Book Review: Rock & Roll Books
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Dec. 5, 2008
He Is ... I Say: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Neil Diamondby David Wild
Da Capo Press, 203 pp., $25
There's a fine line between fanboy and rock critic, and David Wild lets it be known upfront he's a former Rolling Stone writer. He then fixes his googly eyed gaze upon Neil Diamond in He Is ... I Say, a gushing, pun-filled ode to the beloved guilty pleasure. He compares their New York and, in Wild's case, New Jersey upbringings and combined Jewish awesomeness, relating how Diamond's music helped his family through hard times. Then he writes, "I'm a Believer that Neil Diamond is an altogether merciful and loving musical god." Whether that's tongue-in-cheek or not, there's certainly more than a dash of over-the-topness in He Is, which is fair enough for a book on this particular subject. Wild's a "recovering rock critic," and there's certainly no criticism, just a flowery surface history of Diamond's rise to fame. The author frames his love letter with short quotes from past interviews with Diamond, but they offer little insight into the man behind "Forever in Blue Jeans." Elsewhere, Wild leaves a performance of a Diamond tribute band – with whom the real Neil is actually going to sit in – because his wife wants to get home by 11pm. Don't worry, David, he's a merciful god.