Edmundson (English/Univ. of Virginia; The Death of Sigmund Freud: The Legacy of His Last Days, 2007, etc.) delivers a wily, playful, self-denigrating memoir.
In this erudite, coming-of-age riot, the author deftly navigates the purgatorial rites of passage between university and professional life, developing insightful social critiques and candid self-evaluations along the way. After graduating from a collegiate “hippie” hideout in Vermont (Bennington), the author drifted into seedy, mid-’70s Manhattan. There he met Pelops, his streetwise guide who disapproved of the author’s bourgeois character but took the young Edmundson under his gargantuan wing, shoveling generous piles of philosophy, particularly Marx, onto his plate. Pelops also hooked him up with a job as a roadie for rockers like Alice Cooper and the Allman Brothers at Roosevelt Stadium in New Jersey. As the memoir develops, however, the famous lyricists and musicians of the introductory chapters recede into the background. Edmundson writes that “rock recharges the Will…the appetites for pleasure, power, sex, fun, freedom, what have you.” Though the “kings of rock and roll” hand over the tools and lyrical schematics, writes the author, the rest is up to us. Inspiration springs from every page, as the author revels in his renaissance-manliness—“how many other bouncers stand at the door of the discotheque and memorize Browning poems?”—and proves to be an honest, poetic and hilariously entertaining narrator.
A near-perfect memoir.