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BOOK REVIEW: MICHAEL. MY BROTHER, LOST BOY OF INXS by Tina Hutchence with Jen Jewel Brown

| 17 November 2018 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: MICHAEL. MY BROTHER, LOST BOY OF INXS by Tina Hutchence with Jen Jewel Brown

Allen & Unwin
September 2018
Paperback, $32.99
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Biography

8 ½ /10 up to the end… 5/10 for the end

As sister to Michael Hutchence, Tina Hutchence’s memoir of her brother’s life is exactly the peek behind the veil AND limited in its scope as we would expect – after all, not many of us share everything with our siblings.

The book is lifted by the sensitive, loving portrayal of the singer by his sister, and the fact that they were obviously quite close. Veteran Rolling Stone journalist Jen Jewel Brown earns her keep presenting Tina’s story in a pleasantly readable style that flows well, even when we get to the nasty stuff at the end.

The end, in fact, is where the book’s real shortcomings are plain.

Reminiscences of Michael’s upbringing as the family bounced from house to house on Australia’s East Coast and Hong Kong, following their father’s unusual work demands, are fascinating as are the blow-by-blow analyses of his doomed relationship with Paula Yates, mother of his only child.

Yates is painted as an attention-seeking nutjob, which sits well with most other accounts of the woman, but the ever-present question which remains unanswered is, why did Michael choose to stay with her.

With his mental and physical health failing, and many prior examples of how sensitive and intelligent the man was, there seems something missing in this story, some kind of magical hold over him that Yates had.

Regardless, the tragic details of Michael’s death are analysed again here to the minutae, but then the book stops in its tracks, as if the money or time ran out. There’s little discussion of what happened after his death – Yates’s own death is barely mentioned, likewise their daughter Tiger Lily’s fate post losing her Dad is not discussed in much detail. A solitary, barely explained, photo of her at a family gathering is the only solid reference to her after her father’s death. Michael’s musical legacy is touched upon, but the future of INXS is ignored, as is any discussion of what happened to Michael’s financial estate after he passed.

It feels like this is only the body of the Michael Hutchence story, and that to the authors his story finished with the immediate aftermath of his death. Perhaps they are observing family wishes for privacy by not delving into matters after his death, or trying to keep the peace with his former bandmates or the step-father of his daughter, but in doing so they have ignored a large piece of his story and leave the reader hanging.

Shane

Category: Book Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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