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Ordinary People-Our Story (Book review)
Released: 2003, MTV Books
Once in a while, for the sake of being thorough I will review a book that is sitting on the fringes of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. This is one of those instances. While not directly about Metal per se, ORDINARY PEOPLE is about the Osbourne family and may be of interest to some of our readers.
Originally published in 2003, this compact hard cover was issued to capitalize on the success of the MTV reality show ‘The Osbournes’. Published on by MTV Books this book is well presented with quite a few family photos of the Osbournes printed on glossy plates in the middle of the book. This quick easy read is essentially a collection of quotes and stories from the various Osbourne family members. For the true Metal fan there is very little metal related content, it is far more a look at the domestic environment of the self-styled ‘first family of rock’.
I’m going to keep this review a bit short, this book is entertaining yet and depressing and saddening at the same time. The family go to great lengths to convince the readers (and themselves to a degree) that they are not insane and a very ordinary family, hence the title. It is painfully evident that they are extremely dysfunctional on many levels. Quite often various family members will say the fact that Sharon and Ozzy are still married and in love is a testament to how normal and good things are (paraphrased) and yet the whole book is full of terrible stories of abuse; mental, physical, and emotional, infidelity, crime, divorces, law-suits not to mention addiction. There is a lot of dirt there and it portrays Ozzy as a very sad, lonely man driven and controlled by not only his domineering wife but his own drug and alcohol addiction. I’m not a counselor and I’m in no position to judge…however, if a family wanted to publish a Hollywood style tell all, people will judge the horrible situations that have been a common thread through the families life.
The eldest daughter, Aimee, who coincidentally declined to participate in the wildly successful reality show seem the most level-headed of all of them. The cynical side of me would suggest this book was just another avenue to make money. The more tolerant side of me sees it as an attempt to deflect many of the stories, rumours, misinformation and downright lies, reported about the Osbournes over the decades. In that respect it succeeds.
After reading ORDINARY PEOPLE-OUR STORY I was left feeling pretty neutral. I have not succumbed to the cult of personality surrounding Ozzy and his family and many of the wild stories of rock and roll mayhem have been widely reported before so there wasn’t that much new. However, I am an Ozzy fan so on an academic level, it was neat to peek behind the scenes. In the end despite their fame and fortune, I could not help feel sorry for them and admire them at the same time. It’s worth picking up if you are a die-hard fan. The book also comes across as a bit of an Ozzy family primer for casual fans who maybe only know what they have read in the mainstream media and saw on the MTV show so it has pretty universal appeal.
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