Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, is a household name today. His rise to fame in the band followed by the media coverage of his lifestyle and finally his tragic passing due to AIDS have been well documented in books, documentaries, and even the film Bohemian Rhapsody. This new edition takes the previously pieced together words of Freddie Mercury from interviews and notes and adds to it new information and words that have emerged from the Queen archives. Quite simply this book is Freddie’s perspective and his own words, through and through.
What is Freddie Mercury: A Life in His Own Words about?
This book was put together by the editor as an attempt to let Freddie Mercury speak for himself. The interviews used were interspersed with other quotes and writings, and are meant to give a more well rounded view of Freddie Mercury. No assumptions are made and no judgments are passed, as the book is entirely told from Freddie’s own words. There’s also no set chronology, only themes to start chapters off and occasional notes to give the readers greater context of the time, place, or person Freddie is discussing. Overall, this book is an ode to Freddie Mercury that reflects what he said and what he saw in himself.
This book, as a memoir, won’t be fitting into the usual categories I would put here. But yes, the genre is memoir I think. Instead of a biography, in which the subject’s life is presented in a timeline and with a set of sources by a biographer, this book is put together to be Freddie Mercury’s own words.
I think that the compilation was made with an understanding of what would make the most impact. Freddie Mercury is a legendary figure in today’s world, a household name and an icon. I think that different parts of this book will impact different people, but will nonetheless keep Freddie Mercury prominent at the same time. This book is about how Mercury and his works made people feel, I think. Emotions are a major factor from the tragic words of his fear about AIDS to his inspiring love of the music he wrote.
While the concept of bringing Freddie Mercury’s life to light with only his own words is lovely in theory, I do wish there had been more establishing facts. Perhaps an end note or similar chronology would have been helpful, as sometimes the topics at the beginning of the chapter didn’t do much to help me establish what it was Freddie was talking about. That being said, I really did enjoy just reading his words and thoughts brought out in such a manner.
I think that sometimes the use of the interview portions was a little jarring. There were parts of this book that were clearly adapted from interviews of Freddie Mercury and you could almost tell that there was context missing, such as the question asked or perhaps something else he said that hadn’t been recorded. It definitely took me out of the moment of reading to realize things like that, which I believe is more of an editing problem than anything else. Still, it’s a very minor complaint.
This book was a bit emotional for me to read. Freddie Mercury is one of my icons, and the tragedy of his passing touches me very strongly as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. To read his own words was an emotional journey for me, and I enjoyed it immensely. I think that there was better editing and compilation to have been done in all honesty. More context and more concise topics may have made for an even more emotional and beautiful story of Freddie Mercury’s life. Still, this book was what it claimed to be: a memoir style compilation of words spoken and written by the famous Freddie Mercury.