Wild, who's written companion books to the sitcoms Friends and Seinfeld, doesn't pretend to any objectivity on the subject of Neil Diamond-over the years, he's interviewed the singer-songwriter for Rolling Stone, written liner notes for a retrospective box set, even produced an episode of Behind the Music. So this isn't so much a biography as a book-length case of pure, unapologetic fandom that traces every step of Diamond's life, from his childhood in Brooklyn and his rise to fame in the 1960s and '70s to his most recent comeback albums. (Wild is not, however, critically blind; an attempt to watch the film of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, for which Diamond wrote the soundtrack, ends in frustration.) The cutesy references to song titles can get annoying-Wild runs the phrase "I'm a Believer" as a self-description into the ground-but perceptive insights into the biographical circumstances of Diamond's artistry abound. If you are not a Neil Diamond fan already, this book is not likely to change your mind, but Wild knows he's preaching to the converted: "If you hate Neil Diamond," he jokes, "then you may actually hate yourself." (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
One fan’s personal biographical portrait of the legendary singer-songwriter that speaks to the “condition” of being a Neil Diamond fanatic
Neil Diamond is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of the last few decades. Spanning many music genres, Diamond's career has endured since the 1960s. However, it was not until the last ten years that Diamond has received the recognition he deserves. Wild, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and a TV critic, pens a tribute to Diamond. While partly autobiographical, the book also addresses Diamond's life, primarily focused on his professional career, i.e., songs, albums, and performances. Over the years, at least six biographies have been written on Diamond; this book fails to offer a new or a unique slant. Wild's inclusion of his own experiences and overzealous praising of Diamond do little to enhance the dull text. All in all, this biography is not a necessary purchase, especially for libraries with other studies of Diamond, like Laura Jackson's Neil Diamond: His Life, His Music, His Passion or Diana Karanikas Harvey and Jackson Harvey's Neil Diamond. Not recommended.
“An enjoyable read, a highly personal take on ‘the Jewish Elvis.’ Aside from revealing the subject of his extended essay as something of a contrarian and more down to earth than even a fan would expect, Wild makes many interesting comments about critics, hipsters and their influence on the way cultural history in the 20th century was written.”
Jewish Herald-Voice, 10/22/09
“A tribute—no, more than that, it’s a love letter—to Neil…Wild is the ultimate (literate) fan of ‘the Jewish Elvis.’ And if you think of Diamond’s lyrics as poetry…then this book is for you."
Midwest Book Review
“David Wild has interviewed Neil Diamond for Rolling Stone and written the liner notes to several of his anthologies, so is the perfect choice for chronicling his life and times. Perfect for any popular music or general lending library.”
American Profile, 1/10/2010
“A witty, heartfelt and insightful biography-tribute to the Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter.”
Florida Jewish Journal, 2/3/10
“Wild has fully succeeded in setting forth the life and experiences of Neil Diamond…The result is a warm-hearted portrait of Diamond that will appeal to lovers of music and to a broader audience as well.”
- Da Capo Press
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Meet the Author
David Wild, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, is a music, film, and television journalist, and an Emmy-nominated television writer. Wild lives in Los Angeles.
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