I Am Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson and Ben Greenman
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Buy *I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir* by Brian Wilson and Ben Greenmano nline

I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir
Brian Wilson and Ben Greenman
Da Capo Press
336 pages
October 2016
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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There has been so much written about Brian Wilson that it's hard to know where the myths and fables begin and the truth ends. There have been tales about the abusive childhood he endured and the wrath of his father, Murray, as well as the stories about his mental illness, addictions, inability to write songs, and much more.

This memoir by Wilson answers all those questions in an astonishingly honest--and at many times painful--way. The iconic Beach Boys songwriter and visionary talks at length about his addictions to pills and alcohol and how the band was unwilling to follow him when his songwriting ventured off into new areas that weren't about surfing and hot rods. He talks about his father, and though you'd think he would have nothing but bad things to say about him, Wilson does credit him with making him tough and helping him with his music.

Wilson also tries to explain how he writes songs, which is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived. He writes at length about Pet Sounds, the breakthrough album that remains one of the most critically acclaimed records to this day as well as the misery of trying to complete SMiLE, an album that would only be completed decades after it started.

This is a terrific book and will lay to rest all the untruths ever told about Brian Wilson. In truth, he seems a little too forgiving in terms of what his father did to him--physically abused him and even sold the Beach Boys songs to someone else without telling Brian--but this is his story as he lived it.

Any fan of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys needs to read this.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2016

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