ANGELS DANCE AND ANGELS DIE by Patricia Butler

ANGELS DANCE AND ANGELS DIE

The Tragic Romance of Pamela and Jim Morrison
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 How one views this gossamer-thin account of the doomed Doors frontman and his equally troubled common-law wife rests largely on one's (forgive the expression) ``perception of the Doors.'' This book will be tonic to those eager for more dish on the man they regard as the Rimbaud-esque cynosure of the angst-filled '60s generation. Those baffled by Morrison's fame--particularly the respect he received as a poet--will find this book supports, quite unintentionally, their contentions as well. It's not that Butler (who coauthored the 1980 Morrison bio No One Here Gets Out Alive with Danny Sugerman) didn't do her homework; among the people she interviewed and sources she consulted are the Elektra Records A&R tyro Jac Holzman and the surviving members of the Doors, school and police records, and even medical journals. The problem rests chiefly with Butler's subject. This story has in large part been told many times before, from many angles, and often to better effect. Readers, whether Doors fans or not, will have a tough time piecing events together chronologically, as this narrative only sketchily covers the background events that shaped and defined Jim and Pam's world. Additionally, Butler seems to cast a sentimental and too often uncritical eye on the ``tragic lovers' '' relationship, neglecting to acknowledge that the two were essentially beautiful booze- and drug-addled twentysomethings with money to burn, and that their fatal flaw was not so much being at odds with the material world as it was never having been forced to confront it without help from agents, roadies, groupies, or sycophants. The Doors' keyboardist and co- founder (with Jim), Ray Manzarek, claims that Pamela and Jim will ``go down in history as great lovers,'' and that their tale recalls Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard. Perhaps one could argue that a more fitting, albeit less flattering, comparison might be Sid (Vicious) and Nancy (Spungeon).

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-02-864729-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1997