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BOOK REVIEW: Outlaw Pete by Bruce Spingsteen & Frank Caruso

| 2 May 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Outlaw Pete by Bruce Spingsteen & Frank Caruso
Simon & Schuster, rrp $22.99
November, 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Outlaw Pete by Bruce Springsteen & Frank Caruso

The song Outlaw Pete originally appeared on Bruce Springsteen’s least well-received album of the 2000’s, 2009’s Working On A Dream, and here the lyrics are presented word-for-word accompanied by Frank Caruso’s lavish artwork.

Springsteen says of the song that “Outlaw Pete is essentially the story of a man trying to outlive and outlast his sins”, but it’s more than that: it’s a Western drama story of a bank robbing child who grows up to be a killer, and it’s a rumination on redemption and rehabilitation.

This hardcover book transforms the Dylanesque eight-minute epic song into an adult illustrated novel that explores the ability of a man to outrun his wicked nature and his sins, to change and live down his past, and in the bitter end (spoiler alert for those who aren’t familiar with the song) sacrifice himself for those he loves.

The irony in the story, of course, is that his final choice proves he has changed, making his redemption complete, but final.

Certain to appeal to Springsteen’s legions of fans, as well as make some more, it should be noted that despite the cartoony appearance, Outlaw Pete isn’t exactly a children’s book – the themes involved are too graphic and too deep, perhaps, for kids to grasp properly, even though the images of a nappy-clad bank-robbing Pete making his getaway with a sack full of stolen cash are cute in the extreme.


Category: Book Reviews

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