I can't count the amount of car journeys I had growing up when my father was playing Queen. My father is a massive Queen fan and admirer of Freddie Mercury (he even sprouts a Freddie Mercury style moustache). Sadly, I am the only other Queen
One of the main things I enjoyed was the fact it is very readable. The danger with autobiographies is that they can either contain too much (pointless) information and read like a textbook or they can be monotonous with "I did this.. Then I did this... Then I..." Hutton's work strikes a great balance between the two. Although a 'professional'* writer has helped, it feels very authentic as Hutton's story and I don't think it detracts in anyway from the book. My only criticism is that some parts read like a shopping list with "he bought... this which was really expensive and... and he bought so and so... " but I think that is just personal preference. *(does anyone know what they are doing?)
For those curious, I'll let you know what it covers. This autobiography gives more insight into Freddie, his personality and his antics than it does the band. There are very few behind the scenes glances into 'Queen', mainly because Hutton didn't spend a great deal of time with the band when it was being Queen. This probably isn't the best read if you just want all the inside details on Queen. I was surprised to learn that Freddie was not closer with the other bandmates but, I suppose, after spending so much time in the studios and on tour together a little time apart is refreshing. Having said that about the band, Hutton does cover Freddie's relationship with Monserrat Cabelle or Montsy as she was known by Freddie. I was hoping that it would address the factoid that Freddie refused to continue working with Michael Jackson because Jackson insisted on bringing animals into the studio but all Hutton suggests was that Freddie found MJ difficult to work with. (Perhaps someone can confirm or discredit this?)
I found reading about Freddie's final months and days very difficult to read. I am glad I stayed up through the night reading (and crying) until the last page because I doubt I could have found the strength to face reading the rest of the book. It is not a case of 'oh he died' peacefully and unexpectedly one day in his sleep. Hutton is very honest that Freddie's descent was protracted, painful and unglamorous.
On the other hand, this autobiography has many laugh out loud moments. There are a lot of anecdotes too which I now share with my parents that they seem to enjoy, more than my others anyway. Two of my favourites ones are that Freddie's pin up was Burt Reynolds and that Freddie bought Butler and Wilson jewellery; by sheer coincidence I have a few pieces and so now when I wear them I think of Freddie. I have more anecdotes but why spoil the book?
I usually read other reviews before I write my own. This mainly is to see if others shared 'my' opinion or if I missed anything and I have to say I was surprised to read about the whole Mary vs Jim controversy over Freddie's will and whether Hutton was 'cashing in'. For those who don't know, Mary Austin was Freddie's fiancé until Freddie confided he was gay. I'm not going to spend long on these controversies because, frankly, I'm not a historian - I don't have access to any additional facts other than my humble Sherlockian skills of abduction. I remember when my own grandmother died from cancer, and although I was ten, I remember relatives saying things they shouldn't have. I think that grief warps our emotions (and in turn our perception and reactions) and I don't think either of them are, or were, overtly reliable. Also, there is a noticeable absence of John Deacon in the post-Freddie "Queen" line up so a few Hutton criticisms could equally be levelled at May and Taylor. It all ends there as far as I'm concerned, no good is going to come of raking up that particular patch of time.
Overall, it was a really great book, a real roller-coster ride and is a must read for any obsessive Freddie/Queen fan. If you can buy the book, I would recommend getting a physical copy as the Kindle pictures are obviously in black and white. Do you have a favourite Queen or Freddie song or album or any memories connected to Queen? I'd love to hear from you! I'm going to leave you now with my all-time favourite song, how I wish I was Debbie Lang in this video.