In praise of mediocrity. Book review: “Frank” by Jon Ronson

Frank: The True Story That Inspired the MovieFrank: The True Story That Inspired the Movie by Jon Ronson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I bought this book after listening to the author talk about it on the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron. I’ve heard of his other books like The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, but never got around to reading them (or seeing the movie).

Frank is everything an eBook single should be: it tells a story that spans decades, it’s populated with unforgettable characters, and it has pictures!

The story poses the question: Does mediocrity condemn you to a life of obscurity? In his search for the answer Jon Ronson draws analogies between his own career with that of the story’s subject, singer-songwriter, Chris Sievey, known by his alter-ego Frank.

The absurd aspects of this short biography are made even funnier by Jon Ronson’s acerbic wit and clever observations. In telling Frank’s story, he takes little detours into studies of other artists who became famous for being a failure, but were later recognized as geniuses.

I really enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the British music scene in the Eighties. I particularly loved his portrait of living in a London squat that seems hard to believe existed considering the current global real estate market.

Overall this is an inspirational story about being famous outside of the mainstream, and holding on to your dreams. A fun quick read if you’re looking for something between books.

Related: Self-Invention in a Papier-Mâché Head
You might also like The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, the Music, the Seventies in San Francisco

View all my reviews

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About garpinbc

Author of the forthcoming "Same Love" published by Lorimer, as well as the memoir "Foodsluts at Doll & Penny's Cafe", and the YA short, "Haters Gotta Hate".
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