When I watch the musical Rent, I get carried away by the emotion, the stories, and of course, the music. I cry. But when you actually think about it, it’s really a bit whiny (Really? You think you should be able to live there for free because you’re fabulous?).
This is a bit how I feel about this book. I get caught up in the stories, the emotion. I cried, I admit it. But really, it is a bit angsty, a bit whiny, a lot self centered. From time to time, you just want to say, “Come ON, Anthony!”
This is a memoir of Anthony Rapp’s Rent years, during which he originated the role of Mark, first in workshops, then in the off-Broadway & Broadway productions, and then recreated it in the movie. During this time, he also dealt with his mom, who was dying of cancer, a number of other family issues, his sexuality, and his own relationships. He also dealt with the sudden death of Rent creator Jonathan Larson. So there’s a lot going on. This book is introspective, frank, sometimes brutally honest, often grim, and generally humorless. I get the feeling that Anthony, while creative and talented, is probably exhausting to be around.
I realize that a memoir is entitled to be self centered (it is the ultimate, um, self-centeredness). But in many memoirs, one gets a good look at others as they interact with the main character; in this memoir, other people are strictly side characters. The book feels a bit like peeping in Anthony’s therapy session.