Throwing Dirt on Ian's Grave

Throwing Dirt on Ian's Grave
Reviewer: 2bitmonkey
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Touching from a Distance:
Ian Curtis and Joy Division
Softcover: 
240 pages
October 04, 2007
ISBN 10:
0571239560
ISBN 13:
978-0571239566

The only in-depth biographical account of the lead singer of Joy Division, written by his widow.

This book, a biography of the late Ian Curtis written by his wife, made me want to cry, but not in the way I expected it to. When most people think of Ian they mourn the loss of a brilliant performer and lyricist who tragically took his own life well before his time. Curtis was not only your classic depressed artist, he was also a very ill person, suffering from severe epilepsy at a time when the illness was not well understood and was not treated correctly, especially for those without any money or resources like Curtis. Ian needed help. One of the few things Debbie Curtis gets right in this book is that Ian needed to tour less and rest more, but in retrospect everyone realizes that was the case. There are no revelations here from Debbie, only accusations. She claims that Ian was lying when he said he didn't want to hold their baby daughter out of fear that he'd drop her. How could she possibly know that? She claims that Ian occasionally faked a seizure when he felt pressured. She throws bombs at his infidelity - which of course is unacceptable - but she notes repeatedly that their marriage was broken already and that Ian's paramour (Annik Honore) wasn't the real problem, Ian was by not wanting to be home. Debbie Curtis comes off as an angry housewife that got married to her sweetheart too young, insisted on having a child, and then got jealous when her husband was on the cusp of becoming a star. She felt left behind and instead of supporting and joining him on the magic ride that Joy Division was about to travel, she got bitter and brought Ian down. Eventually - due to his depression, his illness, and his taking the wrong medications - he cracked and killed himself. It hardly seems that she cares, except that she was left with a baby to raise. I hope that in the 20 years since writing this book she's gotten over herself.