Email this review


The opening sentence of this book's afterword ""About the Author"" states that ""Rod McKuen's books of poetry have sold in excess of 16,000,000 copies in hardcover."" That should be the first fact cited in explanation of the failings of this book, which could have been a good and moving one--and still has its moments. McKuen, born in 1933, was the illegitimate son of a tender, feisty waitress/dance hall girl and a nameless, mysterious stranger, and his candor about this fact is engaging, seems genuine, and is bound to help others of the bar sinister persuasion. His lifelong yearning to identity his natural father, as a lost aspect of his own identity, is understandable; had the book been better disciplined and organized, less padded with cult trivia and condescending, inspirational asides to the fans. . . but then who needs to publish a compelling, true-life suspense story for the general reader when general readers are in the minority of McKuen readers? The chapters about McKuen's Depression childhood are, however, authentic in tone and moving; they bring real, not candy, tears to the throat and help elucidate the sounder side of this man's just-folks, introspective-drifter appeal. Unfortunately, McKuen, having used his private self as the source of his commercial persona, now confuses the two to frequently disastrous effect: ""I think it would have taken two loners to produce a son whose worn sneakers have taken him everywhere there is to go and who still goes on following strange streets in alien cities with no real destination in mind."" Except the b.s. list.

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 1976
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan