Electric Don Quixote
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If one thing defines Frank Zappa it's that he strove for perfection with such single-minded purpose. And, if there's one thing that the life of Frank Zappa highlights it's that perfection is unobtainable. This conclusion in no way negates his achievements, which were phenomenal, but humans make mistakes and these are celebrated in the performance of his music just as much as any other human characteristic. These comments are the first that came into my head when I sat down to write a review of Neil Slavens' admirable effort. There has been some criticism about various inaccuracies in his book and I spotted a few, but for me, this in no way marred the experience and is a very human portrayal of a very remarkable human being.
The best feature of this book, regardless of how you personally may find the style, is that Slaven maintains it consistently throughout. It is comprehensive and well connected and not just hacked together. Since I've finished reading it I've used it many times as a reference and it is particularly useful for locating the timing of certain significant events, such as album releases. Biographers in general make subjective comments about their subjects and here you will find no exception, but Slaven has kept these to a respectable minimum and the book is much more a life story than a critique and leaves readers room to make their own judgements.
Until I read this book, my knowledge of Frank Zappa's life was somewhat fragmented, but after reading it I felt I finally had closure. Electric Don Quixote by Neil Slaven is an unputdownable read and continues to be a useful member of your library after you've finished. Whatever your level of interest in Frank Zappa you should get this book.