Customer Reviews: Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me
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on August 29, 2007
I'm a Beatles fan too, but am dismayed to see some Beatles and EC acolytes posting not just harsh and unwarranted, but arguably libelious, comments here. "Groupie"?? "Call Girl"??!!

It's sad to see people so rabid and in such denial about their heroes' imperfections that they're smearing a lovely woman because she had the temerity to leave those rock gods before they destroyed her. I fear this sends a message that if you're an abused woman, but your husband is a beloved celebrity (or a popular guy in your community), then keep your mouth shut and put up with it. This is the story of a woman's triumph over abuse and that should be celebrated!

Pattie Boyd gained fame in her own right as was one of the top fashion icons and models of the Swinging London '60s. She was and is a dignified, intelligent woman. She was NOT a "groupie" or a "call girl"; in fact, she initially rebuffed the two men she would later marry.

After being talked and sung about for four decades, Pattie has every right to tell her side of the story. She's said in recent interviews, she chose to NOT reveal graphic details of the abuse she suffered from Slowhand, who has already admitted he repeatedly raped Pattie during their marriage. (See the June 27, 1999, London Sunday Times, recounted here, by the BBC: [...]

Pattie chose to omit the ugliest details from her memoir, but still gives a very vivid description of the fear, panic, and disillusionment that reigned during her marriage to the alcoholic guitar god and her subsequent nervous breakdown.

There are no truly salacious, graphic details in this book -- Pattie is much too classy for that. Much of the "dirt" in this book has been previously reported; the point of the book is to allow Pattie to offer her perspectives on those scandals. Boyd also makes clear she's let go of (most of) the bitterness and has come to accept that she made the mistake of playing enabler.

George, her true love, did indeed let her down and it's a sad story, filled with lingering regret. Her second husband professed to adore her, then turned into a menacing sociopath. It turns out we fans who envied Boyd during her marriages bought into a fantasy; we should have instead staged a mass intervention for her.

Pattie is to be admired for pulling herself out of a decades-long melodrama and creating a new life for herself in her mid-40s. She is now a respected portrait and travel photographer for Harper & Queens magazine, and is clearly living a full and enjoyable personal life. Wonderful Tonight should be mandatory reading for all abused women: there is a better life ahead for you, but only if you leave your abuser.

Shifting from the soap operas, I was surprised to find the most interesting parts of the book are about Pattie's childhood in Africa, her early adulthood (including the early years of her marriage to George), and her exotic adventure/spiritual travels around the world after her second divorce.

Unfortunately, this is not quite the book we Boyd admirers have long been waiting for and that is the fault of co-author, veteran journalist Penny Junor, whose writing is often rushed, disorganized, and cliched. I'm afraid Pattie once again deserved better than she got. (For instance, there is no mention, at least in the UK edition, of SHARP, an organization for co-dependents, which Pattie co-founded. Why was that left out? Why is this book so truncated? Shame on you, Random House/Headline Review!)

Still, Pattie is to be admired for her courage in standing up to the powerful men who tried, but ultimately failed, to dominate her, and for telling her story with grace -- but I feel she exercised too much discretion in this telling.

Pattie Boyd is not a groupie, or a call girl, or a sell-out. She is not only the greatest muse in music history, in this book she shows why so many of British rock's aristocracy have maintained their close friendships with her: she is a deeply spiritual, empathetic woman who, despite her tragedies, has maintained her sense of humor while learning to stand on her own two feet.

If you're an abused woman -- or an addict's enabler (also an abusive relationship) -- who is afraid to leave, or if you're struggling to rebuild your life after leaving your abuser or addicted partner, Pattie's story will not only give you hope, but guidance on your psychological recovery.

Well done, Ms. Boyd! (And please consider publishing a book of your marvelous travel photos and essays!)
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VINE VOICEon September 14, 2007
Having just read the biography of Phil Spector and the girlfriend of Lindsey Buckingham, I'm beginning to see a pattern. Rock Stars are narcissistic creatures who do what they want when they want, don't like no for an answer and want to be waited on hand and foot. Oh, one more trend. There are plenty of people willing to do that from wives, girlfriends, managers and roadies.

