March 27, 2013

Review: I am Ozzy

I am Ozzy
I am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a good celebrity autobiography, the ghostwriter or co-author has to capture the subject's personality, quirks, and eccentricities. Chris Ayres, the co-author of this book, did this in spades, to the point where it's one of the funniest, most entertaining autobiographies I've ever read. This can't have been easy--Ozzy Osbourne, as he freely admits, is poorly educated, dyslexic and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, so he certainly didn't do any of the writing himself. His memory of events is also suspect, due to his incredible use of alcohol and drugs for forty years--to the point where he should have been dead several times over. You get the feeling Ozzy must have acquired a whole flock of guardian angels along the way, because he couldn't have survived otherwise.

Nevertheless, his clownish personality and basic decency is evident. This book had me giggling from start to finish, due to his wry British humor and penchant for getting himself in the most unbelievable situations, simply by being Ozzy. He's constantly falling into things--trenches, ditches--and getting into fights and pratfalls of the screwiest kinds. His horrendous drug and alcohol problems don't help this at all, and (to be fair) is the least funny part of the book, though he tries to lighten up his alcohol-fueled penchant for pissing and shitting himself. He also admits to verbal and physical abuse, and frankly I don't know how his wife Sharon stayed with him. But she did, and they're still together after thirty years.

Strangely, this isn't so much a music memoir--though there's a lot about Black Sabbath, and the first part of Ozzy's solo career, concentrating on the Randy Rhoads years--as it is about family. Ozzy's love for his family and his devotion to Sharon and his children shines through even his worst alcoholic/druggy excess. Although the book ends with Ozzy summing up what's going to be on his gravestone--"Ozzy Osbourne, born 1948. Died whenever. He bit the head off a bat."--his life is so much more than that.

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