JIMMY BUFFETT: The Man from Margaritaville Revealed by Steve Eng

JIMMY BUFFETT: The Man from Margaritaville Revealed

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Jimmy Buffett, the author of pop music hits such as ""Margaritaville,"" chose wisely when he refused to authorize this rambling biography. Eng, author of The Satisfied Mind: The Country Music of Porter Wagner (1992), includes a letter from Buffett near the beginning of the book urging the author not to finish the then-uncompleted work. The letter's inclusion suggests that Eng has written a no-holds-barred biography--which might have worked even without the cooperation of its subject. But Eng is a ""Parrot Head,"" or devout Buffett fan, and so Buffett's lack of input in the book puts the author, and the reader, back in the 100th row. Buffett's music is heavily influenced by sailing, the Caribbean, and its history. Eng includes much to connect Buffett to lore of the last two centuries. But fanciful, unsubstantiated speculations and reckless leaps across history are more confusing than elucidating. Other more modern references are also stretches. One footnote compares Buffett to John Lennon because both had ""childhood seaport backgrounds."" Another section claims ""William Faulkner's beach-boy casualness was partly Buffett-esque--he went unshaven and wore a rope instead of a belt."" Eng includes short political and historical vignettes, such as the assassinations of Kennedy and King, to limited effect. Musings by Buffett and those who know him--musicians, former classmates--are often lifted from interviews with other journalists. The biography covers all the bases: family history, childhood, early struggle, musical success, the ""Parrot Head"" phenomenon, love and marriage, the successful fiction efforts, business deals. But Buffett and those around him never come alive. Descriptions of Buffett's prickly manager, Irving Azoff, are the most entertaining sections. Buffett's ""Parrot Head"" followers will certainly pick this up off the shelf. But many will probably put it right back down.

Pub Date: Dec. 20th, 1996
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: St. Martin's