Mercury and Me Paperback – February 12, 2014
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But for the book itself, I found it a beautiful read-- one of the most wonderful love stories I've ever read. It must have been so hard for Jim to be treated as invisible in so many siutations because gay couples were so much less accepted at that time. I was amazed time and again by his patience with Freddie's mood swings. Yet in spite of Freddie's moodiness, they both seemed to have a deep and enduring love for each other. The end of the book is heart-breaking, particularly with Jim having to be forced so quickly from the home he and Freddie shared. I thought the book was well-written. It does seem a little disjointed in some places, but memories are like that-- they don't have the clear narrative flow of a novel. This is a story about what true love is.
There is insight into Freddie Mercury as a person and some insight into his music as well, particularly into what he was working on in his later years and observations about h is work ethic, and musicians who inspired him. I also thought it was interesting hearing which of Freddie's songs were most special to Jim. Mainly the book is about Jim and Freddie's personal relatioship.
Read this book-- you won't regret it.
Top international reviews
The Freddie of the blockbuster film is flamboyant, charismatic and charming, and of course talented. But that is a Hollywood perspective. Hutton's biography paints a picture of a Freddie who had far too much money, wasted a lot of it on hard drugs, and spent excessive amounts like water, on items he didn't need, nor would ever use. just because he could! Even in his last few months Freddie spent wildly on items, including real estate in Switzerland.
He also had real estate in Germany, where he spent a lot of time, avoiding tax obligations to the British government. This is surely a betrayal of the country; Great Britain, which gave Freddie the freedom and opportunities to follow his dreams, whilst giving his family refuge when they fled Zanzibar; their home at the time.
Yet, according to this biography, nobody was going to be critical of Freddie as he was surrounded by flunkies and yes men and women. In the end some of these hangers on, attended Freddie's funeral wake at his main home; Garden Lodge in London, opened a bottle of Champaign and roared with laughter.
As for Jim Hutton, he seems to have been a very nice, genuine, yet naive man. He omitted to have possessions Freddie said he would leave to Jim in verbal communication, written into a will. Perhaps this is because Jim really was the only person who genuinely loved Freddie Mercury for who he was; not for his superstar status or money.
The book is written as if Jim Hutton is talking, so it is not as structured as it might have been, if written by a professional. Yet, the style makes it more intimate and readable.
In all a book to compare with the film; Bohemian Rhapsody, but the reader might need to read a few biographies on Freddie Mercury before settling on a broader view of the singer and the man.
I can't count the amount of car journeys I had growing up when my father was playing Queen. My father is a massive Queen fan and admirer of Freddie Mercury (he even sprouts a Freddie Mercury style moustache). Sadly, I am the only other Queen fan obsessive in the Walker household and so when I saw Jim Hutton's autobiography I leapt at the chance to read it and it was a highly enjoyable read. Jim Hutton, who sadly passed away, was Freddie Mercury's self-professed 'husband'. The story starts with a Hutton newly single meeting (and being pursued by) Freddie and his relationship with Freddie until Freddie's death.
One of the main things I enjoyed was the fact it is very readable. The danger with autobiographies is that they can either contain too much (pointless) information and read like a textbook or they can be monotonous with "I did this.. Then I did this... Then I..." Hutton's work strikes a great balance between the two. Although a 'professional'* writer has helped, it feels very authentic as Hutton's story and I don't think it detracts in anyway from the book. My only criticism is that some parts read like a shopping list with "he bought... this which was really expensive and... and he bought so and so... " but I think that is just personal preference. *(does anyone know what they are doing?)
For those curious, I'll let you know what it covers. This autobiography gives more insight into Freddie, his personality and his antics than it does the band. There are very few behind the scenes glances into 'Queen', mainly because Hutton didn't spend a great deal of time with the band when it was being Queen. This probably isn't the best read if you just want all the inside details on Queen. I was surprised to learn that Freddie was not closer with the other bandmates but, I suppose, after spending so much time in the studios and on tour together a little time apart is refreshing. Having said that about the band, Hutton does cover Freddie's relationship with Monserrat Cabelle or Montsy as she was known by Freddie. I was hoping that it would address the factoid that Freddie refused to continue working with Michael Jackson because Jackson insisted on bringing animals into the studio but all Hutton suggests was that Freddie found MJ difficult to work with. (Perhaps someone can confirm or discredit this?)
I found reading about Freddie's final months and days very difficult to read. I am glad I stayed up through the night reading (and crying) until the last page because I doubt I could have found the strength to face reading the rest of the book. It is not a case of 'oh he died' peacefully and unexpectedly one day in his sleep. Hutton is very honest that Freddie's descent was protracted, painful and unglamorous.
On the other hand, this autobiography has many laugh out loud moments. There are a lot of anecdotes too which I now share with my parents that they seem to enjoy, more than my others anyway. Two of my favourites ones are that Freddie's pin up was Burt Reynolds and that Freddie bought Butler and Wilson jewellery; by sheer coincidence I have a few pieces and so now when I wear them I think of Freddie. I have more anecdotes but why spoil the book?
