Rating: 1 Star
I apologize in advance for the language I may use as this review progresses, or the language of my initial short 'review', a brief sentence or two I posted on Goodreads as soon as I finished the book. But seriously. Eff this guy.
I have always felt that I am not meant for Generation Y, but Gen X. I missed it by only two years and have always had a deep affinity for Nirvana, largely due to my introduction early on by my Uncle Kraig, only roughly a decade older than I. While I listened to New Kids on the Block faithfully, there was something about Kurt's voice that always drew me in. I was 11 when he died and I remember watching MTV's breaking news running on repeat, Kurt Loder telling me time and again that the body of Kurt Cobain had been discovered.
I still recall with great clarity seeing the footage of throngs of fans gathering, in tears, some hysterical; Courtney's voice reading his note out loud to them, all of it. I remember even at that young age knowing what I was witnessing was very important, though at the time I did not yet understand why.
Fast forward 20 years and we have Charles Cross STILL cashing in on Kurt's name and giving Courtney positive attention/publicity. I will read anything and everything about Kurt that continues to be published (except his Journals, which I own but will never read). Yet THIS guy, making a buck off his loose connections to one of the greatest musicians of all time...just, fuck this guy.
Cross addresses several areas of popular culture that still are impacted by the short life of Cobain and the even shorter span of his music career. But it does not take a genius, or this doofus making money, to tell us why Kurt matters. He matters because he was talented, and we were privy to just a tiny of sliver of what he was capable of. He matters because we will never know what could have been. He matters because he was a human being with his own demons and struggles, played out on a very public stage. He matters, period.
In the end, I freely admit that I do not believe Kurt killed himself. I am wary of any book (Heavier than Heaven, which I read) that comes out with Courtney's stamp of approval. I am not typically a conspiracy theorist (except for JFK because come on, no way did Oswald pull that off alone), but there is something there we do not know. And maybe it is not ours to know, the fans who still crave any scrap of information, any rough recording, practice session, anything of Kurt - though I personally have no desire to see the newly developed crime scene photos that somehow sat in evidence for the last twenty years and no one thought it was necessary to take a look.
By the way, Cross also mentioned Adele frequently, who I dig. But for him to say that 21 might be as good as Nevermind (or something to that effect, I was seeing red so I don't recall his exact verbage)? No. Nevermind is not even my favorite Nirvana album (In Utero is) and still, no.
If you are like me and deeply love Nirvana but are suspicious of his death, have at it but be aware of Cross towing the party line about Kurt's 'suicide'. It is a short text and won't take long. You'll roll your eyes at parts. especially the stretches he takes to connect Kurt to current music - namely hip-hop. But please, if you even have the slightest doubt about Kurt's death, do not take what Cross says in this book or parts of Heavier than Heaven as absolute fact.
And just for good measure, I leave you with this: