Catch a Wave Review
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I grew up listening to the Beach BoysóEndless Summer, Pet Sounds, Spirit of America; I think my sister had all the albums. For many people, the Beach Boys represented happy days, good times, the beach, growing up. Not being a religious Beach Boys follower (I was in it for the music), I was one of those people.

In Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boysí Brian Wilson, former People writer Peter Ames Carlin chronicles the Beach Boys and their successes and failures through dozens of interviews and studio tapes, resulting in an extraordinary opus of Brian Wilson and the brothers, cousin, and friends who made up the Beach Boys.

This book is extremely well written. It provides details of the physical and psychological abuse of a domineering father, drug abuse, Brian Wilsonís struggle with mental illness, and (to my surprise) a group devoid of emotional support for one another. The 40-year history of the album Smile is also prominently featured. In addition, Carlin provides reviews of the songs and analyses of the lyrics (which shed a different light on some of my favorite Beach Boys songs).

If youíre a die-hard Beach Boys fan/follower, then maybe nothing in this book will come as a surprise (although I doubt it). If you think of the Beach Boys as a close-knit, beach-going, surfer-dude, fun-in-the-sun, fast-car-loving bunch of guys, then I should probably recommend that you steer clear of this book, lest it shatter the illusionóbut I canít do that. In all honesty, I canít decide whether this would be a great book if it werenít so sad, or whether this would be a sad book if it werenít so greatóbecause both statements apply here. After reading Catch a Wave, I donít think Iíll ever listen to a Beach Boys song in quite the same way. In any case, the book moved me, and Iím glad I read it.

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