But this is a special book mainly because you are dealing with two very special musicians. Any Beatle is special and George appears to overall have been a special human being. Eric Clapton also has to go down in the Top 20 of musicians for his guitar playing and long history. Imagine what life is like to have been the inspiration of such classic songs, Layla, Wonderful Tonight, Something in the Way She Moves! Patty's life is very interesting although I wouldn't call it fascinating. She just happened to be at a place to view Pop History in the last half of the 20th Century and meet many of the people who influenced it, as well as partake in the drugs and drink that shaped it. In summary, George comes off as what the public saw: a quiet man with faults like others but a fairly even demeanor, a good chap. Eric, is passionate, but eventually cruel. It's often said that the ones you hurt the worst are the ones closest to you. That's the summary of this book. And Patty participates also by breaking hearts.

I too am surprised by the harsh comments of her by some reviewers. She was a beautiful model who inspired men, maybe no more so than Clapton who pursued her from his friend when still married. I wish there had been more pictures of her to see the appeal. What she does an excellent job of is showing what is behind the public persona of these guys. What was it really like? A series of highs and lows but due to the fascinating people, the highs were much higher. Unfortunately, the lows were much lower. There seems to be a lot of criticism for not making this a "tell all" with a lot of dirt. It's very clear this is a caring human being who stills cares for both men and chooses to draw the line on some private matters.

Now, to the criticism. Patty, thanks for the revisit to this fascinating period. But the book begins to read very slowly once she is through with George and Eric. Great, she went everywhere and met many people. There is no reason for this. We are interested in the George, Eric and Patty's recovery, but ultimately, not what sites she was fortunate enough to visit. This part makes me lower my rating from 5 to 4.

Overall, not a great piece of literature. But a great story of a great time with fascinating people. And for me that was quite enough to overcome the few weaknesses.
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VINE VOICEon September 13, 2007
Ultimately, the responsibility of the outcome of this book rests on Pattie Boyd's shoulders, but I can't help feeling that she could have used a better co-author here. There are so many problems with this book I'm not sure where to begin. It's unfortunate because I really believe that Pattie has an amazing story to tell.

Clinical is the best way I can describe the telling of this story. Pattie tells us that "this happened, this happened and this happened," but never gives us a real sense of what it was like to experience all these different things. I could accept that if chronologically she wasn't all over the board. One moment she's telling us about something that happened before she was married to George, jumps to something that happened after they were married, and then she's right back to before they were married.

I've seen some complaints about the name-dropping. Quite frankly, I'd be surprised if she didn't drop a few names. What bothered me was that I have never even heard of a lot of these people (sorry, but I'm just not as up as I should be on all the models, photographers and club owners that roamed around swinging London of the 1960's.)

There is something about the way she describes her relationship with George that left me feeling a bit cold. She doesn't even tell us when she knew she was in love with him. Based on what I read, their relationship seemed to be that of roommates. She paints a picture of him as being quite aloof and distant with her, yet quite joyful and generous with her family.

Then there's Eric. This is really were Pattie lost me. I'm still not sure what she saw in this guy that made her leave her husband (yeah, I know, he wrote a song about her...and?) He is not portrayed in a pleasant light at all. Pattie doesn't reveal too much here that wasn't previously known about Eric's drug and alcohol addictions. If anything, she makes it sound a great deal worse. Because of this, it made her come off as being quite stupid for hooking up with this guy. I laughed and did a bit of eye rolling when she talked about how, after seeing both Eric and her sister Paula struggle with heroin addiction, she decides it would be great fun to try heroin herself!!

I can only assume that she dictated her story to her co-author, who than put it into "book" format. I think a better co-author would have drawn a bit more out of Pattie and given us a more cohesive, introspective book. Again, I believe Pattie has an amazing story to tell, it just wasn't told here.
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on October 8, 2007
I had been fascinated with Patty Boyd forever, and built up such an image of her and what an awesome life she had. She must have been quite something: she was married to George Harrison AND Eric Clapton! They fought over her! They wrote some of the greatest songs ever recorded, inspired by her! But now, finally reading her story in her own words all I can think is - why? In her own account, she doesn't come off as especially smart, likeable, funny, or even kind. She was a model and a photographer, but even the pictures she provides aren't especially flattering.

