Monday, February 22, 2016

Whale Music Book Review

Whale Music Book Review
Sex, drugs and rock and roll. After reading the innocent sounding title, Whale Music, you might be surprised to find that this book has all of those things and more.  In the end, however, it turns out to be an interesting story of betrayal, of breaking away and of redemption.

Penthouse magazine called Whale Music, "The best novel written about rock 'n' roll."

In his award-winning book, Whale Music, Paul Quarrington tells the story of a successful rock star turned recluse, of the path that took him there and of his current reality.

"Naked, rich and fabulously deranged, he subsists on a steady diet of whiskey, pharmaceuticals and jelly doughnuts and occasionally works on his masterpiece, Whale Music."

If the plot line sounds familiar at all, that could be because it is based on a real person. My book club read this book and wondered aloud during our discussion if it was based on someone in real life and, as it turns out and according to Quarrington's own words, it was.

Whale Music was loosely based on the life and times of Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame. Quarrington said that the book came after he thought, "I bet I can construct a set of circumstances where scurrying under the blankies and hiding your head for a year is the most sane and the most rational response to what's going on." Wilson is rumoured to have said that it is the best book that he has read about the Beach Boys. You can hear the author discuss Whale Music on CBC by clicking here.

Being the winner of prestigious literary awards like the Stephen Leacock award and the Governor General's award does not necessarily make a book one that you would recommend though I will admit to eventually being taken in my Quarrington's main character, Des Howell. However, I also spent much of the booking waiting to see what was going to happen. In the end, I did want to know whether Howell survived or even emerged from his destructive lifestyle and what happened to his alien friend.

Would I recommend this book? Well, I am not sure. If you have a keen interest in the lives of the rich and famous, yes I would though remember that this book is fiction. Other caveats are the drugs and alcohol though if sad I did not find them very disturbing to read. Also, you will have to be able to overlook numerous references to sex though I no longer remember if any actually took place in the book. Certainly they were not described in great detail, which makes the sex in this book tame, if you can say that though certainly referenced a lot. If you want an easy-to-read though because of the subject matter not exactly fluffy book that is often times funny, yes and it was funny from the very first lines...

"There is a toe sticking out from underneath a green blanket on my living room sofa..."

You can read more about Whale Music on Amazon by clicking right here.

Happy Reading!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Read more about Paul Quarrington in this CTV article that appeared after he passed away in 2010.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

6 comments:

  1. As you said, I can see how those who are intrigued by the lives of the rich and famous, would enjoy this. Not something I'm keen on, however, I find it difficult to relate to those drawn to a life of drugs etc, and for that reason I would want to try to understand how people with such talent allow their lives to take a turn like this.

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  2. Interesting review. While I've long been a fan of the Beach Boys music, I seldom care about the backgrounds of famous people. If I like them and their talent, I ignore their background and problems. Drugs are a sad commentary to these people as too many have had their talents lost to us through early demise as a result.

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  3. It is sad that the world of the rich and famous is such that it causes us to lose some of our fabulously talented people. If only they could be left to share their talent without all of the trappings and pressures of fame.

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  4. It seems that all too often we hear that our brightest stars, and even some that barely touched the fringe of stardom, find they prefer, or perhaps need, an escape from it all. Fame certainly seems to come with a very high price and when people have wealth, they are preyed upon by those promising relief. Even though you have assured me that it can be funny, I fear the overall effect of the book would be a bit too realistic and depressing.

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    1. Although, on second thought. Perhaps, it should be required reading for anyone who desires fame and fortune.

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  5. I agree with Barbara it is difficult for me to understand why some of the rich and famous turn to this kind of life. I think it's just because they have the money and power and they can! Thanks for this very interesting review.

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