out of the library instead of actually buying it.