Oh my God, Brian Wilson was a tortured soul. And a genius, no doubt about that. I'm old enough to have grown up with a lot of the Beach Boy music and still play some of their oldies in my car from time to time. I knew that it was the family band but I didn't realize that the band was managed by Brian's abusive father.
In both this book and his more updated autobiography, Brian gives a candid and heartbreaking portrayal of his rise to stardom accompanied by problems with obesity, stage fright, alcohol and drugs, and mental illness (hearing voices) which could have been precipitated by taking LSD. It is a very sad story for a guy who gave the world so much pleasure. In addition, he is still grieving the loss of both brothers, band member hottie – bad boy Dennis and shy but talented Carl.
But the worst part (and the saddest part) is the constant feuding with his cousin Mike and consequent lawsuits. If you read any of Brian's books, it's important to read Good Vibrations by Mike Love as well to get a sense of perspective. Often there are three sides to any story – in this case, Brian's story, Mike's story (which is so absolutely opposite) and the objective truth of what actually happened.
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