As a Nirvana fan I was interested in knowing more about the life of Kurt Cobain. This book details his life from the very beginning to his memorial services. I found his adolescense very interesting, especially when he first began playing guitar. I learned a lot about a musician I admire, though at times I think I learned too much. It is almost as though nothing he did in his life is sacred. Everything is shared here for the world to know. The book uses a lot of material from Kurt's journals, as well as information obtained through interviews with family and friends (inlcuding Courtney Love and Krist Noveselic). What I ultimately got out of reading this book is the knowledge that Kurt was an extremely tortured individual that never truly enjoyed life. I have a new appreciation for his musical genius but at the same time I have sympathy and understanding for why he chose to take his own life.
Clair R. reviewed Heavier than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain on
Helpful Score: 1
An incredibly well written biography. Powerful, detailed and most of all respectful to the memory of Kurt Cobain. Surprisingly candid and offers behind the scenes details on his life that make the terrible events seem almost inevitable. Brilliant!
The art of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain was all about his private life, but written in a code as obscure as T.S. Eliot's. Now Charles Cross has cracked the code in the definitive biography Heavier Than Heaven, an all-access pass to Cobain's heart and mind. It reveals many secrets, thanks to 400-plus interviews, and even quotes Cobain's diaries and suicide notes and reveals an unreleased Nirvana masterpiece. At last we know how he created, how lies helped him die, how his family and love life entwined his art--plus, what the heck "Smells Like Teen Spirit" really means. (It was graffiti by Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna after a double date with Dave Grohl, Cobain, and the "over-bored and self-assured" Tobi Vail, who wore Teen Spirit perfume; Hanna wrote it to taunt the emotionally clingy Cobain for wearing Vail's scent after sex--a violation of the no-strings-attached dating ethos of the Olympia, Washington, "outcast teen" underground. Cobain's stomach-churning passion for Vail erupted in six or so hit tunes like "Aneurysm" and "Drain You.")
Cross uncovers plenty of news, mostly grim and gripping. As a teen, Cobain said he had "suicide genes," and his clan was peculiarly defiant: one of his suicidal relatives stabbed his own belly in front of his family, then ripped apart the wound in the hospital. Cobain was contradictory: a sweet, popular teen athlete and sinister berserker, a kid who rescued injured pigeons and laughingly killed a cat, a talented yet astoundingly morbid visual artist. He grew up to be a millionaire who slept in cars (and stole one), a fiercely loyal man who ruthlessly screwed his oldest, best friends. In fact, his essence was contradictions barely contained. Cross, the coauthor of Nevermind: Nirvana, the definitive book about the making of the classic album, puts numerous Cobain-generated myths to rest. (Cobain never lived under a bridge--that Aberdeen bridge immortalized in the 12th song on Nevermind was a tidal slough, so nobody could sleep under it.) He gives the fullest account yet of what it was like to be, or love, Kurt Cobain. Heavier Than Heaven outshines the also indispensable Come As You Are. It's the deepest book about pop's darkest falling star. --Tim Appelo
The heartbreaking thing about this book (besides the obvious) is that when you read them detailing chronologically the months leading up to Kurt's suicide, you find yourself thinking "Oh no, he only has X months left; oh no, he only has X weeks left." When the timeline hit April, I had to put the book down, knowing what was coming.
What made the book stand out amongst so many others detailing Cobain's life is that it isn't about Cobain the superstar, or about how everyone in his life could have done more to prevent it, or about how Courtney Love was responsible. For once, you get a full picture of who Kurt Cobain THE PERSON was, and you had an understanding of why he killed himself. Or, if not why, you understand why he felt the way that he did. It's the only book I've read on the subject which doesn't place blame on anyone but Kurt Cobain for what a mess Kurt Cobain's life was. And that was refreshing. It's not an overly dramatic, sappy telling; it is detailed and matter-of-fact. All sentimentality (and if you are/were a Nirvana fan, you will have some), is filled in by the reader. Highly recommended for fans of music bios or Nirvana fans. Well done.