|Lou and Paul just last month|
I remember being excited that Louise Harrison was going to be one of the speakers at my very first Beatlefest. The year was 1994 and I had never been around anyone who had met one of the Beatles much less the only full blooded sister of one! I was excited to hear Louise tell stories about her brother. Imagine my extremely disappointment when she refused to talk about George and talked the entire time about the charity she had created to help the environment. She even had a trash can passed around the auditorium for donations. I went to a Q&A with her the next year at the Fest and experienced much of the same. I recall one fan asking her if she and George still exchanged Christmas or birthday cards or gifts. Instead of really answering the question, she went on a discussion about how all of those greeting cards are bad for the environment. She always would say that she would not talk about George because she wanted to respect his privacy. Personally I never understood how talking about events (such as the Ed Sullivan show) that were common knowledge was an invasion of his privacy. It wasn't like she was telling us his addresses or flight schedules or anything intimate about affairs he had or whatever. In the 1990's, I always had the impression that she and George were not on speaking terms, something that she denies in this book. Of course after George's death, Louise opened up a bit more about her little brother and even shared some old family photos with the Daily Mail, so I wasn't sure what to expect of this book.
I think the title, My Kid Brother's Band aka the Beatles! is a great name. In 1963, when Louise lived in the United States and she was going around to radio stations, trying to get the Beatles some airplay, that is what she referred to the Beatles as: My Kid Brother's band. Louise shares some very nice and interesting stories about George and the Beatles in this book. I learned a few new things and it was especially interesting to read about George being sick during the Ed Sullivan show from Louise's point of view. I enjoyed reading about how she went to many of the Beatles concerts in America and of course I loved reading about George's visit to see her in Benton, Illinois. You can't help but admire and love the senior Louise and Harold Harrison even more after reading this book. The Harrison parents raised good kids and were so kind hearted to Beatle fans around the world.
However, I had a lot of issues with Louise's book. She went on what I would call "tangents" throughout the book. She would be telling about the Beatles in 1964 and then she would put in parentheses something about politics, health care, the environment, phonics vs. whole language, how much she loves the president, taking jobs away from people, etc etc. Now the woman is free to have her thoughts and opinions, but I am not sure if a book about her brother is the right outlet for that. Nonetheless, even if she wanted to leave it in, the way it was dispersed throughout the book made it almost impossible for me to read. It was so disjointed and confusing. Many of her opinions I agreed with and some I did not, but I wish the book was layed out differently
She did make a few mistakes that us Beatle geeks will notice. Two that stood out to me was that she put the British Embassy event where Ringo's hair was snipped before the Washington D.C. concert and she said that George and Paul Simon appeared on Saturday Night Live in the 1980's. But those are minor things, especially considering that she isn't writing as a Beatles historian.
For me it was worth spending almost $40 on this book for the photo of Louise, Peter, George and Leslie (Louise's daughter) standing on the square in Benton, Illinois. That color photo alone is amazing! (well it is to me because I live near there).
One thing that REALLY stood out is that she does not mention Olivia by name at all. One time she refers to her as "Dhani's mother." And there are some strong words against the "Harrison estate" whom she says "are not real Harrisons." So if you are an Olivia Harrison fan, then this won't be a book for you!
So---should you get this book? I would say that this book is for those of you who are BIG George Harrison fans. He is your favorite and you can't get enough information about George. Or if you are (like me) a Beatles book completest and must have all Beatle books.
The only way you can order this book is through the Liverpool Legend's website: http://liverpoollegends.com/kidbrother.html the book does come autographed by Louise Harrison.
Edit: The book is now available from Amazon (without autograph)