Growing up in the Virginia suburbs, Mark Oliver Everett was to roam unsupervised with his sister, Liz, while his mother combated depression and his father, the eccentric and acclaimed quantum physicist Hugh Everett, remained distant and obsessed by parallel universes of his own creation. (Everett writes, "As a little kid, I had a hard time with the realization that inanimate objects didn't have feelings or thoughts. I remember being on the verge of tears, standing there in the bathroom, as my mom tried to make me understand that the bathroom cabinet wasn't going to be hurt if I closed it too hard. I thought of the bathroom cabinet as one of my friends. Maybe I was confused because I thought of my father as a piece of furniture.") First, the author lost his father to heart failure, and then—in a staggeringly short period of time—his sister to schizophrenia and suicide and his mother to cancer. The author drew upon the relentless tragedies in his life for inspiration in writing highly acclaimed music with his indie rock group, the Eels. Yet this is much more than a musician's tale. A true gem of a memoir, Everett’s story is a rich and poignant narrative on coming of age, love, death, and the creative vision.
“One of the best books ever written by a contemporary artist.”—Pete Townshend
“A great big grin of a book, winced out through gritted teeth.”—Kirkus Reviews
“I kept telling myself, “This guy is the next Kurt Vonnegut!” Things the Grandchildren Should Know shares less with a rock memoir than it does with the likes of The Corrections, Middlesex, and The Ice Storm. It’s unexpectedly uplifting.”—The Word
“Crackling with a staccato rage, he comes clean about bad times, good times and finally getting to be a grown-up on his own terms.”—The Times (UK)
“His unique sensibility is as apparent in his prose as in his music. Even those unfamiliar with, or indifferent to, Everett’s work will still vicariously enjoy meeting him.”—The Independent (UK)