Customer Review

Reviewed in Australia on 13 February 2015
Everybody knows Ozzy Osbourne in one way or another -- classic satanic rocker, burned-out family man, or whatever.

So he tries to incorporate a little of everything in "I Am Ozzy," a rough'n'tumble autobiography full of all the embarrassing, unflattering, sometimes bizarre details of his life. It takes awhile to get used to his rambling style, but these stories have an unpolished brand of charm... and he's undoubtedly had an interesting life.

John "Ozzy" Osbourne was born into a working-class, impoverished British family, had a miserable stint at school, and seemed destined for "manual labor or manual labor." Instead, he went to prison.

Fortunately for Black Sabbath fans, that isn't where the story ends. After hearing the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac, he became enamored of the rock'n'roll life... albeit a darker, weirder side than the hippie-dippie stuff that was popular at the time. And after a few failed bands, he got into a true, brilliant band that was later named Black Sabbath, hated by critics and much beloved by music fans.

He got married, had sex with groupies (in that order), went on Top of the Pops, encountered satanic freakfans, and produced a slew of albums with Black Sabbath. Lots of booze and drugs. As you'd expect, both he and the band started spiralling out of control. But after quitting it, he got involved with his future second wife Sharon, and launched out on a new life of music, madness, sex, dove-biting, bat-biting and -- most horribly -- reality TV.

Honestly, I didn't much care for "I Am Ozzy" during the first few chapters. The combination of a misspent youth and Osbourne's rambling style gave me a bit of a headache. But after awhile, his life story starts to grow on you -- his stories became funnier and more bizarre (how he almost killed a vicar with a hash cake) and his meandering way of recounting the past begins to flow more easily.

And since this is Ozzy Osbourne, he's got a LOT of freaky stories, so the book feels like sitting down and listening to the old guy natter about the Bad Ol' Days. Some are filthy, some are crazy, and some are just plain hilarious (`There's this incredible new thing. It's American and it's called pizza!"). And he writes in a rough-hewn, unpretentious style that meanders all over the place, but has charm.

Of course, it's got the F-word sprinkled through it hundreds and hundreds of times. What else would you expect?

And to his credit, Osbourne is unafraid to admit to the uglier parts of his life -- he was a burglar, he fired shotguns at small animals, and he cheated on Wife #1, as well as other sundry regrets. He's also pleasantly down-to-earth about his music, even when people didn't like it or didn't get it ("Are you sure they didn't make a mistake, son?" "What d'you mean?" "This cross is upside down").

It took a little while to grow on me, but "I Am Ozzy" ends up being an R-rated funride through the nasty world of rock and drugs -- the good, the bad, and the really gross.
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