I’m a child of the 80′s…Oh, I was born in the late 60′s mind you but, by the time the 1970′s ended, I was all of 13. When the band Culture Club (and front man Boy George) crashed the international scene in 1982 with their album Kissing to Be Clever and the song Do You Really Want To Hurt Me became a mega-hit, I was hooked. Long before the androgynous Lady Gaga, We had the always androgynous and sometimes cross dressing superstar Boy George.
George didn’t care what the “establishment” thought of him or what they thought about what he should do. He cross dressed publicly including on stage and the crowds loved him. He was open about his love relationship with his male drummer and, really, about his sexuality, period. His career only lost steam when he became addicted to heroine but, after entering treatment in the late 1980s, he had success as a solo artist in Europe (he’s from Ireland). His success did not carry over to the U.S. where he was denied access to tour because of his former drug issues.
A new man, several reincarnations later, George has profiled his life in intimate detail in his autobiography written with London Journalist Spencer Bright, Take It Like a Man: The Autobiography of Boy George. If you’re familiar with George, whether you liked the music or not, you’re likely to love the book.
Fans of stars “tell all” autobiographies know well that true tell all books normally only come out at the end of a career so as not to stop the trajectory of a stars time in the limelight. While Boy George is certainly on the downhill slope of a long career, as I’ve shown, he’s never hidden who he is, who he was with, or what he was doing. This book isn’t a rehash though. This him telling his story from down deep with all of the behind the scenes details and all of the emotion you would expect. You get a look at his life growing up, at being gay, at cross dressing and transgenderism, his music, his loves and his losses, at his exes, and his battles with first heroin and then the narcotics that were supposed to help him kick heroin. There’s a lot here.
I laughed along with George at many points in the book. While I didn’t cry, as other reviewers have said they did, I felt sad for him over what he put himself through with his addictions. You may differ here. I come from a standpoint of knowing before I picked up the book that he had beaten it and I also come from a background of knowing people with addictions enough to probably be a bit immune to the emotional pull of feeling sorry for them. It’s not to say that I don’t have compassion toward them, only that I rarely weep for the adults among them. My two cents.
Overall, I enjoyed this look into the life of a pop icon and I think you will too.