Monthly Archives: August 2014

Bruce Springsteen To Publish Children’s Book

springsteen-outlaw-pete-bookAnother celebrity is penning another children’s book.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Bruce Springsteen is set to publish Outlaw Pete, due out November 4th. The picture book is based on The Boss’s 2009 song, also called Outlaw Pete. In case you you’re not familiar, the song tells the story of a bank-robbing baby:

Outlaw Pete…

He was born a little baby on the Appalachian Trail
At six months old he’d done three months in jail
He robbed a bank in his diapers and his little bare baby feet
All he said was “Folks, my name is Outlaw Pete.”

I’m Outlaw Pete!
I’m Outlaw Pete!
Can you hear me?

At twenty-five a mustang pony he did steal
And they rode around and ’round on heaven’s wheel
Father Jesus, I’m an outlaw, killer and a thief
And I slow down only to sow my grief

I’m Outlaw Pete!
I’m Outlaw Pete!
Can you hear me?

He cut his trail of tears across the countryside
And where he went, women wept and men died
One night he woke from a vision of his own death
Saddled his pony and rode her deep into the West
Married a Navajo girl and settled down on the res
And as the smoke fell he held that beautiful daughter to his chest

I’m Outlaw Pete!
I’m Outlaw Pete!
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?

Out of the East on an Irish stallion came Bounty Hunter Dan
His heart quickened and burdened by the need to get his man
He found Pete peacefully fishing by the river, pulled his gun and got the drop
He said, “Pete, you think you’ve changed, but you have not.”
He cocked his pistol, pulled the trigger and shouted, “Let it stop!”
He drew a knife from his boot and pierced Dan through the heart
Dan smiled as he lay in his own blood dying in the sun
And whispered in Pete’s ear, “We cannot undo these things we’ve done.”

You’re Outlaw Pete!
You’re Outlaw Pete!
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?

For forty days and nights Pete rode and did not stop
Till he sat high upon an icy mountain top
He watched a hawk on a desert updraft slip and slide
Moved to the edge and dug his spurs deep into his pony’s side

Some say Pete and his pony vanished over the edge
Some say they remain frozen high upon that icy ledge
The young Navajo girl washes in the river, skin so fair
And braids a piece of Pete’s buckskin chaps into her hair

Outlaw Pete!
Outlaw Pete!
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?

Frank Caruso will illustrate the picture book. Springsteen is just another one of the many celebrities and rock stars to pen a children’s book, in addition to Madonna, Keith Richards, and Jimmy Buffett.

 

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Review: 27

Recap: When pop music sensation Amy Winehouse died of an overdose a little more than three years ago, the world was stunned — and then it wasn’t. Yes, the British singer was a 27-year-old, whose music was just starting to gain popularity in the United States. But ultimately, it was clear that Winehouse had been down a destructive, drug-consuming and alcohol-consuming path for years. Her singing voice had gotten worse. Her body had become visibly weak. She was in the media often for doing crazy and bizarre things, and her substance abuse problem was no secret.

But it resulted in an outcome that could either be considered morbid or legendary: she entered “The 27 Club.” That is to say, she “joined the club” of other famous rock stars and musicians who have also died at 27. The other big names in the club include Brian Jones, of The Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison of The Doors, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain. 27 explores the “club,” putting into perspective whether famous musicians are more likely to die at that age for some reason, and if so, why, or if it’s just coincidence.

The author’s point of view? Mostly coincidence. But he researched the backgrounds of each of these six most notable members of the “club,” examining their relationships with their parents, with drugs and alcohol, with sexuality, and with fame and success at a young age. He more or less explains that anyone who achieves such success so early in life may be more inclined to die young — especially when issues with confidence, substance abuse and family are at play.

Analysis: The research done for this nonfiction book is extensive, as one would expect from acclaimed biographer Howard Sounes, and that research proves how many things these celebrities had in common — aside from their innate musical talent.

As Sounes points out the similarities between these musicians, it’s less surprising their lives would lead to same ultimate outcome. Many of them had terrible relationships with their parents. All dabbled in drugs and alcohol at a young age, and were equally as experimental sexually. Most of that stemmed from self-esteem and confidence issues — not thinking they were good enough, scared to be alone, stage fright. Some even suffered from mental health problems, like Brian Jones, who was said to be bipolar. Most of them had already peaked professionally and had been kicked out of their bands, given horrible performances, and been arrested several times.

The book explores their deaths as much as it explores their lives. Brian Jones drowned in a pool after a night of drinking and drugs. Jim Morrison, after taking heroin and laying in a bathtub. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, overdoses. Amy Winehouse, alcohol. Kurt Cobain, the only suicide. But there are dozens of theories about how each of these people died  — murder, being the primary suggestion.

The author suggests it’s no surprise they died so young because by 27, most of them had lived full lives, accomplishing and going through more than what most people achieve in a lifetime. Whether you’re a big music fan or not, 27 is more than worth a read, with its six true tales of life, success and death.

Get 27 in hardcover for $18.74.

Or get it on your Kindle for $12.99.

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Movie vs. Book: Silver Linings Playbook

***Spoiler Alert: some spoilers are included in this review. 

When Pat returns home to Philadelphia after some time away in a mental institution, there’s a rough adjustment period to say the very least. He’s moved back home with his parents; his dad won’t speak to him; his wife is now his ex-wife with a restraining order; and he can’t remember why any of this happened. If you’re familiar with the story line in Silver Linings Playbook, but a lot of this sounds off to you, it’s probably because you’ve seen the movie and haven’t read the book. Spoiler alert: the book and movie are very different.

In the novel by Matthew Quick, Pat has been away in a mental institution for about four years. In that time, his wife has divorced him and filed a restraining order, his friends have had children, and he has no recollection of what he did or why any of this happened. It takes further therapy to help him remember that he caught his wife cheating on him and then nearly beat the other man to death. But in therapy, he also recognizes he was a bad husband and that his ex had her reasons for doing what she did. With his focus on winning back his ex, he doesn’t know what to do when he meets Tiffany, a girl who’s just as crazy as he is… maybe.

Tiffany’s husband died, and that caused her to go on a bender of sleeping with many men. She pursues Pat but in an odd way — running alongside him most days, but not saying anything, following him around. But as time goes on and they become friends, Tiffany offers to pass letters between Pat and his ex-wife, Nikki. In turn, he must compete in a couples dance competition with Veronica.

Most of this is the same as in the movie, but the novel is much darker. In the movie, Pat has and his parents have a great relationship. Despite a few disputes, they are a wonderful support system for him, funny and happy people who still think the world of him. In the novel, Pat and his father do not get along. His parents separate for a while, causing his mother to drink. Not to mention, since the novel reveals Pat’s inner thoughts — it’s written in first-person — the reader also notices how many psychological problems Pat has. Even the plot line between Pat and Tiffany is different in the book than the movie. In the movie, Pat learns that Tiffany is the one writing letters to him and not Nikki, he more or less has an existential crisis. In the movie, he finds it romantic and falls in love with her.

The movie is funny, lighthearted, and has a lot of — dare I say it? — silver linings. The book has those silver linings too, but they’re more subtle and only come after the characters have been through an excessive amount of pain. Neither the book nor movie is bad, just different. While the book is darker, it makes the ending that much more powerful and satisfying, instead of romantically expected.

Get The Silver Linings Playbook [movie tie-in edition] in paperback for $8.52.

Or get it on your Kindle for $4.99.

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