Freddie and Me: A Coming of Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody
Written and drawn by Mike Dawson
Cover price: $19.99; Available now
Ever have a favorite band? You have all their albums and seen all their concerts? For this reviewer, it is the Wallflowers and for writer/artist it was and sill is Queen. The mega popular band, led by lead singer Freddie Mercury, was young Mike Dawson‘s favorite band and a huge influence in his life. Just how big of an influence is the subject of his autobiography, Freddie and Me.
Freddie and Me reads a lot like a love letter to the popular band, mostly known for their hit “Bohemian Rhapsody,” even though much of it showcases the life of Dawson. From his first encounter with the band when he was just a small child in England with the help of an cassette tape given to him by his brother, Dawson was hooked the minute he heard them. His love for them stayed with him later on in life, when he moved to the United States the love for the music and Mercury lasted even when Mercury died in the early nineties. Along the way, readers gets a chance to view and experience Dawson’s life, his hardships at school, dealing with feelings as an outsider, falling for his best mate’s girl, and the death of his grandmother. Most importantly, it showcases how Queen changed the life of one boy from Britain.
I cannot really say that this is your standard autobiography in the traditional sense. It feels more like a best of album for Queen with the added bonus of peeks into the life of Dawson, which is one of the reasons I like reading this book. Most of the time autobiographical books have a pretty linear feel to it and at times, just feel like it is being narrated to you. With Dawson’s Freddie, the story feels almost as if it is being played for you like a soundtrack. Like most soundtracks, it makes you remember the first time you heard a particular song and feels so organic, that at times it is hard not to feel as if Dawon’s story feels strangely like your own. You almost feel a you have a strange symbiotic relationship Dawson, thanks in part to the writing.
While Dawson’s writing is impressive, his art is just as great. From panel arrangements to powerful silent panels and dynamic splash pages, Dawson truly knows his way around the drawing board. The art also speaks just as loud as the script itself. Dawson would draw himself with a rather large head when he was young to show how awkward he felt in his own skin and also show Mercury as this large than life rock star. It really shows you how much of an impact Mercury had on him.
Freddie and Me is a great read on all levels. The art is fantastic and the story has an emotional center that really tugs at your heart strings. Who knows, maybe when you start reading it, it will make you think back to the songs that you feel in love with and the memories that came along with it.