Thursday, December 22, 2016

What's Kristine Reading - December Edition

   Wow- this month has really flown by!  Christmas is only four days away, which also means that I have about a week and a half left in my 2016 reading challenge.  Thanks to my new knitting addiction, it's been tougher to get those 52 books in this year, but I'm currently on track to finish them all. I'll write more about that in a post next week, because THIS post is about something I read this month.  And that is "Wonderful Tonight" by Pattie Boyd.


   For those who don't know, I'm a huge Beatles fan and have been for as long as I have been listening to music.  I was obsessed with them as a kid, which is pretty funny considering they weren't a current band.  My friends all had posters of whatever teen sensation was hot at the moment on their walls, and I had pinned up good old John, Paul, George and Ringo.  To this day, I still have statues of the Fab Four on display in our house.  They were given to me for Christmas when I as in 7th or 8th grade and they creep my husband out to no end, but I love them. 
   Even as a child, I was a voracious reader and I read whatever books I could find on the boys from Liverpool, so I have known of Pattie Boyd, George Harrison's first wife, for decades.  Considering she is known as THE musical muse of the 1960's, I was looking forward to this book and hearing about her life from her perspective.
   A little backstory for those who aren't familiar with Pattie and her place in rock history - she is the inspiration behind The Beatles "I Need You" and "Something" (which is one of my favorite songs of all time).  She also famously inspired Clapton's anthem of unrequited love "Layla."  As I mentioned, she was George Harrison's first wife.  Then 19 and a local model, she met George in 1964 while on the set of "A Hard Day's Night," where she was cast as a schoolgirl.  Harrison was immediately smitten with Boyd, and (according to Boyd) proposed before even asking her out, which she declined because she was seriously dating someone else.  She promptly went home, dumped her boyfriend and started dating Harrison soon after.  They married in January 1966.  George became good friends with Eric Clapton in the late 1960's.  Clapton soon fell in love with Pattie and so created one of the infamous love triangles in rock & roll history.  Clapton pursued Pattie even though she was married to Harrison, writing such tormented songs as the aforementioned "Layla" during his pursuit.  At one point, Clapton blatantly admitted to Harrison "I have to tell you, man, I'm in love with your wife."
   Eventually, Harrison and Boyd broke up, and Boyd married Clapton.  They stayed together through a few drug and alcohol-fueled years before divorcing when Clapton revealed he was having a baby with an Italian model.  (This child, Conor, tragically died after falling from a high-rise window in New York City and was the inspiration behind Clapton's "Tears in Heaven").
   Now, from that backstory, you would think this book would be AMAZING.  What a life this woman had!  She married not one but two of rock's greatest legends and inspired some of their best work!  (Clapton's "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Wonderful Tonight" were also written about her.)  But unfortunately, the book kind of fell flat.  From what I can tell, Boyd spent a good portion of the 60's and 70's in an alcohol and drug-induced stupor.  She probably doesn't remember a whole lot of it, especially 30 years after the fact (this book was published in 2007).  And that's how the book reads.  It jumps around in time and is kind of scattered. And honestly, Boyd doesn't come off as all that interesting.  I'm sure she has some depth to her personality, but the book made her come off like some pretty fangirl who got lucky and married a rock star - twice.  Yes, she was very pretty, but a surely there had to be more to her than her face to inspire two musical geniuses.  Unfortunately, this book doesn't show it.