I guess I wouldn't want a whitewash, but still I wish she could've had some more positive memories to share of two of my favorite musicians of all time. Wasn't there something fun or cool or wonderful about being married to George before he got all wacky with the meditation and the cheating? Didn't he ever do anything sweet or romantic? Wasn't it a hoot to hang out with the Beatles? What about Eric, wasn't there any time when he wasn't drunk or cheating on or totally ignoring her? Weren't there any cute little rituals, any tender moments in their life together?
And while I respect her decision not to share details of her sex life, there isn't much description of any kind of intimacy here at all.

In fact, the musical genius of these men seems almost an uninteresting detail to her, one that she doesn't appreciate and certainly doesn't illuminate for the reader in any way. The only thing she recounts with any apparent enthusiasm is some of the 'things' they gave her - a car, a cartier watch, rubies, a racehorse, a house. She also warms to the subject of how she got the shaft in her divorces. I have to say she came off as a bit mercenary.

Maybe a better collaborator could have teased out some details and stories that were more worthy of this presumably fascinating character and the famous men in her orbit. But I definitely prefer my illusions to this version of the truth.
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on September 22, 2007
Pattie Boyd's account of her life with George Harrison and Eric Clapton is shallow and disappointing. Many times throughout the book she mentions a topic with profound implications, yet fails to explore either the situation or the emotional impact. She briefly mentions infertility treatment during her marriage to Harrison, but doesn't discuss how this affected her until we read of Clapton's fathering a child while married to Boyd. She details Clapton's prodigious drinking in a factual manner, leaving the reader guessing about the hurt and despair one would assume she felt. Her descriptions of her own drinking and drugging reveal little insight into the fact that Clapton's substance abuse did not occur in isolation.

As a band chick from the 60s, I was hoping for a sense of the woman who inspired such magnificent music from two legendary figures. Boyd never goes beneath the surface, however, so I am still wondering what it felt like then and in retrospect, now, to be a musician's muse. Rarely do I get any sense from Boyd that either the music or the creative process of the musical icons enthralled her.
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on October 9, 2007
I once saw a fleeting image of Pattie Boyd next to George Harrison and thought, oh my god, she's exquisite! then of course , we all know the stories of George and Eric, and layla and i have always felt she must be such a magical woman to inspire that kind of love and passion.
I did learn a few things. 1. Her own childhood was devoid of any real parental love, so she was used to being a non entity, someone to just mirror whatever anyone else was feeling. 2. that sometimes when you grow up that way, with no identity, the only thing that matters later on is what you have, and where you go, and who you know. I said sometimes, obviously, it also creates people who are deep and wise.
Basically, after reading her book, you understand that it was never about Pattie Boyd, both George and Eric gave her qualities and she probably never had due to her beauty. Pattie doesn't say this, in fact Pattie says very little about anything except for
the clothes she wore, who designed them, where they ate dinner,
who was there that was famous in the 60's , 70's and 80's and you get the feeling she's repaying all those favors by name dropping,and MOST of the names are obscure designers or furniture makers or friends of the famous.
I wasn't looking for horrible sex scandals and respect her decision to remain quiet about that, but there is absolutely no introspection, no passion, no meat, and its obvious this book was written by going over her diaries and seeing where she had gone, where she ate , etc etc etc ad nauseam.
I think again, that its because as a child she had to be disassociated from her emotions in order to get on with it, and she simply became the type of person who went through life , doing things with really cool people, she was beautiful and in the right place at the right time. I do get the feeling there is more there, obviously, but i also don't feel she has the depth to bring it out.
as for George and Eric, i do believe that they loved her very much, yes, regardless of whatever they said later on. Its hard to know that from what she writes, but i did get the feeling that out of both of them Patti was Eric's real love, no matter what he says in the future, and For George, Patti was always someone he loved and cared for.
One thing is clear, that kind of self destructive love and manipulation from Eric with Pattie would be harder to pull off in today's self help, rehab culture consciousness. Skip this book. I love biography's but this one was torture to read. There is nothing here unless you love trivia about how the wealthy rock stars spent their time and who's houses they stayed at.
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on March 26, 2009
As a "just the facts, ma'am" laundry list of who, what, where, when, I guess this fills the bill. As a decent read -- whoo what a bore! I don't find Pattie, her family, her friends, even George or Eric likable characters as presented here. I usually devour books -- one every day or two -- but this one has dragged out for over a week. I'm slogging through, and finding so many other things more interested than finishing the darn thing. It's poorly written, there's no "story" to the story, and at this point I don't really care. I can't figure out what was so appealing about this woman. The idealist in me wants to believe that either George or Eric would require some sort of personality, something beyond looks, but maybe not. She is shallow (despite her claims that she turned the Beatles on to eastern mysticism/religion and all her many hobbies and interests), dull, and seems to have had no sense of herself. I guess it's supposed to be a "poor little rich girl" tale, but I have so little interest in or sympathy for this creature that it falls far short of even that mark.

