TAKE IT LIKE A MAN: The Autobiography of Boy George by Boy George with Spencer Bright

TAKE IT LIKE A MAN: The Autobiography of Boy George

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The meandering, overly long autobiography of a gender-bending singer whose mercurial career doesn't warrant such an exhaustive catalog. But for a fluke hit on the soundtrack to the 1992 movie. The Crying Game, Boy George's time has, by the hit parade stopwatch of pop music, long passed. With the help of journalist Bright, who is more ghost than writer, the singer of the trifling British quartet Culture Club has produced an account of the rapid rise and fall of his group and himself amid the decadent London club scene of the late '70s and early '80s. Constantly informed by the author's sexual orientation, this reads like a homosexual parody as it recollects the attire and style of each of its hundreds of flimsy characters. In between the numbing descriptions of bondage trousers and hennaed hair there are several funny and even tender moments. Boy George's upbringing in the working-class O'Dowd family produces some hilarious conflicts, and his failed romance with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss is still painfully close to the bone. One even gets the feeling that the reasons for the singer's battle with heroin are more interesting than first meets the eye. Culture Club's output, however, is insignificant in the canon of pop music, and Boy George's antics are tame by the standards of both his predecessors (David Bowie, Marc Bolan) and his successors (RuPaul, Madonna). Ultimately, his shallowness and excitability bury any vital signs beyond an occasional witty remark. Furthermore, for so emotional a personality, Boy George remains eerily unperturbed about the deaths of fellow club denizens who are falling victim to AIDS. This autobiography commits the worst crime its has-been subject can imagine: It's boring.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1995
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: HarperCollins