Most helpful critical review
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A mixed bag
on August 27, 2012
I was interested by the mixed reviews for this book and it deserves them. A book like this is always going to be manipulative because it is an image that is being sold, and here we are being sold Adam Ant. Also, it is the autobiographer's right to decide how to present himself - any autobiography should be treated as part fiction because we all lie to ourselves and everyone else due to guilt, shame, ego, etc. Or we simply enjoy dressing things up. This book both gives less and more away than I would have expected. The thing I found hardest was the narcissism that accompanies this author's bipolar disorder. Having grown up with mental illness in the family, I know that the symptoms are what you live with, as much as the cause. The author is extremely narcissistic to the point of not really being able to empathise with anyone around him. Other people only exist in relation to him - we all do it in our lives to a certain extent, but here it is extreme. You don't get a clear view of anyone, as they either served their purpose or they didn't in his life - that's it really. I don't like how he calls using women "self medication" or "puresex" - he may chat with them first, but he uses them to cope with his manic phases, and it can't be glammed up. As another reviewer writes, he accepts his illness only to a certain point, as his manic/depressed episodes are always caused by external factors, not by himself. Of course, the episodes are triggered by outside stress, but he is responsible for whether he takes his medication or not. The medication does have nasty side effects, especially for someone who relies on their mania for creativity, but if you don't take your meds, that means you're not prepared to get yourself healthy enough (i.e. without psychotic breaks) to live with other people. I believe taking yourself off the meds until the next collapse/meltdown is quite normal in such cases, as you want to believe you can do without. That is probably why the book is worth reading because the most genuine thing that comes across is the fear - the fear of being on the meds, the fear of being off them, and the fear of failure or of being forgotten.
Adam Ant was my hero when I was 10 - "Kings of the Wild Frontier" was my first album ever (and I'm old enough for it to have been a record). I think I shall hang on to that image of the snarling yet pouting androgynous warrior in THAT jacket.