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

Mike Dawson, Author . Bloomsbury USA $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-59691-476-6

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)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
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