Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Seven - Heavier Than Heaven

As a music lover of a certain age, I was indelibly affected by the suicide of Kurt Cobain in 1994. I was 16 at the time and I remember being very distraught and wounded. The years have gave me some perspective on the situation, but it is still a time that I vividly remember and even listening to recordings of radio coverage and tributes that were played at the time can take me right back there. Reading certain passages of the book moved me to tears, reading that Courtney Love was pregnant and how excited they both were and knowing how it all turned out. Reading about the public memorial and remembering watching the coverage on TV back when it all happened, and how it made us all feel united in our mourning for this rock idol.

At the time, we all put Cobain on a pedestal, I was and still am so moved by his music, that it is difficult to imagine Kurt as just a man. After reading Cross' book, it is easier to picture this man, and he was a very flawed individual indeed. He chose to hide behind drugs, even after Love became pregnant, even though it lead her into temptaion during that critical time in her life. He did nothing but complain about the fame that he worked so hard to achieve, almost instantly after he attained it. Yet he was very conflicted and wanted even more fame, and made choices to make this happen.

Now that I am older, and also a mother, it breaks my heart that someone would take their life and leave their child to someone as unstable as Love. As a teenager, I also felt personally betrayed, as I am sure many did. Who among us has not suffered as a child, having read what Cobain went through, I could personally claim that my childhood trauma was even worse than his. Suicide is such a desperate act, it is very sad that he felt that his daughter would be better off without him, that the world would be better without him.

The most surprising thing about this book for me was that it made me support Courtney Love more than I have previously. I have not seen the documentary "Kurt and Courtney" yet, but I have plans to do so after writing this review. I have, in the past, read some of the conspiracy theories and I must admit that at the time of Kurt's death I thought that it seemed that she was using her position as rock widow to further her career. Love is certainly a very troubled individual to put it mildly, but this book did paint her in a very flattering light. That may have been necessary to obtain certain inside information. It has prompted me to want to do more research into the subject before fully forming my opinion on the situation.

All in all, Heavier than Heaven is a book that I recommend to music lovers and children of the 90s. I now see that Kurt was just a man, just another screwed up individual that made some amazing music, art and also made a lot of bad choices. He has an amazing daughter and hopefully she will prevail and lead a better existence than both her parents.


  1. It's been a very long time since I read this, but I remember having the same reaction regarding Courtney Love.

  2. Hi Allie I found your blog through Pajiba and I read this book last fall and found it sitting in my head for a long time. Though I was only a little kid at the peak of Nirvana-mania I still respect Kurt as a musician. If you liked his book you should definitely check out Her Mother's Daughter by Linda Carroll--it's the story of Courtney Love's mother and more of Courtney's life up until she was about fifteen or sixteen and stopped contacting her mother regularly. It's excellent.

  3. Thanks, sounds interesting. It was touched upon that Courtney's family was kinda off. It will be interesting to read this, I have requested it from the library. I will have to get my butt in gear to read all the books I have out before I run out of time!

    At least I am already 1/3 through the book I am reading now!