8. Fat Kid Rules the World – K.L. Going
This book was hard to read for me. Not because of the emotions involved or the self-image realization journey I went through or anything; it’s hard to read because I grew up with Kurt Cobain on my tv and in my headphones. My Walkman and I went on a lot of little journeys with Nevermind and Unplugged in New York because I had those tapes. Nevermind was the first tape I know I bought. My mom has told me that the “Fame ’90” cassingle was one I convinced her we had to buy but I don’t remember doing that…and I still love David Bowie. Anyway, I spent the whole day watching Kurt Loder, my only trusted source of news in 1994 as a pre-teen, explain to me that someone really cute and really screwed up who made music that I immensely enjoyed was now dead that April. I got a bunch of shit from my junior year creative writing class for picking “Lithium” as my favorite song instead of picking “Come As You Are.” For some reason, they thought “favorite song” meant “whatever the class wouldn’t make fun of or was on the radio two days ago,” including that horrifying song Aerosmith did for the Armageddon soundtrack and “Strawberry Wine” by whoever did that song that I refuse to forgive because I had to listen to it. Yuck. Thankfully someone else (wearing the Kurt Cobain style worn out cardigan) brought in Led Zepplin’s “Ramble On” and another dude brought in “Master of Puppets,” much better than having to listen to that Aerosmith ballad twice. Twice! They played it the whole way through both times! How could that possible by two people’s favorite song?
Anyway, I have a history with Nirvana and Kurt means something specific to me just like he does to all Nirvana fans (and non-fans, really). My impression of him makes it hard to read fictionalized versions of him – my bullshit detector went off even though it’s not meant to be a biography and it was hard to keep up the suspension of disbelief. That said, I liked that good choices were made and that some of the musicians acted like dicks, because they totally do. The hetero male musicians who don’t live off their girlfriends (at least at some point) and/or consistently depend on the kindness of strangers (just like Blanche Dubois, I think I’ll nickname the next one I meet “Blanche” and see if they ever figure it out) that don’t make it but keep telling you they will (“Come on, honey, it’s for the band. How much money do you have?”) are few and far between. I’ve met like one that was able to focus almost completely on music and didn’t seem to be dicking anyone over in the process, although, he was emotionally distant, so it’s possible that someone, somewhere, was being dicked over by that guy. So, yeah, I like it when people are realistically portrayed. Perhaps someone who could have been a future groupie or future lost-soul of self-esteem can be warned and take the path of self-respect and not be taken advantage of by someone who isn’t really that grateful. Oh, the digressions. I did like the ending of this book, it was a smidge abrupt, but it was the right choice.