Book Report: ‘Wicked and Weird:  The Amazing Tales of Buck 65’ By: Rich Terfry

With wit, style and a born writer’s knack for telling detail, Rich Terfry gives us the wildly entertaining story of his unusual life through the eyes of his shy but brilliant and preternaturally observant alter-ego, Buck. Born in a small town in Nova Scotia to a mother who begins yelling at him the moment he is born and a father who keeps his own counsel, Buck imbibes fear and insecurity like other kids guzzle milk. Hobbled by his fears and demons, Buck almost disappears into the “evil in the woods” that lurks just beyond the town’s border . . . until he is saved by three gifts: baseball, romantic love and music. His epic journey­­—full of diversions, coincidences, and larger-than-life characters—out of the darkness of his suicide-plagued childhood and into the bright wide world begins with a killer pitching arm (Buck almost makes it to the pros) and continues with his transformation into hip hop artist Buck 65. Along the way, Buck develops into a hopeless romantic and an obsessively creative, shape-shifting man who both fears life and dives into it with abandon. Wicked and Weird is a lively, sometimes shocking portrait of a life lived on the edge, by turns funny and heartbreaking.

Review:

“Later that afternoon when I got back to my rat-trap apartment, the light on my answering machine was flashing.  The machine was full, maxed out with messages from people freaking out, saying they had been listening to the radio and heard an interview with the band Radiohead in which they mentioned my name.  They were big fans of the ‘Man Overboard’ album.

Radiohead was the biggest band in the world at the time.  They had just released their shocking Kid A album, which changed the face of popular music.  The most important band in rock and roll was working with beats and samples and electronics, and now was telling the world that my work had influenced the group.

The floodgates opened.  Radiohead’s endorsement was enough to send me into orbit.  No everyone wanted a piece of me.  Every record company in the world wanted to sign me.  ‘Man Overboard’ started selling like crazy.  Best of all, I started hearing from people all over the world who wanted to tell me how much the song “Ice” meant to them.  I heard from people who had lost a parent.  I heard from people whose lives were affected by cancer in one way or another.  For some people the song was simply about loss or the fear of loss.  For others the song was about family.  It seemed to mean something to just about everyone who heard it.  I had connected with people – all kinds of people – and it was an incredible feeling.

A few days after my answering machine melted down, Radiohead’s manager contacted me.  He told me that the guys in the band wanted to meet me and asked if I could make it to Montreal to say hello when they were passing through on their tour.

It was an offer I couldn’t pass up. But for all the excitement and new interest, I was still broke.  And Montreal is almost eight hundred miles from Halifax.  My only choice was to hitchhike.”

If you are a fan of Rich Terfry’s radio show and Facebook ‘story’ status updates, you will fall in love with ‘Wicked and Weird:  The Amazing Tales of Buck 65’.  It will move you and make you swoon with delight.  This long awaited book indeed will take you down the rabbit hole and invite you into scenarios that are not only quirky, profound and gut wrenching but will trigger you.

Like a grand book, ‘Wicked and Weird:  The Amazing Tales of Buck 65’ will transform you and will even start to encourage you to put it down and take a moment for yourself to think about a love lost, a family member who caused you hurt, unachieved professional goals and journey’s explored but not forgotten.

‘Wicked and Weird:  The Amazing Tales of Buck 65’, reads with a sense of ease.  A perfect book for the last long weekend of the summer as we transition into the Fall.  It’s time to shed some skin – let ‘Wicked and Weird:  The Amazing Tales of Buck 65′ help you with that.

“I checked into an almost-affordable, quasi-fancy hotel in the Pigalle neighbourhood (the diseased vagina of Paris).  The lobby of the hotel was dark and red-velvety.  It hummed with menace.  Working behind the desk was one of the strangest-looking and most beautiful women I’d ever seen.  She looked like she had been photo-shopped with parts from fifteen different beautiful women.

“J’ai besoin d’une chamber, s’il vous plait.”  I slid my credit card and passport across the desk.

The woman didn’t say a word.  She just nodded and went to work, entering my information in her computer.  Her hands were beautiful.  She smiled almost imperceptibly.  When she had finished, she handed me a key attached to a giant tassel.  She gazed into my eyes for a few beats longer than what is normally comfortable.  She buried a hook into me.

There was no elevator; instead there was a grand spiral staircase.  As I climbed I did, our eyes locked.  Somehow, it wasn’t embarrassing.  I could feel her promising me something, I promised her back.

Over the next two days, I explored Paris.  I rifled the city’s drawers and medicine cabinet.  I searched under the bed.  Every time I came and went through the hotel lobby, the telepathic games with the woman behind the desk intensified.  I was returning from a thorough combing of Montmartre, when she forfeited.

“My name is Anna.”  She spoke very silently.

“What time do you get off work?”  The question sounded bold coming out of my mouth, but it didn’t feel bold.  I felt certain it was the question she wanted me to ask.  Besides, telepaths don’t waste time with formalities and small talk.  We see the light in each other that no one else sees and that’s all that matters.

“Midnight.  Wait for me outside.  On the corner.  Not here.”

At 0030 we were in her apartment, sitting at her kitchen table, drinking tea.  After the tea had been drunk we moved to the rug on her living room floor and spent the wee hours coaxing kisses from each other.  I didn’t need to ask questions to know she had many secrets to protect.  Hard secrets.

It was almost four o’clock in the morning when it was time to say good-night.

“Can I see you again tomorrow?”

A sadness she’d been avoiding all night befell her.  “It will be difficult.  I’m not working at the hotel tomorrow, but I need to take care of some business.  Tomorrow night I have to go with some guys to a party.  I don’t want to, but I have no choice.”

I was afraid to ask what that meant – and her eyes told me not to.

“Will you be late?  Can I meet you after?”

“Maybe so.  I will call you.  I would love to see you.”

She called me the night after at 2:00 a.m.  “I want to wake up next to you.”

I ran to her.  We fell asleep four hours later, as the sun was coming up.  The three days that followed blurred together.

I didn’t want to leave Paris.  But I had to. I had to finish my tour.  I had another two weeks to go, travelling around France, Spain Portugal.  I promised Anna that I would come back when the tour was over.  I was already thinking of quitting my job at the hotel back in Halifax. And staying in Paris forever.  I was ready to cut ties and distance myself from the curses, the bad luck and the evil in the tree of Nova Scotia.  I breathed better in Paris.  I slept better.  I ate better.  Paris challenged me.  I could feel it bringing out the best in me.  I decided I needed Paris.

When I left, Anna cried.  No one had ever cried over me before.”

http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/226142/wicked-and-weird#9780385679732

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