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Dutch

Thanks for being my friend, and thanks for putting up with me.

Poisoned Heart: I Married Dee Dee Ramone (The Ramones Years) - Vera Ramone King There's not much I don't know about Dee Dee Ramone's reputation, and I always find information about the Ramones fascinating stuff even though I'm quite familiar with their music and history. This was the first time I had read something from an (ex)spouse's point of view, and I was reluctant to read it fearing it would be full of Dee Dee-bashing. After all, I read Angela Bowie's and Valerie Bertinelli's rock-wife bios and felt like they used their books as a way to promote themselves and bash their ex-husbands, all the while making things seem as though they meant no harm.

I was pleasantly surprised that Vera didn't do this. She lived with an addict who she desperately loved, and whether or not he was a Ramone made no difference. I still felt, even at the end of the book that she wasn't finished grieving or feeling fear of what she would do wouldn't be held against her. That's being a typical victim from an abusive relationship with an addict. Her (silly) belief in curses and psychics was hard to take, but again, after living through hell, one will grab anything to hold on to so that they have answers or something to believe in.

In the end, I actually found myself quite liking Vera. She's punk-rock gorgeous and is full of grace. Even when she had an opportunity to use foul language or explain a painful memory, she remains surprisingly tactful. (A rare trait in former punk-rock-era folk.) But this book only gets three stars because of the writing style and the disappointment that this book was a mere 160 pages before the acknowledgements. I believe Vera wrote this book in a way where I think she took herself seriously as a writer, yet the book reads like a conversation you might have someone who you know is uneducated, but is trying so hard to sound intelligent. She had many grammatical inconsistencies, and has a love of the exclamation point, which ended about thirty percent of her sentences. Though she wanted her own voice heard, I couldn't tell if she meant to come across as casual or not. Often times, the book included some thoughtful wording, unusual, sophisticated words, that it made me wonder if she was trying to be a little high-handed when it wasn't warranted. Her inexperience was evident. I did enjoy the stories that I hadn't heard of before, I did like Vera as a person and after reading this feel a tremendous amount of sympathy for what she had gone through, and wish her continued good health as she heals both physically and mentally.

But the writing! I hate being so critical, but I think she was given too long of a rope here, and it showed. Perhaps her editor thought, "Meh.. she's the ex-wife of a Ramone, let her tank. It's punk rock, after all. It doesn't need to be perfect." The problem is, it teetered between being silly to being thoughtful, so I wasn't sure if Vera was just intentionally trying to be girlish, or if she wanted to be taken seriously.

But hey, I always wondered who the hot blonde was in the Rock n' Roll Highschool music video, and now I know more about her, and I'm glad she could tell the story of her time with Dee Dee without the classic ex-wife chip on her shoulder.