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Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The premise that Chuck's going to go an Epic road trip (on Spin magazine's dime) to tour famous American rock and roll death sites proves to be mere pretense for an extended trip into Chuck's head as he drives cross-country. Sure, he visits a lot of places where people died, like Skynyrd, VanZant, Buckley, Holly, Cobain, et al, but he rarely has anything interesting to say. Very occasionally he does, such as pointing out that Sid Vicious' inability to play the bass was what made him the perfect punk icon. The best part is probably near the beginning, when he visits the Rhode Island site of a club fire during a Great White show which killed almost a hundred people. He discovers a site of pilgrimage and reflection (and coke snorting), and embarks on an excellent diatribe against the prevalence of ironic distance in modern music fans and how the people at the Great White show were the most authentic music fans around.
However, despite nice bits like these, the focus is on Chuck's current and ex-girlfriends -- which gets annoying for a number of reasons.Read more ›
Chuck is a clever fellow so he anticipates most of the criticism that will be leveled at this book ("Why are you writing what people will call a non-fiction "High Fidelity"?) Much of the fun comes from following Chuck's invariably self-questioning interior monologue. He captures very well how a lot of people talk to themselves, with self-doubt and self-deprecating comedy.
The appeal of this book for me is how Chuck approaches heavy subjects like Death and The Meaning Of Life with just the right lightness of touch. Comedy helps you bear the unbearble, and Klosterman shouldn't be dismissed because he tells good jokes along the way. His lightness conceals some pretty profound musings, like on page 218 where he explains how his love of KISS helps him make sense of his life: "Art and love are the same thing: it's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you. It's understanding the unreasonable." Unlike a lot of critics, Klosterman comes from the heartland and doesn't look back with disgust; the folkways of the middle of the country are bred in his bones, so he has a lot of skepticism for the enthusiasms of the elites. On page 92 he shows how a lot of intellectuals have to talk themselves into liking something like the Allman Brothers that most people who are non-rock critics simply enjoy as "just real music." Common sense is paradoxically a rare thing and I detect it in Chuck.
That said, the writing could have been much better. I felt like Chuck couldn't decide if he wanted the book to be cohesive, or an essay collection. While he always has interesting observations, I felt like he phoned it in a bit with this one. It felt rough, fast, and disjointed.
What was good about it? The premise, and ultimately making the point that life is a progression of change and small deaths, were both worthwhile. Chuck's writing style makes for a fun, engrossing read. Narcissistic navel-gazing? Sure. That's a given with this genre.
I couldn't be more wrong. Sure Chuck takes a road trip to different places where rock stars have died and yes there are some funny anecdotes along the way, but mostly this book is about Chuck and his inability to maintain a good relationship with a woman. I didn't buy `this' book. I wanted to read how Layne Staley's death impacted people. I wanted to read about how / why he died. I wanted Chuck to elaborate on the cultural significance of Alice in Chains. I wanted to know why people think Kurt Cobain was murdered. I wanted some expose and insight into these various lives and deaths. I wanted all these things and more.
SO I feel cheated. If the book was marketed as a self-reflection of lost and missing love then I would not have read it. No matter that I enjoy Chucks wit, and his unique cultural slants - I still would not have read a book centered on love.
This book does have thoughts on rock stars and death but instead of elaborating on these people and the places he travels, Chuck becomes introspective and self-analytical. So in other words, Chuck could have wrote this book about his normal 14 days living in New York and marketed it to suggest he knows something about women. Instead, Chuck takes a road trip and uses that as a false pretense to sell a story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favorite books every, go on a weird and splintered journey about music and love.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Why do we care about Chuck Klosterman? There is nothing truly remarkable about his life. I disagree with 97 percent of what he has to say about music. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Richard Bissell
Like many of the greatest books, Chuck Klosterman's KILLING YOURSELF TO LIVE is not just "about what it's about. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Matt R. Lohr
If you have read any of his books (or read the reviews here) then you already know what a sad, self absorbed little twit Klosterman is. Read morePublished 8 months ago by The Dude
Chuck Klosterman is an acquired taste. But like a fine scotch or even an unfiltered cigarette, once you acquire that taste, you may find yourself inexorably addicted to his... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jim Martin
An amazing journey across the country that explains all of our journeys through life.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
If you like rock history at all, this is the book for you. Chuck Klosterman brings humor and fun to some dark days of rock history.Published 11 months ago by PJ Keenan
Very easy to read. If you like music, you will probably like this. I did find him hard to like and at times this book reads like High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (which he even... Read morePublished 13 months ago by William M. Victor