Me, by Elton John
I think this book adequately expresses how Elton John wishes for the reader to think about him and his career. I can’t say that I particularly appreciate his approach to life and find him to be personally unappealing, but I feel this book to be an honest one that expresses his resentment at his parents, his hatred towards Christianity because of their moral values, and his tiresome and tedious devotion to debauchery and immorality. His awkwardness and desire to be accepted and approved by others is something I understand, and there is a certain degree of worth in his desire to be honest about himself, although at times the author wavers between trying to blame others for his own problem and taking responsibility for himself. The author’s claim that all artists are divas and monsters is not an appealing one, although it is true that as many creative people celebrate the breaking of taboos and rules, and are immensely sensitive to their outside surroundings and very desirous of creating things in their own image, the results can often be unsettling as they are in the case of the author’s life. And if the author is honest enough that he conveys enough unpleasant truth about his own existence, which is definitely the case, then that honesty is to be appreciated even if it cannot be celebrated.
This particular book is about 350 pages long and it contains a generally chronological work (with plenty of foreshadowing) that demonstrates Elton John’s rather obscure background and the influence of his divided family and the way that his music was appreciated and encouraged and eventually became a career choice. We see Elton John honing his craft and developing skills as a songwriter as well as his wild stage antics and his immense fondness for camp and for the gay social world that exists in the West. He talks a lot about his cocaine addiction and his friendships with other stars–John Lennon and Rod Stewart get mentioned a lot here, and he talks about how he became a go-to source for encouragement for stars that needed to deal with drug and alcohol problems and goes into a lot of his late-career business drama as he found out that he was not quite as wealthy as he thought he was thanks to the expenses that he had paid with his entourage and thanks to the actions of his former business manager, all of which spilled into drama with his mother. He talks about his willingness to express the more unpleasant and divaesque sides of his personality when it came to his onstage and personal antics and tendency to create rows and unpleasantness with others.
Your interest in this book will depend on your willingness to read about Elton John gossiping and bragging about his life. This book does not give a great deal of insight into Elton John as a creative person, but it does provide a dishy discussion of the author’s willingness to discuss his various perversions and character faults and love of camp and his addictive tendencies. In this book one sees the natural outcome of someone who has tried as best as possible to live his life contrary to nature, be that by wearing wigs to hide his balding, or seeking expensive options to father a child given his homosexuality, or his love of crossdressing and flamboyant fashion sense or his hostility to biblical morality in any area of his life or those who sincerely (if imperfectly) try to live up to it. I found myself seeing Elton John and his life and recognizing that between him and other people like him and ordinary people there is a great gulf of corruption and decadence and privilege, and it was not an appealing picture to me at least.