I usually read other reviews before I write my own. This mainly is to see if others shared 'my' opinion or if I missed anything and I have to say I was surprised to read about the whole Mary vs Jim controversy over Freddie's will and whether Hutton was 'cashing in'. For those who don't know, Mary Austin was Freddie's fiancé until Freddie confided he was gay. I'm not going to spend long on these controversies because, frankly, I'm not a historian - I don't have access to any additional facts other than my humble Sherlockian skills of abduction. I remember when my own grandmother died from cancer, and although I was ten, I remember relatives saying things they shouldn't have. I think that grief warps our emotions (and in turn our perception and reactions) and I don't think either of them are, or were, overtly reliable. Also, there is a noticeable absence of John Deacon in the post-Freddie "Queen" line up so a few Hutton criticisms could equally be levelled at May and Taylor. It all ends there as far as I'm concerned, no good is going to come of raking up that particular patch of time.
Overall, it was a really great book, a real roller-coster ride and is a must read for any obsessive Freddie/Queen fan. If you can buy the book, I would recommend getting a physical copy as the Kindle pictures are obviously in black and white
Much of the contents of the book were repetitive and unnecessary. It felt like the writer couldn’t fill the 250 pages, so achieved this by repeating him every few sentences.
Whilst the book gives an insight into the private life Freddie Mercury and his ‘husband’. Many events in the book seem over- dramatised for the benefit of the reader.
There were some inconsistencies as well where Jim contradicts things said earlier in the book. The view formed from reading this book is that Jim exaggerated things and lived in a fantasy world in regards to Freddie. He tries to give the impression that he was the most important person in Freddie’s inner circle. There was clear bitterness and resentment to the fact that he did not inherit the house Garden Lodge. This along with the majority of Freddie’s wealth was left to his long term friend, confident and ex fiancée Mary Austin.
Jim’s share of inheritance comprised of gifts he had for bought Freddie, and £500,000, the same as which other staff at Garden Lodge received. In addition there was 4 weeks’ severance pay and a plot of land in Ireland to build a home. There is no denying that Jim loved Freddie, but I begin to wonder if it was the luxury lifestyle, money and large home the Jim loved more than his ‘husband’. The reader gets the impression that Jim was just a live-in sex partner and paid employee.
Much of the book was in bad taste with regards to sex and perhaps wholly inappropriate with regards to the few hours prior to Freddie’s death, particularly the mention that the dying man was incontinent.
My overall impression of this book is that it is a badly written, over dramatised, exaggerated account of one bitter mans attempt write a memoir of his relationship a celebrity.
So I decided to read it. My feelings towards this book are so from “piggy backer”. This is a book about a man and his love for his “husband”. The last couple of chapters got me emotional.
Jim Hutton is telling you the real life stuff of the love of his life. He’s going into great detail about it. And it’s emotional.
Obviously I know none of these people mentioned in the book but it showed some real sides of several. It also pointed out some facts that made much more sense than what was mentioned in the press from the people who were around him.
This is a book for those that want to get on a personal level with Jim and Freddie from Jim’s perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any fan who wishes to delve further. (I grew up listening to queens music but I didn’t call myself a fan of any sort, my parents were the people who played their music as I grew up, but now, I’d like to think of myself as a fan, not a die hard fan, but a fan of some wonderful music made by a brilliant band/artist)
I never read these sort of books but I will be purchasing a hard copy of this for my book shelf (I brought it digitally originally)
There’s one thing you’ll learn from this:
No matter your sexual orientation, be proud of you and don’t make others feel bad for their decisions and lifestyle. Everybody lives differently to others but it doesn’t make them any different to others as a human being.
Thank you Jim.
his inner circle of friends.
I loved reading Jim Hutton’s book on his relationship with Freddie, but wondered
why there was hardly any mention of his band mates being present around the time of Freddie’s
decline in health. Did Freddie not tell his band mates that he had aids? I just found it a little
hard to believe that they weren’t more involved. Also if it’s true about Mary and what she did
to Jim and Joe, and Phoebe, then I think Freddie would have been totally devastated to learn how
she treated them, it’s just a pity that Freddie didn’t state in writing what he wanted for Jim, Joe & Phoebe.
I don’t think Mary was the true friend that Freddie believed her to be. I think she was truly gutted when he broke
off the engagement all those years ago, that’s how I read it from Jim’s book. She resented all of Freddie’s boyfriends
more so Jim as he lasted the longest. She was nasty, not letting them live at the lodge looking after the cats.
As a widow myself, I want to respect the dead but JH makes himself out to be such an angel .... humble, hero, husband, it's nauseating. I don't get all the chapters about the holiday to Japan. All you need to know about Koi care.... and condoms. Just no.