Saturday, April 28, 2007

Book Review

Killing Yourself To Live - by Chuck Klosterman, a writer for Spin magazine

I read his previous book, Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs: a Low Culture Manifesto, which delivers a dissection of pop culture with Klosterman's articulate analyses and sometimes twisted sense of humor. It often made me laugh out loud. I expected the same from this book.

This book chronicles Klosterman's road trip as he visits the actual sites of famous rock star deaths. Kind of morbid, right? It wasn't though. His wittiness keeps things light and he includes insights into his own journey to self discovery along the way. His relationships with the women in his life, however, never caught my attention. Laughable, but I'd recommend Sex, Drugs, & Cocoa Puffs over this one.

Review From Publishers Weekly
Klosterman follows up on 2003's Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by expanding on an article he wrote for Spin about driving cross-country to visit several of America's most famous rock and roll death sites, from the Rhode Island club where more than 90 Great White fans died in a fire, to the Iowa field where Buddy Holly's plane crashed. Along the way, Klosterman opines on rock music, never afraid to offend—as when he interprets a Radiohead album as a 9/11 prophecy or reminds readers that before Kurt Cobain's suicide, many preferred Pearl Jam to Nirvana. The quest to uncover these deaths' social significance is quickly overwhelmed by Klosterman's personal obsessions, especially his agonizing over sexual relationships. He applies semifictional techniques to these concerns, inventing an imaginary conversation in the car with three girlfriends that becomes the book's centerpiece. This literary cleverness recalls classic gonzo journalism, but also contains a self-conscious edge, inviting comparison to Dave Eggers. Klosterman also worries his neuroses will brand him as "the male Elizabeth Wurtzel," but he needn't fret. Despite their shared subject matter of drug use and cultural musing, Klosterman has clearly established that he has a potent voice all his own.

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