Definitely not worth a purchase -- if you're a huge Beatles or Clapton fan, you might get some nuggets out of it, but otherwise, I'd say give this one a pass.
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on October 22, 2007
This book was awful. Not only does Pattie not understand chronological order, but she doesn't seem to know who her audience is. This book reads like she's trying to organize her diary. There's an awful lot of name dropping without characterization and the two subjects, George and Eric, that she should go into detail about, she doesn't.

Cynthia Lennon's book, John, was much better written. You walked away from that book not loving or hating the man more, but instead understanding him. It showed his human nature and it was clear until the very end that she loved him.

This book, on the other hand, drops several sentences of lip-service, but doesn't convey at all Pattie's emotions over leaving George. Nor does it make the reader understand the passion she felt for Eric. The whole book makes Pattie seem very shallow and it is hard to work out what she loved about these men. I also wonder what they saw in her other than a pretty face.
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on June 18, 2012
This was so boring I couldn't even finish it. I didn't care, because this book tells you nothing new.

George Harrison comes off as boring the way his ex writes him, Eric Clapton comes off like a pretentious, melodramatic, creep; and Pattie, well who knows or cares after awhile?

This book is all over the place, a paragraph jumps from one year to another. She drops names at a drop of the hat, yet "sadly" cant remember the name of the "fairy godmother" who gave Pattie her start in modelling. Guess she wasn't famous enough to bother to remember. Pathetic.

Pattie is also a snob, She rarely fails to mention who didn't go to private school, like she did. She also feels sorry for herself a lot. She likes to describe herself as incredibly shy, yet the next sentence talks about how she shines at parties.

If you want to read about what a rich woman buys and where she goes on her many vacations this book is for you. Maybe if I had all of the luxuries she had, that's what I might talk about too (although I hope not), but I sure wouldn't expect someone else to enjoy reading about it.

In short, she comes off like a shallow, indulgent, vain woman.
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on October 30, 2007
After seeing Eric Clapton on Larry King, and hearing Larry mention that Pattie Boyd wrote a book also, I decided I wanted to read her memoir first. What a total disappoinment! Granted, Pattie Boyd is not a writer and had Penny Junor assist, but in my opinion a fifth grader could have written a better book!

Being a child of the 60s I was very interested in what she may say because I assumed her life would have been very exciting. However, her book does not seem to get to the point - she writes pages of nonsense and then jumps from one subject to the next with no continuity. And some of the remarks she makes about the wives of the other Beatles show what a large ego she has. But I could tolerate that if at least the book was interesting. Patti Boyd managed to do the impossible - she made a book about the life with a Beatle and Eric Clapton sound boring!!

I lent it to a friend without telling her my thoughts and remarkably she felt the same way. Pattie Boyd would have been better off publishing her diary then this compilation of tidbits that seem to go nowhere.

Sorry I wasted the money. Hopefully Eric's book will be better.
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