A couple of days ago I finished the biography ‘Brødrene Price – maden, musikken, livet og kærligheden’ (The Price Brothers – the food, the music, the life and the love). It was a quick read and I must, first off, clarify that already at the beginning I had my reservations about this book when I found out that Kühlmann had published the biography in 2007. So this version is an updated one, as a result of the Price brothers’ sudden blast of fame among every Tom, Dick and Harry that has a television set.
Not that they weren’t known before. Kühlmann clarifies this on several occasions, that these boys were a lot more than their cooking show which everyone defines them by now. But now, this book might actually sell to a much wider audience, so I guess that is the reason for a revised edition.
There is a mold here, and this book is produced to make the Price family fit into that mould in a fashionable manner. The Prices are all artistic people – those who aren’t, aren’t worth mentioning for long, they all work like insane people – which is justified because those who don’t work until they drop don’t get books written about them or TV-shows and top positions, and somewhere in this mesh of art, careers and stress, there is the human. There are sections of the book which really get under the skin of leading, what seems to be a very intense form of, a life. These are the sections I like. The places where you see that the choices James and Adam’s parents make have an effect on the kids. Or how the brothers interact with each other while growing up. But I also get the feeling that these boys have been through the whole process of understanding why who did what and why. They are balanced, reserved and, I’m afraid to say, so is the book. Not that I crave blood and breakdowns, people can be over it and still have a sense of just how traumatic living the situation was. In parts of the book, if you imagine you are sitting with Kühlmann and the Price brothers, you can sense that they have had a lot to say about their experiences, but it all seems so overly edited in the book. It’s the mould again, and pressing them into it has been at a cost of a little of Kühlmann’s own artistic role as a writer. There is a serious loss of criticism. The whole reciting of 200 years of ancestry just to solidify the point that the Price brothers were meant for artistic life I can do without. I don’t need the justification, but maybe Kühlmann feels that the brand will only be credible if all can be justified by ‘that’s just how the Price’s do it!’ The book is 200 pages and, as the subtitle implies, it really, really wants to get around everything,everyone, everyplace. Too much for me. In my opinion, if you feel you want to ‘know’ the Price brothers, go to the horses mouth – see their shows, read their articles, watch the cooking shows (of which I am a monstrous fan).
I haven’t read Kühlmann’s first take in 2007, with the apt title ‘Needle in the arm – The family and the Price brothers’ (although Kühlmann apologizes for it, I love it), but I am guessing it says pretty much the same things, only without the last two years of TV-fame, a couple of recipes from the family cookbook and some divorces + new girlfriends.
One thing however that I felt was a stroke of genius – not sure who’s idea it was – is grandmother Bodil’s Squirrel Peter story which is copied into the book. It is also a break in the general narration of the book, which goes something like, ‘Kühlmann tells about the family and the statements from the Price brothers are used to support and legitimize’. But this story didn’t have commentary, it is just there, a little story of a squirrel and his poor family. And it was a great read.
Maybe I am just not into these kind of books – I don’t see the point if it is going to be a glossed over happy-happy-some-sad-but-mainly-happy rant. A little critical thought is needed for this book to be interesting.