Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Book Review: Me by Elton John, narrated by Taron Egerton (audiobook)

At first I was a little disappointed that Elton John only narrated the introduction, not the entire audiobook, but I soon learned the error of my ways! Mr. Egerton was fantastic! I knew he was a great actor from having seen him play Elton John in Rocketman, but he really brought a new level to the book in his narration. In the Introduction, Mr. John spoke rather quickly and also without a lot of emotion or tonality. He was just... reading. Whereas Mr. Egerton was most definitely ACTING. He had dramatic pauses, long sighs, he can do American accents (although his Tina Turner left something to be desired), and it was a perfect audiobook narration. I wish he could narrate all my audiobooks from now on.

That said, this was also an example of the perfection of subject matter and medium. I think Mr. Egerton would be amazing narrating any book, but this was a truly ideal marriage of form and function. You can tell Mr. John's book is terrifically fun for him to work with. It's juicy and meaty with gossip and temper tantrums and humor and cocaine and famous people. It's really refreshing how open and honest Elton John is about his flaws, his mistakes, his massive screw-ups, even making himself the butt of jokes from time to time (unless he can make Rod Stewart the butt of the joke.) I really wasn't at all sure I would like this book, but just an hour into it, I knew it not only would this help me get through the tail end of my travel season and my last bit of driving with my sanity intact, but I would even thoroughly enjoy that last drive home.

Like any sane human, I am an Elton John fan, but by no means a mega fan. I'm not sure I owned any of his music until MP3s came along and I could pick individual songs (maybe I had a copy of "Don't Go Breakin My Heart" on a mix tape.) I vividly remember the surprise that the bookstore I worked in was carrying the special Princess Diana version of "Candle in the Wind" (we sold out the first day.) And in recent years I've really enjoyed "I'm Still Standing" as an occasional personal anthem when I'm feeling a bit beaten down by the world (also Bruno Tonioli from Dancing With the Stars is in the video which is hiLARious! But now I have at least 10 of his songs in rotation, and they're just great. Also, if you think you don't need this book because you've seen the movie, the movie only covers about the first third of the book. It ends in the early 80s. If you want everything since then, like when Michael Jackson crashed the dinner where Elton's now-husband was meeting his mother for the very first time, you need this book.

This book is published by Henry Holt, a division of Macmillan, my employer. I downloaded the eAudiobook from my local library via Libby/Overdrive.

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