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Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams
Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams
by Nick Webb
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars to damn with faint praise, March 2 2006
This may be the "official" biography of Adams, but the definitive one it is not. While ethics may pull a writer to pen a "warts and all" biography, it is not usual to try to make ones subject appear as one giant wart. How many times is it necessary to mention that Adams was vain (can you count more than 20)? The author continually undercuts Adams accomplishments and makes him out to be foolish. This starts out with the description of Adams death - other accounts mention that the night before, he spent a long time on a transatlantic phone call consoling a friend who had had a death in the family. Did this fatigue contribute to his demise? Should his generosity with his time to his friend perhaps have been mentioned? How about a discourse on the air quality where Adams was living and it's effect on his health? Instead, we get a rambling story about Adams efforts to stay in shape which make him seem foolish and shallow. Mr. Webb mentions how competitive attitudes were in England among Adams friends and how jealous they were of his success - these 'friends" even tried to get a show off the ground called "rich bastard" based on Adams. Guess they weren't happy for his success. Mr. Webb mentions how Douglas was invited by the band to play a guitar solo with Pink Floyd for his birthday (!) for which he practiced assiduously. His playing was a success, but Mr. Webb has to mention how "he only finished one beat behind the band"; he also feels the need to relate an anecote of two teenagers asking each other "which one is Adams?" "the bald fat one"replies the other, "which one?" is the reply. Perhaps this is Mr. Wdbb's attempt at humour. If so it is a far cry from Adams humour which was based on a big heart and the large view. He also seems to discredit the value of Adams later non-collaborative work on the Dirk Gently series and other novels - which I personally feel are his best, more mature work. Perhaps this is because Adams had moved on from his life at this point. He also gives little time to Last Chance to See - a work Adams considered his best, as do I. I was hoping for a book that would draw broader strokes between Adams life and " the universe and everything". Don't bother to buy this book if you are an Adams fan, buy Last Chance to See instead.

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