Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Miss O'Dell" by Chris O'Dell and Katherine Ketcham

Have I mentioned how much I love the library?  I'd shout if from the roof tops if I could.  (Or if I had been drinking like a frat boy...and not scared of heights...)  My library puts together several different displays each month and if I have time I try to peek at them every so often.  I found "Miss O'Dell" on a Grammy Awards display and picked it up on a whim.  I'm glad I did.

Summary:  Chris O'Dell spent the golden era of rock and roll as a cross between a super groupie and an inside man for some of the biggest rock groups of the 60s, 70s and 80s.  After a chance meeting with a music bigwig at a party in LA, twenty something Chris O'Dell packed her bags, moved to London and finessed her way into a job working with the Beatles at their Apple label.

O'Dells's appetite for drugs and alcohol combined with her self-described inability to say no catapulted her into the inner circles of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and other high profile bands of the 60's through the 80's.  "Miss O'Dell" is a collection of O'Dells more shocking memories of life at home and on the road with rock's greatest.

My Thoughts:  Do you ever read Perez Hilton or watch an episode of TMZ, thoroughly enjoy it, then feel sort of greasy for enjoying it as much as you did once its over?  That's exactly how I felt about this book. "Miss O'Dell" is a rock and roll tell all on the big bands of the past, going into the lurid and absolutely entertaining history of who slept with the most groupies (the Rolling Stones), who did the most drugs ( the Rolling Stones) and who was a total asshat behind closed doors (see: every one, but mostly Eric Clapton.)

While I'm not convinced that the stories in the book were 100% accurate (O'Dell imbibed an amazing amount of coke and liquor during most of the story) I think that the author believes the stories are accurate and told them as she remembered them with only minor twisting to make herself look better than perhaps she was.  This made the book feel genuine to me, which in turn led me to see Chris O'Dell in a sympathetic light.  She may have been a ruthless social engineer who used any means necessary to get into the inner circle of rock's elite, but she was an endearing social engineer and I ended up rather liking her even when she did something awful (sleep with her BFF's Beatle husband), stupid (piss off her other BFF's alcoholic guitar legend husband over and over) or really stupid (allow her doped up husband to drive the car with her infant son in the back).  On second thought, maybe I didn't like her....maybe I pitied her so I tried not to judge her quite so harshly.

"Miss O'Dell" focused on the people behind the legends and was at some of musics most historic events.  The story telling method of writing was very cleverly done and let the reader feel as if they were experiencing the momentous events as Chris did.  Sing in the chorus of Hey Jude?  Sure!  Snort some blow with Freddie Mercury?  Ok!

I also enjoyed Chris' personal story woven in and out of the famous ones.  Chris didn't shy away from admitting to her problems with drugs and alcohol, nor did she shy away from detailing her multiple rock bottoms.  Her honesty about herself in these moments had me rooting for her to come clean and make something of herself at the end.

Overall I enjoyed this book.  It was easy to read, seriously entertaining, and kept the celebrities just mean enough that I wasn't bothered by their darkest moments being aired by someone they once trusted.

Rating:  If you're at all interested in celebrity gossip or rock and roll, check this book out.

Also Read By This Author:  N/A

Reviewed By:  Tami

Side Note:  After reading this book I'm curious to read "the other side" of the stories.  Look for a review on autobiographies by Eric Clapton and Patti Boyd coming soon.

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