2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Could have been great....,
This review is from: A Wayward Angel: The Full-Story of the Hell's Angels by the Former Vice-President of the Oakland Chapter (Paperback)
I read this book with fairly high expectations, since I had already read Sonny Barger's account of the Hells Angels. Certainly I expected a very different perspective from Barger's, and that is exactly what you will find. Wethern gives an excellent account of his days with the Hells Angels, but this book is seriously flawed. How? The "co-writer" Vincent Colnett intrudes on the tale. He has taken Wethern's story and written it in the first person, as if George Wethern were telling the tale. That should have worked fine, but the problem is that Colnett tries so hard to show how clever and educated he is that he does Wethern's story a disservice through the intrusive nature of his language.
Only occasionally does the monologue sound like the reader would imagine Wethern to sound. Throughout most of the book, the ideas are expressed in a way that a university English major would write. It grates on the nerves to read the first hundred pages of this book. Just when an anecdote gets interesting, Colnett's overly ornamental vocabulary intrudes. If a real Hells Angel ever spoke the way Colnett writes Wethern's monologue, he'd probably get cracked with a pool cue.
I have to wonder what Wethern's publisher was thinking. Why wasn't this book re-edited before publication to make it ring more 'true' language-wise? After all the things Wethern and his family have gone through, they deserve more than this; at the very least the publisher could have assigned a writer who wouldn't have stepped all over the material with his hackneyed prose.
Do read this book, but read Sonny Barger's book before or in conjunction with it. Through both of them, you'll be able to piece together something more complete. And Barger's book sounds the way you would imagine that a Hells Angel speaks.
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Initial post: Sep 29, 2012 1:40:41 PM PDT
I agree; Bargers' book is much better. But Wetherns' was written in the mid 70s, and despite him being a rat; for the time, this book was one, if not the only book written ( not counting Thompsons' much earlier book) of the outlaw scene. If George had written the book in his own unedited words, it probably would have been unreadable. Heavy use of phencyclidine (PCP) does have a negative long term effect on ones brain function. I've had friends fry their brains on this garbage, and never understood the attraction of this type of high. Give me a Quaalude any ol' day. :>)
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