The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers by Daniel de Visé

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for The Blues Brothers:

They’re on a mission from God.

Quick synopsis:

The story of how Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi became the Blues Brothers.   

Fact for Non-History People:

The movie Animal House is based on a real life Dartmouth fraternity.

Fact for History Nerds:

Dan Aykroyd was born with syndactyly. Go ahead and look it up. He also has a genius level IQ and Tourette’s.

My Take on The Blues Brothers:

The Blues Brothers by Daniel de Visé will be a different book to different people, and it almost entirely depends on how much you love John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and the move The Blues Brothers.

If you’ve never heard of any of them or the movie, then this is not a book for you. While de Visé writes a well-researched and competent book, it relies heavily on nostalgia for the main protagonists. You would be better off just watching The Blues Brothers because I am part of the second group who loves everything about the movie.

For my fellow fanatics, de Visé provides plenty of behind-the-scenes information and an extended biography of Belushi. Aykroyd gets much less attention throughout the narrative and very often the book feels completely overtaken by Belushi’s drug habit. This is probably appropriate as Belushi’s drug habit overtook everything in his life and the people around him. I felt de Visé gives Belushi a bit too much grace. While we are luckily, as a society, moving away from vilifying addicts, it very much sounds like Belushi could be very difficult without the intervention of booze and drugs. Also, de Visé takes quite a while to get to the actual Blues Brothers as both an act and a movie. While there are quick glimpses, they only enter the narrative permanently almost midway through the book.

However, even with these issues, there is plenty to capture the attention of fans. The author did plenty of research and cares tremendously about his subjects. That will be enough to keep fanatics happy.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Grove Atlantic.)


A must read for Blues Brothers fans. Buy it here!

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