Books · Read in 2021 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Mark Oliver Everett)

Fascinating memoir that did not quite hit the right spot for me… Whatever that spot may be!


Title: Things The Grandchildren Should Know
Author: Mark Oliver Everett
Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir / Music
First published: 2007
Edition: Paperback, published in 2009 by Abacus

How does one young man survive the deaths of his entire family and manage to make something of his life? Mark Oliver Everett’s upbringing was ‘ridiculous, sometimes tragic and always unsteady’. The insecure son of a misunderstood genius of quantum mechanics, he somehow survived this and ensuing tragedies, channelling his experiences into his critically acclaimed music with the Eels.


I wish I loved this book more than I did. This is life story of a man better known as E, of the band Eels. He has had a pretty rotten life to be fair, none of his own choosing. I really enjoyed bits of it and found other bits jarring and uncomfortable.

Although the books is full of tragic events that happened to the author, it was not those that made me uncomfortable, but rather the way he described some things, especially other people. I am finding it hard to pinpoint what exactly bothered me, but something did, repeatedly.

But there were also large parts of the book that did work for me and I loved the bits of lyrics sprinkled through the book and their relevance to the story he is telling.

Now, I did not know much (or, well, nothing) about E going into this book, apart from a few Eels songs, and it was fascinating to read the kind of life he has led. How he ever got through it without turning to drugs or alcohol seems a miracle to me. Instead, he turned to music and it seems to have saved his life.

I did like this book and I warmed to it in the end. I would recommend this one to people, even if you are not that familiar with the author’s music.

I will go and listen to some of his music now.

5 out of 7 stars

2 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: Things The Grandchildren Should Know (Mark Oliver Everett)

  1. How interesting, and you can’t pin down what made you uncomfortable? I am conflicted as to whether I’d want to read this or not: I followed the band years ago and saw them a good few times but his family story is so very sad.

    1. Yes, just a gut feeling you know. You know when something doesn’t quite sit well with you, but you just can’t quite find the reason. I thought about it for a while and then I just gave up…. It just is, I guess. I am just a bad book reviewer! 😂😂😂

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