Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cluster Critiques

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen has written the lyrics of his life, and ours, which is what makes his autobiography, nine years in the making, universally appealing.

Springsteen was born into a “barely getting by” family in a depressing and depressed industrial area of New Jersey. His father suffered from mental illness and seldom worked or did much of anything other than drink and brood, while his mother worked night and day to keep the family housed and fed.

Springsteen’s life-defining moment came after seeing Elvis Presley on Ed Sullivan, which Springsteen artfully (and typically) describes as “a moment of light blinding as a universe birthing a billion new suns, there was hope, sex, rhythm, excitement, possibility, a new way of seeing, of feeling, of thinking, of looking at your body, of combing your hair, of wearing your clothes, of moving and of living.” The next day Bruce scraped together $69 to buy a guitar and turned inward – practicing and practicing and clawing and scratching his way through a very long hard time, hitchhiking and stealing food and living on nothing but a dream, before finally, slowing, inch-by-inch, year-by-year, accumulating and achieving fame.

Born to Run is a lot about the early Bruce Springsteen, and very little about the famous Bruce Springsteen, other than a surprise reveal that he has suffered and been treated for major depression over the last 10 years. And there’s a lot naval-gazing about rock and roll and writing music, but it’s served up poetically and unpretentiously, and that is what makes Born to Run worth our time. 

The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton

Damn you Steve Hamilton!! I needed a gritty crime novel, and although The Second Life of Nick Mason included lots of grit and crime, it left me feeling more frustrated than satisfied.

Nick Mason is a petty criminal who ends up in prison, and whose only redeeming characteristic is that he didn’t rat on his partners in crime. And there’s this Chicago crime boss, Darius, who is also imprisoned who decides Mason is just the man to do some dirty jobs for him outside of prison, so Darius magically (from prison) gets Nick’s conviction overturned. Using Mason’s estranged wife and daughter as virtual hostages, the crime boss sets Mason up in a fabulous high-rise on the “Gold Coast” area of Chicago, complete with an expensive wardrobe, a conspicuous, supped-up car, and a trifecta of beautiful but vacuous women, then assigns Mason to kill the crime bosses enemies – a plot line full of eye-rolling implausibility that I might have forgiven if not for the fact that there’s not a single likable character in the entire book.

For gaud’s sake Hamilton, next book, please create at least one likable character, and if it’s not too much trouble, a plausible plot!

Settle for More by Megyn Kelly

I probably wouldn't have chosen to read a book written by a Fox News reporter, which underscores the very reason I should, and did, and am glad. Without a doubt, Megyn Kelly, who is no longer with Fox News now, but is with NBC, is loudly banging her own drum in Settle for More – perfect upbringing, exceptional student, objective journalist, loving mom, etc., but underneath it all there has to be some truth or she would be outed by her enemy’s - and she does have a lot of enemies, requiring bodyguards 24-7 to protect her from death threats – mostly though (from what I’ve been able to find) resulting from her criticism of Trump.

Kelly tells her life story so far – beginning in the prologue with a tantalizing teaser speculating as to whether or not someone tried to poison her right before the Republican debate she was to moderate? Was it a Trump supporter trying to prevent her from inevitably confronting Trump about his very public misogynistic comments – which she did, creating a storm, or was Kelly just using the story to up her mystique, ratings and pay? Who knows?

The take on this book by my book club members ranged from “mostly boring but pretty well-written” to “she’s a opportunistic slut and I hate her.” Me? I thought it was pretty good, but it did make me wonder if I’d really read about Megyn Kelly or if I read about the person Megyn Kelly wants us to believe she is.

No comments:

Post a Comment