Room To Dream- Book Review

Biographies are often too prescriptive and by the numbers, telling you facts that you could pick up online and through cursory looks online. On the other hand, autobiographies often miss out key events or facts to cast the subject in a better light, both often have that rose tinted glow of nostalgia without a deeper critique. History is reality distilled after all.

Room to Dream

It's for these reasons Louise Brooks, 1920s/ 30s silent movie star, said she wouldn't write her memoirs, she could not write the sexual truth about herself that would make her life worth reading, due to her inability to "unbuckle the Bible belt" and overcome her Midwestern upbringing.

With Room To Dream by Kristine McKenna and David Lynch, they have tried to get around this issue by creating an approach to life writing that combines biography with memoir. The result is an interesting combination of the facts, dates etc but with the added bonus of Lynch reflecting upon those times. Whilst not perfect, it does get around a lot of the issues mentioned before. Don't go into this expecting an insight into David Lynch's creative process or for explanations about his work, that all remains hidden and private, but what you do get is an interesting dialogue and snippets from the horses mouth of those reflections.

The biography/ memoir starts off by explaining Lynch's early life, an idealistic upbringing across many different states, due to his father's job working for the Department of Agriculture. We learn that Lynch enjoyed being part of the Boy Scouts of America and reached the highest rank of Eagle Scout. We also learn that he felt most at home in Boise, Idaho where he had many wonderful summers blowing things up and listening to Elvis Presley, who he greatly admired.

We are told how Lynch was a dreamer who saw darkness in the mundane and art was his way to present these to the world. Lynch emerges as an inherently curious child who needed to spread his wings and explore the seamier parts of life to truly live the 'art life.' We find that he was constantly chasing the next big idea or love interest. So far so normal for a biography but there are hints at the more complex character, one who had anger management issues until discovering transcendental meditation.

Room To Dream is an intriguing way to present a biography, however it does have an inherent problem in that McKenna cannot be as critical or as insightful about Lynch as she would otherwise have been. As she is co-authoring the book with the subject on hand I found that it feels very woolly and basic, with the chapter enhanced by Lynch's personal recollections. The book is well worth a read but be aware that it is a glowing account of the auteurs life and you are only seeing what he wants you to see.

LINK- Lulu In Hollywood (Louise Brooks’ essays) Book Review