FREDDIE & ME by Mike Dawson


A Coming-of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody
by & illustrated by
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Graphic memoir by a British lad who grew up obsessed by Queen and never grew out of it.

Eleven-year-old Dawson washed up on American shores in 1986, when he was interested in little beside battling with his sister over who was more all-important musically: Queen (his vote) or George Michael/Wham! (her weak competition). The cartoonist, creator of the comic-book series Gabagool!, strings together various life memories from an insecure childhood to an only mildly less insecure young adulthood, tracking along the way his obsession with Queen. High points included Dawson performing Queen songs at a talent show; the low point was probably being mocked by schoolmates after Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991. Credit should go to the author for not trying to make his life mirror too closely that of the complex (some would say pompous) arena-rock band—he doesn’t overdo his metaphor. Dawson’s artwork has a similarly unassuming quality, its slightly exaggerated style occasionally mindful of Peter Bagge’s Hate comics, but without the punk extremism. Occasional interludes imagine episodes in the career of George Michael (perhaps as a nod to the author’s sister?), but for the most part Dawson offers an uninterrupted flow of biographical data. Even though he’s supposedly the world’s greatest Queen fan, he never makes readers understand exactly what the band means to him. Long before the book is finished, his obsession with Queen seems more like a convenient hook than a topic he intends to explore in any depth.

Dull and uninspiring—could definitely use some of Freddie Mercury’s camp to liven things up.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59691-476-6
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2008