- Biographies and Memoirs
Title: My Brother Was a Mother: A Zappa Family Album
Author: Patrice "Candy" Zappa
SQL Error: 13059 General SQL error. Rating: Excellent!
Publisher: California Classics Books
Publisher's E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by: Paul Lappen
This book could be likened to stumbling across an old photo album full of photos showing the early life of Frank Zappa, musician and iconoclast, with Patrice, his baby sister, doing the narrating.
Frank was born in 1940 in Baltimore. Dad was Sicilian, and had a child from a previous marriage (scandalous in those days). Mom came from a family of eleven children; only one other sister survived to the present. As a young girl, she really liked Catholic school and seriously considered becoming a nun (scandalous for a Jewish girl).
In the early 50s, the family made the first of many moves across the country, while Dad undertook teaching work. In California of the 1950s, Frank discovered cigarettes, and music and the joys of blowing up stuff (like putting smoke bombs in the school lavatories on Open House night). The family moved a lot in those days, never spending more than a couple of years in one place.
During Frank's teen years, his relationship woth his father became more and more difficult. Part of the problem was the natural parental reluctance to let go of their child, and part of it was Frank's growing rebelliousness. He eventually moved out of the house, and began to make his name in the music world.
While Patrice was growing up, her parents did their best to continue with her Catholic upbringing, and to shield her from things like sex, shaving her legs and Frank's occasionally "unique" behavior. But Frank never forgot his family, inviting them to some of his concerts after he became a Famous Person.
The book also looks at more recent times, including Dad's death in 1973, due to complications from diabetes, John Lennon's death in 1980, and Frank's death in 1993 from cancer.
Anyone with the slightest interest in Frank Zappa's music needs this book. The author does a fine job at making it seem like the reader and author are sitting on a couch looking through a photo album talking about the "old days." Highly recommended.
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