Pattie Boyd - Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me Review

by Anthony Kuzminski

Like a fool, I fell in love with you
Turned my whole world upside down.

Those looking for salacious gossip in Pattie Boyd's new autobiography, Pattie Boyd: Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me, will walk away disappointed, as there are not any revelatory stories that haven't been heard before, even if it is written earnestly from a first person point of view. However, it does offer an genuine story of a woman who saw the world change right in front of her eyes while inspiring a number of the most recognizable and iconic songs of the rock era. However, ultimately she was unfulfilled by all of the staggering events of her surreal life which included marriages to two of the world's most renowned and well known musicians; Eric Clapton and George Harrison. Throughout the book we learn about the inner sincerity and emotional riggers of these two magnanimous musicians, how they loved Pattie and ultimately how their bi-polar extremes brought their respective marriages to the ground.

Those who walk away from the book disappointed will no doubt only be looking upon its surface because deep within it is a rich, pained and soul-searching soul whose story is for the most part a testimonial and spiritual quest to find one's inner self. The book begins with Boyd's family struggles growing up and her parent's dissatisfaction with one another. As a result, the children grew up unloved, unappreciated and largely at bay, on multiple continents no less. As I have matured and aged, I encounter many misplaced and destructive souls who largely seem to be still mending broken fences from their childhood. It's downright astounding to me to see those who have corrupt childhoods, curse their parents only to become almost direct copies of them. The same could be said of Boyd. From her childhood to modeling in London to meeting George Harrison takes up a large portion of the book. She was smitten with Harrison and had many a unique travels and experiences with him. Surprisingly, there were no deep reveals for me through this section of her book, but it is good to read first hand experiences from someone whose memory appears to be in tact and authentic. The most remarkable aspects of this relationship were the details she discussed about the Esther house her and Harrison owned and the decoration involved with it. It was insightful to hear stories about this infamous house where I have imagined in my head many times when listening to 'White Album' bootlegs.

The second half of the book evolves around the love affair between Eric Clapton and Boyd. Surprisingly, Harrison largely appeared to be OK with this break, despite what many have felt over the years. In some ways it was devastating, but on the other hand he knew deep down that Eric needed her more than he did. Clapton's unadorned love for her was extreme and wildly passionate and as a result most of Derek and the Dominoes record Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is inspired by Boyd's reluctance to accept Clapton as her soul mate, specifically the song "Layla". Eventually she embraced his passionate pleas only to eventually have him turn his back on her as he over indulged in drugs and alcohol. There are some haunting and harrowing stories towards the end of her marriage with Clapton which are better left to be read than discussed. However, in the end what makes Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me essential reading is because it confirms happiness doesn't come from external love or wealth, but from the search within. Once Boyd learned to live on her own was when she found her true self. Even after her divorce from Clapton, the book still finds a way to wander through her fragile emotions and her beautifying internal search which is far more rewarding than hearing the roars of a seducing crowd roar upon the opening notes of "Layla". As engaging and intense as these moments are, they're fleeting when you are alone and feel as if your life has no purpose. Fortunately for Boyd, she found herself and in the end, that is the greatest reward life can give oneself.

But if you don't know where you're going
Any road will take you there
-"Any Road" by George Harrison

Anthony Kuzminski can be found at The Screen Door

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