You know when writers and musicians and directors and restaurateurs and particle physicists claim not to read reviews of their own work? They’re lying. At least I hope they are, because they’d be missing gems such as this, from Amazon reviewer Mary B Jennings of Memphis, Tennessee, who also has firm views on a doll piano and a Harry Potter colouring book:
Tim Footman’s nose is long and he wears a trussMs Jennings does raise a useful point about the balancing act that all writers must negotiate, between bamboozling their readers and insulting their various intelligences. But am I the only hack who “manages to talk both down and up to his audience”? OK, so I got it wrong for those who know what sake is, but surely she’s being solipsistic (HA!) if she thinks her own personal checklist of knowledge and ignorance is replicated precisely for everyone else who read the book. That said, I must thank her for one thing: from now on, the phrase “a monument to Tim Footman’s self centered-ness” will be plastered on everything, from book to cheese sandwich, that I create. Starting now.
This is the worst biography I’ve ever read. The facts check out, and there are plenty of insightful quotes, but Tim Footman seems determined to come off as a pedantic elitist, and there is no end to his arrogance. He is unsatisfied with looking down his long nose at anybody who likes (or dislikes) Leonard Cohen, but he never misses a chance to slam Cohen for his early lack of success as a poet and musician, his tumultuous relationship with all women in general, and his drug use. Gee, a musician who had a lot of sex and did a lot of drugs. Imagine! Your honor, I suggest we string this man up by the nearest tree! Footman also manages to talk both down and up to his audience, no doubt a remarkable feat, but hardly one that will win supporters. He uses words like “solipsistic” and then, almost in the same breath, explains to us that Sake is Japanese rice wine. In short, this book is not a biography of Leonard Cohen at all, but instead a monument to Tim Footman’s self centered-ness. I want my money back.