Top critical review
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If you love endless minutia, you will love this book
on January 7, 2013
I really wanted to like this book, I did. Obviously, I am a Smiths fan and was always puzzled by their short but exciting career. But I found this book to be a tedious read, where I had to force myself to stay on a page in order to mine the hidden gems.
The author starts off by telling you what he's not going to do, which is the rote "talking about how the band formed and then going from there." (My words, not his)
He says he's not going to provide too much detail about the songs’ meaning and there is a better book about that already. Fair enough. I kind of wish I knew that before I bought the book.
Instead, the author first chooses to focus on the musical history of Manchester in the 60s and 70s. He intertwines this with some background on the band, mainly Marr and Morrissey. This background seems to go on and on and on. Then to top it off, after all the background, he then summarizes various points again when relating it to the bands influences. You don't get to the band's actual formation until chapter 12!
I expected it to pick up at this point, but it didn't. Granted, the author is an excellent reporter in capturing the detail. But most of it to me was meaningless and I found myself skipping pages. At one point, for example, when he tells the story of how they made their most famous song, “How Soon Is Now?”, I almost missed it.
I did find good information about the band and the songs in the book, but the key word is “find,” as in I had to search for it. It felt to me that the 600+ pages (Kindle edition) were mainly fluff. But, if you are a details obsessed fan, this is definitely the book for you.