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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars His interviewing style is brilliant, and the Q essays always make you think, Aug. 7 2014
This review is from: 1982 (Hardcover)
I'm a huge fan of Jian Ghomeshi's radio program "Q", and think he is one of the smartest, most genuine media personalities out there. His interviewing style is brilliant, and the Q essays always make you think.

That said, he really disappointed me with this book. It was very clear from beginning to end that he had a VERY poor editor (this person should be fired), and that his Canadian celeb status is what led to the publishing of the book, because it has minimal literary merit on its own. While the description of the 80s was funny at times, the writing prose was very repetitive and redundant. This style could have worked if he was reading this over the radio, but in written form, it sounded amateur.

A memoir should recall interesting people in your life, and your memories of them should bring them alive with focus and clarity, and make you feel like you know them by the end of the book. Ghomeshi's book depicted all of the characters in his life as very flat, one-dimensional people. His mother was described repeatedly, in three to four paragraphs, "as very polite" and "very nice". His sister Jila he never really describes at all, other than her being a theatre student. No conversations, conflicts, moments of bonding ever discussed. His father has more descriptors than the other two, but even then its very flat.

Finally, the intended audience of the book is confusing. He writes in the narrative style of a 14-year old, and while many authors have done this successfully (the perspective of a youth can expose the hypocrisies and quirks of adults in a very sharp way), in this book it comes across as juvenile, almost as if you are being talked down to.

The highlights of the book were his humiliating experience being made fun of in school about wearing eyeliner (I'm sure we can all relate to moments of shame in high school), his experiences with theatre, and descriptions of the music scene in the 80s. But even his constant Bowie references got really annoying very quickly.

Again, this book would be great if it was read aloud as a series of short essays over the radio, with accompanying music related to the chapters. But as a piece of literary work, it was very amateur and mediocre, and it's very obvious that this book was based on promoting a celebrity rather than publishing a good book that would be enjoyable to read. Also, the "positive" reviews by Toronto Star, National Post, etc are highly suspicious. Anyone who reads this book would at least agree that the writing was very poor and in need of serious editing. Therefore, its clear that the media reviews were about promotion and advertising, because when you read actual reader reviews, the poor writing is consistently mentioned.

I really hope Jian improves his writing style and gets a good editor next time, or keeps his writing style targeting to the radio audience through Q essays.
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