My 2¢: Behind the Candelabra, by Scott Thorson

I recall watching most of the tv movie (I missed the first 30 minutes) ‘Behind the Candelabra’ and thinking that it would probably be a good book to read. I’m a real sucker for reading the book that a movie/show is based off of. Often times there are many details & explanations glossed over, shortened or left out completely & I’m a detail obsessed person….I like all the information, no matter how mundane it is. (Which explains why I read & basically re-read 100’s of articles when obsessing over something….you never know when you’re gonna happen across some interesting tidbit of knowledge.)

Fortunately for me I was actually able to find the ebook via my local library app (surprising because it’s a relatively “small town” & there doesn’t seem to be a high demand for popular/new books to be added, in real life or ebook form) & put it on my bookshelf. There it sat for 21 days while I neglected it to read other ebooks….I just couldn’t get into the mood to read it. Then the library took it away because my time was up. I still wanted to read it so I re-borrowed it & made myself start it; it took 2 nights but I wasn’t able to read straight through for 2 days.

Overall I liked the book. I’d never buy it, or borrow it again, but it was interesting. I wasn’t a Liberace fan before so of course I only knew what I’d heard throughout my life….he was over the top, extravagant, gay, talented, loaded, famous as all hell. In short, the book doesn’t really reveal any other shocking or interesting personality traits, other than he didn’t let people walk all over him & he could be pretty funny. I especially liked his replies about how he “cried all the way to the bank” (I would post a verbatim quote however I already returned the book before I decided to write this), when asked questions regarding finances or shows or gossip. It would make so much more sense if I could throw in a quote for you.

Anyway, from reading the book you get the sense that Mr. Thorson is a reputable, believable individual. He admits his faults, recognizes his mistakes, and totally owns the fact that he was-and still is, considering he published a tell-all book-a money grubber. He also was forthright about his drug dependency issues, which is commendable however one becomes skeptical when he claims to have overcome them (add to that the fact that one can utilize Google for 30 seconds & read the latest Thorson news….he’s facing 8-20 years for drugs/burglary). I couldn’t help figuring he hadn’t overcome them simply because he so eagerly claimed to. But moving on….

As far as the money goes, I think we all can agree that in a similar position we would do the same ourselves. I wouldn’t go to the lengths of hurting anyone (living or deceased) by what I wrote; if there were things I didn’t want people to know, I would hold them back. Write a book that’s just juicy enough to garner interest which in turn garners money. You kind of get the feeling Mr. Thorson is defending himself prematurely against people’s snide remarks, that he may think it makes him a bad person. Personally I don’t. I’m sure he still has enough real secrets & stories left to write another book however he’s (thus far anyway) decent enough not to. A few things I saw on Google however have made me question his overall truthfulness….I saw a couple of articles where as recently as 2013 he was claiming that he had a 6-7 year relationship with Michael Jackson. What the hell?! This is completely out of left field & (to me) screams “What, wait! Look at me…remember me? I was Liberace’s secret gay lover! I’m in need of money again so listen to this crazy tale…”. I can’t remember the other headlines but I do know they were utterly ridiculous. In Candelabra he mentions several times that he isn’t great with finances & basically blows his money on furs, dogs & coke. Even after the settlement of his “famous” lawsuit against Liberace he claims the majority of the $75,000 went primarily for drugs. So it’s completely plausible to me that he’s trying to get some bucks from the media. Which is fine….if it’s true. Which is less-fine-but-if-you’re-desperate-then-well-okay….if it at least has a grain of truth to it. But making shit up out of thin air just makes you look pathetic, and everyone knows why you’re doing it. I know it’s pointless for me to harp on this but it really kind of ruined the book for me; the whole time I read it I felt like Thorson was being upfront, honest, “doing this thing right”. Then to find out he’s going around spewing lies after the fact….makes me question the book, what was true, what wasn’t, what could be true but how would you know since you can’t rely on the author anymore….

My final 2 gripes are pretty simple. He wasted a lot of pages on a seemingly minute by minute break down of lawyers meetings, actions, court dates, etc. regarding his Liberace lawsuit. Dude, I don’t need to know all that boring minutia. Tell the main points (how it started, what it’s for, what was the outcome) & be done. It wasted my time & the only reason it was in there was because it was his suit against someone else. Pride. Or maybe he needed some filler to round the book out. Either way it was a waste of time. My other issue was no pictures! Now, in all fairness, maybe since it was an ebook the pictures weren’t included or couldn’t be sent….or….something. But other books (every…other…ebook actually) have had them, usually out of order from what the table of contents claims. There is usually a photo section at the very end, after everything else. So it may not be Scott Thorson’s fault but it was definitely a let down. In fact, that’s how I happened across all those other articles because I went looking for pictures on Google. I did find a clip of Liberace’s last interview (with Oprah) & a cute clip of him cooking with David Letterman. I also found pictures of Liberace, of course, which was nice & really solidified the image of extravagance I had in my mind’s eye. It would have been nice to see some personal photos of the two of them though, seeing as how that’s the backbone of the book.

In closing, it’s worth reading if you enjoy biographies, or want a deeper understanding of the movie, or are curious about Liberace. I hope Mr. Thorson can straighten himself out & return to the values he seems to have held once upon a time, and discontinues these bizarre, lame stories. He’s really making himself seem like a bitter, scruple-less old “queen”.

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