Here’s a random fact about me: I really love to read memoirs, especially of my favorite musicians from the seventies. Some are definitely better than others (like Keith Richards’ memoir, dang that was some good writing). So, I had this book by Elton John pre-ordered and got it the day it was published last week. I’d enjoyed the movie a lot, especially the costumes that were exactly like what he wore in real life, but I was interested to see if his own words differed from the cinematic portrayal.
Luckily I finished the other book I was reading, so I could delve right into this one. And delve I did. At first I didn’t like the writing all that much, but soon enough, I was trying to keep my eyes open every night so I could read more. Yep, he was an interesting guy. He is also an honest guy. No sugar-coating of his less than stellar qualities for him!
I’ve read a couple of books recently where the author remarks that random decisions or meetings changed the course of their lives dramatically and mused about what would have happened if person X hadn’t been in the shopping center on the right day, or whatever. Elton John does this, too, but I liked his conclusion that all his mistakes, lucky coincidences, and random choices made him the happy man he is today, so it’s all fine by him.
I have to second that, myself. Every “mistake” contributes to your growth and wisdom.
Luckily, he came through some of his amazingly weird decisions just fine. The description of how he just casually tried cocaine and then had sixteen years of awful behavior before he stopped seemed very authentic and accurate. I have to give him credit for owning up to everything he did.
I also have to respect him for his kindness toward his first spouse, Renate. He had nothing to say but good things about her, and he honored his commitment to not talk about their lives together, even though I’m sure people are curious. That’s honest and ethical, and I am glad he did it.
John was was nicer about John Reid, his first partner and long-time business associate, than the movie was, which is the only big difference I saw. Well, that and his mother seemed nicer in the movie than she apparently was (and the movie didn’t make her out to be all that great).
Elton John’s honesty and descriptions of his fascinating friends made this book a lot of fun. He humanized people who always seemed like cartoon characters to me (Gianni Versace, most of all), and that has allowed me to see past some of my own biases about celebrities and “larger than life” characters.
Do I recommend it? Why yes, I do! Enjoy his crazy past and be impressed by how he’s coped with his more recent challenges.