Book Description

From Publishers Weekly Meltzer (A Whore Just Like the Rest), who has pioneered rock 'n' roll criticism since the 1960s, explores the intricacies of growing old while looking back on some of the highs and lows of the years that he can remember. Penned in his usual out-of-the-blue writing style, these poems, essays and haikus seem to all blend into one long rant at times. But that's by design, since Meltzer's credo on aging argues that people should get everything out of their systems before time runs out. 'The Wisdom in Our Underwear,' a far-out take on the 20th century, is both entertaining (on 1984: 'Reagan had to be Prez; the Olympics had to be staged in L.A.... There was no irony left in the world') and stimulating, if not hard to follow at times. Still, saying that anything that happened after 1969 has been off 'the frigging map' does show a hint of '60s smugness, especially for someone who drops pop culture references from the 1970s through the '90s throughout his book. His 'musings' on old age are basically a collection of journal entries on what he does, or did, as well as people he has known. Among these ruminations are some nuggets of truth about aging, like his football analogy that once a person hits a certain age, life's playing field gets shorter and you have to settle for 'three yards and a cloud of dust' instead of '80-yard passes.' The book's narrative structure supports this thought; plow through the parts that strike your fancy and for the rest throw a Hail Mary pass and hope for the best. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Read more From Booklist Meltzer's agent once wanted to turn him into 'the new Charles Bukowski.' Catch was, he would have to 'be and behave like an 'old curmudgeon.'' No dice then, but now, at 58, though Meltzer still doesn't cop to being old, he has noticed things . . and forgotten others, which induces 'Autumn Rhythm,' a rant in his finest and funniest manner, an epical vernacular monologue with stylistic roots in nineteenth-century humorists Bill Nye, Artemus Ward, and Mark Twain. The piece is, of course, on aging, a subject Meltzer's apparently absent-minded self-interruption and digression suit to a tee. The other long pieces here vary the theme. 'The Wisdom in Our Underwear' ruminates on the end of the twentieth century, and 'Middle Beginning End' considers Meltzer's relations with his mother, now quite senile; both are less manic than 'Autumn Rhythm,' with the latter achieving genuine emotional weight. The accompanying short pieces are poems and essays about departed acquaintances, including a very perspicacious assessment of . . . Charles Bukowski. Ray OlsonCopyright ? American Library Association. All rights reserved Read more See all Editorial Reviews