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Wouldn't it be Nice: My Own Story Paperback – December 19, 1996

4.0 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This autobiography by the creative force of the Beach Boys follows Wilson's quick rise to worldwide fame, his descent into drug-assisted psychosis, and his subsequent (yet shaky) recovery. Coauthor Gold's background as a writer for People magazine is evidenced by individuals occasionally managing to somehow "laugh" or "shrug" an entire sentence. The book is effective in two areas, however. First, Wilson successfully evokes the pain caused by his estrangement from family and band members (his ex-wife refused to cooperate in the writing of the book, as did Beach Boys Mike Love and Carl Wilson, respectively Brian's cousin and brother). Second, the psychologist Eugene Landy, popularly perceived as an evil Svengali, is portrayed as a possible charlatan who nevertheless helped Wilson enormously. While this autobiography is as predictable as the C-Am-F-G7 chord progression, many fans of the Beach Boys will want to read this book and most won't be disappointed. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/91.
- John Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, N.J.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An express train to hell and back with the leader of the Beach Boys. Wilson begins with his darkest days, in November 1982. Then, weighing over 340 pounds, smoking six packs of cigarettes and snorting five grams of coke a day, failing to bathe for weeks at a time, ``I stank. I was dirty...I was insane.'' How did the founder of ``America's band'' reach this bottom? According to the equally frank life-review that follows, father Murry Wilson, a would-be but talentless composer, had a lot to do with it, taking out his frustrations on his sensitive son (born in 1942) through mind- twisting beatings and ridicule. And then there were the drugs and the relentless pressure to produce hit tunes; by the late 60's, Wilson, wealthy and renowned for such songs as ``Good Vibrations'' and ``I Get Around,'' was drifting into a paranoid schizophrenia that would envelop him for 15 years. Salvation finally came in the person of Eugene Landy, an unorthodox psychologist who took Wilson by the hand in 1983 and turned his life around through a rigorous program of diet, exercise, and therapy. Wilson devotes nearly half of his text to his resurrection, and it's an inspiring story (although recent moves by the other Beach Boys to sever him from Landy--for reasons Wilson ascribes to greed and jealousy--find the self-admittedly ``brain-damaged'' author unsure about his mental future). Most readers, though, will find of even greater interest Wilson's detailing of his early encounters with the Beatles, Elvis, and other rock luminaries; of his stormy relationship with the other Beach Boys; of his now-dead brother Dennis's ties to Charlie Manson; and, in a recurrent motif that illuminates his troubled tale, of how he goes about composing his exquisite music. A bold and genuinely affecting account by a founding father of rock 'n' roll: a must for popular-music fans. (Fifty-plus b&w photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (December 19, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747531455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747531456
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #920,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Lane on June 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
In fact it is pretty much assumed it was written mostly by Todd Gold with strong help from Eugene Landy, Brian's "doctor" portrayed as a messiah in the book. At the time of the orignal publication, the rest of the beach boys including Brian's own family were in a lawsuit against Landy alleging he used heavy psychotropic drugs to keep control of Brian. In court Brian testified he never even read the manuscript and more than likely Landy kept the manuscript under wraps. Brian later parted ways with Landy and has since spoken out against him. The contents of this book should be taken with a heavy grain of salt, as they may be falsified, and Landy's practices have since been viewed as NOT in Brian's best interest.
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By A Customer on December 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I found this an engrossing read. There was a lot to take in. Brian's father put him through a lot of hell, and when Brian finnally found something that made him happy, Captiol records nearly overworked him to death. I really liked reading about his encounters with other famous rock legends. Brian wasn't just intimidated by the Beatles. He was equally scared of the Rolling Stones. (He attenended some of the "Between the Buttons" sessions.) There's a lot of heart breaking stories. A story that kind of upset me was when he talks about the "Beach Boys Love You" album. Brian never really meant for the material to be heard. It was part of his therapy and he felt embarrased by the songs. After reading this book, I think Dr. Landy was benneficial to Brian in some ways. He made him much more healthy and got him back into making muisc. The only problem was he then went on to exploit his position. Someone should have stepped in in '85 when Landy ceased to be a therapist/ pshyciatrist and became a Sven Gali. With all that's happend to Brian since I hope we one day say a revised update. Other reviewers have talked about how Brian bad mouths his brothers in this book. I recommend people check out an interview/piece Rolling Stone did on Brian in 2000. It serves as a kind of sequel to this book. In the interview, Brian has much kinder words towards his brothers, particuarly Carl.
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Format: Hardcover
I assumed this book would be as uninteresting as the other rock star biographies and autobiographies that I've read; nothing could be further from the truth. While most musicians are working their careers, falling in and out of love, and meeting famous people, which might be interesting to live but not to read about, Brian Wilson was going mad as a hatter and then coming back--the man has things to write about. The book seems to be written very honestly, and it has the ring of truth throughout. As for the material on Eugene Landy, Brian Wilson still says positive things about him, and apparently still holds the view of Landy presented here. The book provides basically zero insight into Brian Wilson's ways of working--it's a book about his life, not his music. You get a detailed picture of what his decline was all about, very clear characterizations of Murry Wilson and the Beach Boys, and what seems to be an extremely honest self-portrait of Brian Wilson, hardly a weakness left unexposed. I'm not THAT huge a fan, actually, but I've always been curious about Brian Wilson's much-ballyhooed problems--I found the book fascinating, and I'd recommend the book even if just to satisfy your idle curiosity. If you are a fan, I'd suggest that this is a book you really have to read.
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Format: Hardcover
I had heard amusing stories about how messed up Brian Wilson was at one point, but until reading this I never realized how NOT funny his condition was! It must have been as painful writing it as it was living it. I dont think I've ever heard such brutally honest confessions and stories from such an important icon as Wilson is. Additionally, this is probably one of the best source for inside info on the Beach Boys, since Brian practically was the Beach Boys. I am aware of some other books being written, but who could tell a better story than the person who lived it? in this case this story cant be effectively told by anyone BUT Brian(...who else would know about what the voices in his head said, etc.) While reading, you get the imoression (actually its quite obvious) that this book was written during a time when relationships with the other bandmates were obviously strained, and it is particularly evident in the latter part of the book. Much of the bitterness is directed at Mike Love, perhaps justifiably so based on other accounts I've read about him. After reading, I'm not sure I agree totally with Dr. Landy's methods, but I do believe Brian wouldnt have been around to write this book were it not for Landy. This book could have ended with Brian's "resurrection" in 1983, all the events descrbed after that are really alot of bitterness and downright nastiness directed at the other Beach Boys. I'm not faulting Brian for this, it seemed to me that most of it was Landy's influence. It seemed like Landy's way of getting back at the other Beach Boys for exposing him as the fraud he really turned out to be at Brian's expense, and Brian ended up being sued over this book from what I understand.Read more ›
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