Author: Elton John
Genre: Non-Fiction, Music, Memoir, Autobiography
Publish Date: October 15, 2019
Date Read: October 22-25, 2019
Number of Pages: 354
Summary on the Inside Flap:
“ ELTON JOHN is the most enduringly successful singer-songwriter of all time. His life is extraordinary, his seven decades (so far) packed with incredible highs and lows. Now, in his own words and with his usual honesty, he shares his story—every hilarious, heartbreaking moment.
He reveals the truth about his childhood growing up in the London suburb of Pinner and his difficult relationship with his parents. Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with unlikely dreams of pop stardom. By the age of twenty-three, he was performing his first gig in America, facing an astonished audience in high bright yellow dungarees, a star-spangled T-shirt, and boots with wings. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.
Me is full of drama, from the early rejection of Elton’s work with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and George Michael to disco dancing with the Queen; from suicide attempts to a secret drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.
Elton also writes powerfully about getting clean and setting up his AIDS foundation. He describes finding true with David Furnish, holidaying with Versace, and singing at Princess Diana’s funeral. And he pinpoints the moment he realizes that he wants to be a father and his life changes once again. Joyously funny, entertaining, and at times deeply moving, Me will take you on an intimate journey with a living legend.”
I have probably been a fan of Elton John since the day I was born, all because of my mom. Originally it had been my mom’s mom who was a fan of his and eventually my mom became a fan of his when she was a teenager. When I was younger, my mom played Elton John’s music almost exclusively. Even in my dad’s car, he had the Captain and the Kid album that we listened to most of the time.
The very first concert I ever went to was the Red Piano when I was five. I had even written a card for Elton John, which my mom and I had given to the security guards. I don’t know if it ever got to him though. I can still remember my mom covering my eyes whenever certain videos came up on the screen behind the piano. We were in one of the front rows and the first few rows got to go up on the stage. My mom was carrying me and I remember Elton John himself waving at me. Or at least in my general direction.
Since then I have been to many of his concerts. This year alone I saw him at the Staples Center, the Forum, and Les Arènes de Nîmes. Along with that, my mom and I got to see the premiere for the live version of Rocketman and my mom managed to win tickets to the iHeartRadio interview he did for his book. Naturally, my favorite movies are The Lion King and Rocketman. I’ve loved The Lion King since I was two, and I really loved Rocketman.
I absolutely loved the book of course. There were definitely a couple points where I found myself laughing, points that were heartfelt and gave me chills just reading them, and points that had brought me to tears.
I really liked the first few chapters though their pace felt a little bit slower than the rest of the book. First of all, it sets a bit of a base for the rest of the book. It also shows you the origin of his love for different stars who were famous at the time and to whom he eventually befriended. Very few people get the chance to not only befriend their icons but to also surpass them.
Throughout the entire book, I enjoyed how honest it really felt. He did not sugarcoat how bad things got when he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol or how toxic his relationships were. He didn’t sugarcoat how lonely and horrible he had felt at the time.
Towards the end, it was really nice to see the transformation that occurred once he finally admitted he needed help. After going to rehab and taking the break he needed, he found a purpose in making the AIDS foundation. And once he got with David Furnish, he was finally happy and in a healthy relationship.
There were certain parts in the book that gave me chills. I have had different emotional reactions to books before, but this is the only book that has ever given me chills. The first time I got chills was when he talked about John Lennon’s death and the funeral. He recounted the service they held in Melbourne while people gathered in Central Park for the memorial. Reading about how Bernie and Elton had written Empty Garden for John and how, years and years later, when he sang Empty Garden at one of the Vegas shows, he still found himself tearing up.
I also got chills while reading about all the horrible ways that Ryan White had been treated once he was diagnosed with AIDS. Ryan’s whole story was extremely sad. All of the things he went through and how weak he had gotten by the end of his life were horribly sad. When Elton John described Ryan’s funeral, I could feel myself start to tear up, especially when he talked about how the lyrics of “Skyline Pigeon” fit the occasion.
Almost each of the deaths he talked about brought tears to my eyes. The heartfelt way he talked about so many of these people was really sad. Especially ones like Freddie Mercury, Gianni Versace, or Princess Diana. The way his parents treated him at so many points also brought tears to my eyes. He went through so much and most people only knew the tip of the iceberg.
There was one part of the book that really made me cry though. That was when « Back to the Island » by Leon Russell started playing on David’s iPod. Elton began reflecting and remembering the very beginning of his rise to fame, when he first sang at the Troubadour. Or when he toured for Leon Russell. I really started crying though when he talked about all of the “ghosts” in his memories. The people he had idolized who died of old age. The people he loved who were murdered. The people he loved who had died before they should have.
It take a lot to write in a way that can give a reader chills and bring them to tears and this book definitely did that. I don’t usually care much for non-fiction, but this book still captured my attention a great deal. I definitely recommend that anyone reading this should go and pick up a copy of the book.
"There's really no point in asking what if? The only question worth asking is: what's next?"