09 March 2011

Freddie & Me... and Me

First of all, let me just say there is still good reason for paper books and libraries. I regularly put books on hold, and when they arrive I pick them up at the nearest branch to my place of work. It's very convenient, as I used to actually travel to different branches and between Queens and Manhattan, and that's exhausting!
Well, recently I was picking up some books in the reserved section and saw the title of a book that was on hold for someone else. Nosy me picked it up. The title was Freddie and Me: A Coming of Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody. Now of all the book-related websites I've been on, including Amazon which loves to Recommend books you Might Like, I'd never heard of this book. Good job we still have paper books and brick-and-mortar locations, or I'd still be unaware. And what a book for me not to know about!

Second of all, something not everyone knows about me is that I actually like Graphic Novels. It's not my favorite genre, but I do have a tiny collection in my home library. I haven't bought a comic book in years, because I think they're overpriced, but once they're grouped together in a book I'll give it a shot. It's like not watching a TV show when it's aired, but waiting till the DVD of the season is out in the summer. And since I do enjoy curling up with the occasional autobiography, it's great to see both forms of expression come together. But we're not referencing Beatles songs here; today it's all about Queen.

Though the artist/writer, Mike Dawson, became a rapid Queen fan earlier in his life than I did, I related too well to the madness that ensues once you get far too fond of a band. And just like Queen songs became a soundtrack to his formative years, I can't think of my mid-teens without hearing Freddie Mercury's voice - even some of the more ridiculous tracks are there, and in this book. I cracked up when he reacts to a certain word in 'Death on Two Legs'. It's not as much of a shocker as it used to be, which makes it all the more affecting.

I was also surprised at Dawson's memories of memory itself. That's hard to explain. Personally, I've always been a little afraid of forgetting early memories, and resolved not to at a very young age. Then I read this line in his book:

"The reason I can still remember being afraid of losing my memories is because I made a conscious decision to do so. I remember the day I was doing it."

And then he goes on to explain how he pictures things to remember them. Catherine much? It makes me wonder if Queen fans are all cut from the same cloth. Sadly, I cannot draw, unless you count that horrible blob of Zenobia I scribble on pages from time to time.

I'm not sure if non-Queen fans would appreciate Freddie & Me, but if you favor the Bildungsroman stories you might. And if you don't know what that word means, you're not alone. I've never heard it spoken, but any word that has 'dung' in it is worth knowing. (And if you don't like it, you could say it's full of crap!)

I only have one criticism, and it's only because I'm an extreme stickler for dates. He has his teenaged self going to school the day he finds out about Freddie Mercury having AIDS, as well as the next day when he dies. My recollections of November 1991are extremely clear - it was a really important month in my life. And those dates fall on Saturday and Sunday. But he can draw, and I can't, so...artistic license I guess.

So what kind of tea would I sip with this book? Well, I know Freddie Mercury was a tea drinker, but the only specific type of tea I've ever read about in reference to him was an anecdote in which he drank jasmine tea. And I don't need an excuse to drink jasmine scented green tea!

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