Review: A Dream About Lightning Bugs by Ben Folds

Autobiographies are not normally my thing but after weeks of hearing, "You should read this one Kathryn," from various people (who for the purposes of this blog post shall remain nameless,) I caved and purchased a copy from an excellent local bookstore. After reading a couple of chapters, I soon realised just why it had been recommended to me. A Dream About Lightning Bugs offers readers a clever and insightful glimpse into a unique artist and an extremely successful music career. More that that, it is honest (well, so far as I know,) and readers get a very real glimpse into the man behind the music. Expect a lot of amusing (and occasionally sad,) stories about his childhood and adolescence and the cheap lessons that he learned as he worked hard to get a foot in the door of the music industry. There is also a few glimpses of what went on behind the scenes--including what went on after the famous piano stool throw on Midday. (If you're not familiar with that one, the best quality clip I can find of the incident is here; read the article too, I'm glad there was a happy ending.) There is a bit of a glimpse as well into his time in Adelaide.* However, where this book really shines is when Folds discusses the creative process--the guy is a genuine artist and his love for music is apparent on nearly every page. 

Folds never pretends that his career has been all smooth sailing, that his choices have never had an adverse effect on others or that his stunts onstage have never gone wrong. The book is all the better for it.

This would be an excellent book to hand to anyone who is at the beginning, near beginning or contemplating a music career, an excellent reminder that the people behind the songs are human and that there are often very real stories and a whole lot of effort behind the songs. Ultimately though, A Dream About Lightning Bugs offers a unique inside into what is also a fairly unique career.

Highly recommended.

*Inevitably, someone is going to ask. No, I did not know or meet Ben Folds when he lived in Adelaide. 


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