Friday, September 12, 2008

Wonderful Tonight – Pattie Boyd

Coming from an extremely eclectic background – she grew up in the jungles and deserts of Africa before moving to England as a teen to become a well known model – Pattie tells a tale of the 60’s and her relations and flirtations with rock royalty.

This is not a music book, per se – do not expect behind the scenes stories of any of George Harrison’s songs (more than him writing “My Sweet Lord” at their kitchen table) – but it is a tale of her life moving from a restrictive family to the world of fashion to the wife of a rock star – and her subsequent seclusion.

Pattie is a spectacular beauty with self-proclaimed self-esteem issues, which is bizarre considering that she was a sought after model who landed some of the world’s most famous men. It is hard for us average folks to feel too sorry for her…

She does not have kind words to say about George – she paints him as a domineering, chauvinistic, crazily religious, and almost manic-depressive. His fight with his natural instincts and the tenants of his adoptive religion seem to have caused him much pain and depression. She claims he was solitary, but it seems that she simply didn’t care for the people that were in his life and she wanted more freedom. In many ways, it sounds like she is trying to excuse her infidelities, though he had his share, as well, but it is difficult for an outsider to say.

She depicts Eric Clapton as a pathetic man groveling after his best friend’s wife and treating the other women in his life like dirt. When she finally leaves George for Eric, he apparently stops taking heroin but instead becomes a raving alcoholic, which she joins in on. As much as she claims to love Eric passionately at this point, he comes off as a weak, childish jerk, basically. It doesn’t sound like she truly respects any of the men in her life, but she also does not seem to truly respect herself, either.

Her marriage to Clapton ends, as well, and she has another long term affair (this time to a relative unknown) that also falls apart. But, she does manage to stay friends with all (or most) of the men in her life and continues to socialize with many to this day.

The story is interesting but lacking in any real substance or details. There are also laughable mistakes (saying Ron Wood was the bassist in the Faces, claiming to own a rare Les Paul Stratocaster – which would be might rare indeed!) but that could be due to a poor proof-reader. So, the book is good but shallow and doesn’t give any real depth into Pattie or her famous loves. Not bad, but just not what you would expect for this tale of the incredibly exciting 60’s and of some of the biggest celebrities in the world.