I think I picked Pattie Boyd’s book up for the reason most people do: to hear what it was like being romantically involved with George Harrison and Eric Clapton. I did also pick it up to hear about her.
Being the significant other to someone famous fascinates me. It sounds intriguing at first. It sounds like it would be fabulous. You are with the person millions covet, people envy you, wish they were you, you are the one. It would be similar to becoming the ultimate popular girl back in high school. But when you sit down and think about it, there are drawbacks. They’re touring all the time. They’re in the studio and you’re not allowed in. When they are home they’re either working and they like to work alone or exhausted. You receive hate mail and threats from those millions of fans, accusing you of taking their favorite from them (remember how you felt about the significant other of your high school crush? Multiple that out a couple of times). Pattie talks about the thrills and challenges (to say the least) of being in love with two musicians who changed people’s lives with their music.
The last few pages and epilogue are very telling. She was a very successful model and now she’s a very talented photographer. But she explains how the red carpets weren’t rolled out for her. They were rolled out for her husbands, she was “the one walking a couple of paces behind”, she was the “wife of”. It’s very telling and sad to hear someone say that. In linguistics you learn how you say something matters. If you introduce someone as “This is Pattie Boyd, my wife,” you are putting the person before one of their roles or identities. If you introduce them as “This is my wife, Pattie Boyd,” you are putting the role before the person. I think also stresses some ownership, but that could be me. I’m sure when you’re in her situation you do lose a certain amount of self from being in the limelight. But to end the book with those sentiments put everything in perspective and kind of summed everything up. It was fantastic but lonely at times.
At times I did feel sorry for her because I could empathize with wanting to please people and doubting yourself or others, but I cannot deny this nice streak of jealousy I had throughout the book. The woman married two rock stars. Not just one. Two. Two men known for guitar and have influenced thousands. I’m more of George Harrison fan, don’t care much about Eric Clapton, but still….She inspired three famous songs. Not just one. Not two. Three (“Something”, “Layla”, and “Wonderful Tonight”). I can’t even get a date.
So as a reader, I was balancing a couple of emotions. First I was hearing about a young woman and her career and all the excitement she had–like it was a woman I just met, pleasantly surprised she’s nice and has some exciting stories to tell. Then it was like the popular girl nonchalantly telling me about all her escapades like they were nothing (“We ran into Ringo” or “Paul McCartney was at our door”) and because I’m being a good listener, I need to keep my mouth shut, smile and grind my teeth. That being said, I wasn’t excited or feeling triumphant when she hit a spot of trouble like “Ha! Serves you right,” because I would not want to be in those situations.
It’s a fun read, some great pictures. Dream fodder.