My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book on Freddie Mercury could have been better and it could have been worse. Frankly, it was only mediocre. Even the cover is mediocre, like the author pulled some first year graphic art student out of class and asked him to draw Freddie looking like one of the Village People.
The book does have some interesting pieces spread throughout the pages, but it’s arranged so oddly, that it gives you a disjointed feeling. You start out eerily with his death, move on to his childhood in Zanzibar, jump to the “Beginning of Queen” chapter, which covers every Queen album ever released — not just the beginning. (Very odd.) Then you have chapters covering his hedonistic years in Munich, his infamous spending sprees, the great Live Aid performance by Queen and how that resurrected the band’s career, oh, and there’s a chapter titled “The Men and Women of Freddie Mercury’s Life,” all about Mercury’s sexual escapades. Really? Is this a smutty magazine or what? There’s a chapter on his collaborations, which really wasn’t necessary to the book, I thought, and of course a chapter on him with AIDs and the rumors that surrounded him for so long. The author interviewed several hangers on, but no band members, I believe, and very few people in general. Frankly, I don’t know how he got 200 pages out of this. I have other books on Freddie Mercury that do the great man more justice. This one just glosses over so many things, while ensuring that we know that Freddie did a lot of coke. Nice. One thing that irritated me toward the end of the book was his covering of the great tribute concert for Freddie after he had passed on. He cites Guns N’ Roses as covering “Queen’s hits ‘Paradise City’ and ‘Knockin on Heavens Door’ to rapturous applause.” SERIOUSLY? You couldn’t even get that right? Those weren’t Queen hits, you freakin’ idiot! Was this a typo or just poor reporting? It’s things like this that annoy the heck out of me about this book. Still, it was a quick, easy read and I might have learned one or two things about Freddie I hadn’t known. Maybe. Whatever the case, not recommended.