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Lacking a direction, it goes nowhere
on September 15, 2012
I should start off by saying I didn't know who Carol Miller was when I read the blurb about this book. I like rock & roll biographies, so I decided to try it. I was looking for insider insights into music personalities. By the time I finished the Kindle sample, I realized this was not that kind of book, but I was interested enough in this woman's life story to go ahead and buy the e-book. The book turned out to be a quick read, semi-enjoyable, but nothing special. In thinking about it for this review, I realized the book goes in too many directions, and thus doesn't complete any of the journeys.
As an insider's view of rock music, it doesn't offer anything new. Paul McCartney was a nice guy who really loved Linda, Springsteen stays close to his Jersey roots, Steve Tyler is childlike and crazy. Nothing new there. I wasn't looking for gossip and dirt, but I was hoping to see some personalities from a different perspective. It didn't happen.
Her discussion of her radio career was mostly about getting jobs, trying to keep them, getting fired after stations changed their format. I worked at W---, then they changed their format. I got fired, so I got a job at W---, etc. etc. I don't feel I know much more about the inner workings of radio after reading this book.
Ms. Miller grew up in a traditional New York, Jewish family. She sprinkles the book with lots of Yiddish words and talks about her culture. She had difficult relationships with her parents, especially with her father who was often verbally abusive. There could have been a book in that, but this angle is not fully explored. Ditto, her marriage to MTV VJ Mark Goodman. She takes some understandable potshots at him for his adultery, but mostly there is not a whole lot about the good times or the bad times of that marriage, and even less about her second marriage. I respect that people want to maintain their privacy, but in reading the book I wondered about the good times. I wondered how her fellow DJs felt about her being married to a VJ. It just seemed like more could have been said without getting too personal.
Another element of the book was her struggle with cancer that involved many surgeries and treatments. This could have been a whole book, but she doesn't go into it deeply, which was a wise choice. It wasn't meant to be a book centered on surviving cancer.
The one aspect of the book that I found most interesting was her thoughts on music. She had intriguing thoughts about music snobs who take themselves and their musical tastes too seriously. She suggests that there is nothing wrong with enjoying a silly, fun song. Unfortunately, these thoughts only take up a page or two. More thoughts on music would have improved the book.
I can't really recommend this book, except for readers who are fans of her radio work who want to know more about her.