English author Howard Sounes has written biographies on Bob Dylan (Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan and Charles Bukowski (Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life), so we know that he is not afraid to tackle difficult and daunting subjects. Here he traces the life of the Beatle from infancy through his nasty divorce with Heather Mills.
There have been many,
many books written about McCartney, but few of them deal with life pre-
and post-Beatle. That presents not only one of this book's main attractions but also one of its main drawbacks. There are simply not enough pages - though this one runs to 563 of them - to give all the various albums their proper due.
Rubber Soul and Revolver are dismissed in just a bit over three pages each, and that's simply ridiculous. Granted, the book is a biography of Paul's entire life, but giving short shrift to two critical recordings is a bit shortsighted.
On the other side, Sounes is not afraid to call out McCartney on some of his less than stellar work; in particular,
he takes some shots at the Beatles' solo efforts. Though there is no firsthand experience, the author has done a fair amount of research in presenting Paul as an artist who sometimes failed in the quality control of his music. There are also moments that reveal Paul's working relationships with his band members, and not all of these are flattering.
Sounes covers the breakup of The Beatles; Paul's lawsuit against his former band mates; meeting/marrying Linda; and the ghastly divorce with Heather Mills. He reveals his own biases -("'I Will' ...was the sickliest cliche" and
"'Here, There and Everywhere' has an insipid quality") - and makes other absurd statements like these.
Fab is a good book
for learning who McCartney was and who he became. If you're really looking for intricate details about Paul's music and life, this won't satisfy that urge.