Freddie & Me: A Coming-of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody

Overview

High Fidelity meets Wayne?s World in this utterly charming graphic memoir about a young man?s life-long obsession with the rock band Queen.
All of us have had that one band with which we identify, the band that was always there for us during good times and bad. For Mike Dawson it's always been Queen and Freddie Mercury. Not unlike ?Bohemian Rhapsody,? Freddie & Me takes readers on a rock-opera-like journey?from Mike?s childhood in the UK, through high school in New Jersey, ...

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Overview

High Fidelity meets Wayne’s World in this utterly charming graphic memoir about a young man’s life-long obsession with the rock band Queen.
All of us have had that one band with which we identify, the band that was always there for us during good times and bad. For Mike Dawson it's always been Queen and Freddie Mercury. Not unlike “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Freddie & Me takes readers on a rock-opera-like journey—from Mike’s childhood in the UK, through high school in New Jersey, and into the nineties, when grunge ruled the day and Queen was terminally uncool. As Mike works to navigate the trials and tribulations that accompany the road to adulthood (with Queen behind him every step of the way), he must grapple with the fears we all find ourselves facing: committing to one person for the rest of our lives, pursuing our dream job, coming to terms with our familial responsibilities, and even facing our own mortality. With humor, sensitivity, and some wonderfully imagined appearances by Freddie Mercury, Brian May, George Michael, and Andrew Ridgeley (among others), Freddie & Me is a touching reminder of how our favorite music is the soundtrack for so many of our most important memories and moments. And how one note can bring them all flooding back.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Dramatic, affecting...the memoir features interesting passages dealing with the nature and reliability of memory. Drawn with care and affection, the images in Freddie & Me are charmingly individual.” —Contra Costa Times

“Rawkin'...undeniably contagious…for Fans of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Dawson's black-and-white artwork is smoothly paced, fluid caricature in the vein of Joe Sacco or Alex Robinson, and his narration neatly evokes the hyperdramatic worldview of a teenager. Anyone who was ever obsessed with a creator will recognize the whimsical story.” —Publishers Weekly

"A gently nuanced autobiography...[filled with]candor, sweetness, and emotional insight. For teens who have found one particular song or singer to provide the theme music for their lives, as well as for budding artists, Dawson’s story is, indeed, rhapsodic.” —School Library Journal

“Graphic novels rarely come more deeply personal than Dawson’s autobiographical chronicle. Anyone who has ever obsessed over a music icon, be it rock group or charismatic crooner, should identify with Dawson in this poignant, charming memoir.” —Booklist

Publishers Weekly

It's usually wise for a memoirist to have either an intrinsically interesting life or unusual sensitivity to the meaning of personal experiences. Dawson, unfortunately, has neither. The premise of his comics memoir is, as he puts it, that "when I think of Queen I can remember my whole life": he's been obsessed with the British rock band and its late front man, Freddie Mercury, since he was a child living in England, and they're the madeleine that triggers memories of his life's significant events. But he barely explains why they mean so much to him, other than that they rock (Mercury's sexuality is mentioned briefly, once), and his recollections are the common stock of geeky, misunderstood adolescent male cartoonists. Dawson's black-and-white artwork is smoothly paced, fluid caricature in the vein of Joe Sacco or Alex Robinson, and his narration neatly evokes the hyperdramatic worldview of a teenager; some of the individual anecdotes he recalls are amusing, as when he imagines the breakup of Wham! or shows himself as a 10-year-old belting out "Bohemian Rhapsody" a cappella at a talent show and being hustled off stage. While Dawson rambles at times, anyone who was ever obsessed with a creator will recognize some of the whimsical story. (June)

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Library Journal

In this black-and-white autobiography, Dawson lives his life to the music of his favorite band, Queen-specifically, their operatic megahit "Bohemian Rhapsody," which provides the book's structure. The first section, "The Ballad," relates Dawson's childhood in England; his first exposure to Queen via, of all things, the video for "I Want To Break Free," featuring singer Freddie Mercury as a vacuuming housewife; and his family's move to the United States. "The Opera" details Dawson's emotional teen and young adult years, as he finds love and follows his interest in cartooning, and Mercury's death hits him hard. Finally, in "Hard Rock," Dawson revisits England, marries, and deals with a death in his own family. Beyond the autobiography, the book illustrates the roles music plays in a fan's life-as a background for other events and a trigger for memory but also as something that can mirror, affirm, clarify, and amplify our emotions; energize and inspire us; and tell us a story. Dawson's portrait of himself as a fan is easily relatable; his interesting play with the comics form more than balances a few dull spots. Recommended for all collections-likely to be of most interest to adults.
—Steve Raiteri

School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up -As a boy in England, Dawson saw the rock group Queen on television; his older brother offered him a cassette of the groupa's Frankie Goes to Hollywood album and an obsession was born. In his first full-length book, he gives readers a gently nuanced autobiography in which Queena's lead singer, Freddy Mercury; Mikea's little sister, Sarah; their grandmother; and of course Mike himself undergo many of lifea's stunning changes: emotional independence, self-expression, illness, and loss. When the family leaves England to live in New Jersey, Dawson imports his devotion and spreads his enthusiasm for Queen among his new schoolmates. As an adult, he re-creates these early- and middle-adolescent years with candor, sweetness, and emotional insight. His black-and-white images depict highly individualized characters-including the wide-nosed, orthodontics-wearing author-and panels are constructed to great effect. For teens who have found one particular song or singer to provide the theme music for their lives, as well as for budding artists, Dawsona's story is, indeed, rhapsodic.-Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia

Kirkus Reviews
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. Agent: P.J. Mark/McCormick & Williams Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596914766
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 5/27/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Dawson, born in 1975, immigrated to the United States from the UK in 1986. In 2002 he began the critically acclaimed humor comic-book series Gabagool!, and was nominated for the Ignatz award for Promising New Talent. Mike’s comics have appeared in a number of popular anthologies. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn.

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