Angels Dance and Angels Die: The Tragic Romance of Pamela and Jim Morrison

Patricia Butler, Author, Jerry Hopkins, Introduction by
Patricia Butler, Author, Jerry Hopkins, Introduction by Schirmer Trade Books $26.95 (275p) ISBN 978-0-02-864729-6
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
The legendary Doors vocalist lives on in this absorbing dual biography of Morrison and his common-law wife, Pamela, which puts the glamorously doomed couple's relationship in the foreground. Much of what Butler, a Chicago literary agent, describes has been noted in previous books, such as the 1980 bestseller No One Gets Out of Here Alive, by Danny Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins (who introduces this volume). We are told of Morrison's intelligence, his iconoclasm and his spectacularly early descent into alcoholism. We read of Pamela's beauty and of the self-destructive impulses that each brought out in the other. Some of Butler's material is new, however, including theories that Morrison was sexually abused as a child and a report that he had a homosexual dalliance with a nightclub owner. Butler writes with flair and sensitivity about her subjects, though she undermines herself when she purports to read the singer's mind (""God, she was beautiful! Why did he keep doing these things to her? Why did they keep doing these things to each other?""). More problematic is the lack of a clear sense of what made these people so important culturally. Butler, who spent six years writing this entertaining tale, will leave at least some readers wondering what it was about the self-proclaimed Lizard King and his muse that merits all the attention. Illustrations. (Jan.)
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