Look. I love Neil Diamond, and not in an ironic way. I have somewhere between 15 and 20 hours of his music on my iTunes, and I sing his songs at karaoke—wholeheartedly and without irony—whenever I get the chance. I've seen The Jazz Singer five times; that is how much I love Neil Diamond. So when David Wild releases a book like this, something that claims to be an unabashed adoration of Diamond's life and work, my ears perk up with interest.
It's too bad Wild is so busy playing cutesy-pie—writing crap like "in my heart of hearts—my "Heartlight" if you will—I remain a firm Believer that if you hate Neil Diamond, then you may actually hate yourself" to explain sincerely why he likes Diamond's work. Nearly every page is marred with Wild's awful sense of humor—he watches Jonathan Livingston Seagull only after claiming, "It felt as if not having the nerve to face this talking seagull was becoming an albatross around my neck." The man never met a shitty joke or crappy allusion he didn't want to take home and make passionate love to.
At least Wild, when he's not making cheesy US Weekly–level jokes and puns ("No one has ever mined Diamond's gems better than the heroic outfit that dared to call itself Super Diamond") writes a fairly decent biography of Diamond. But he can't keep himself out of the story, relating his personal history of fandom in that loathsome vaudeville chatterbox style as if it mattered to anyone. One day, someone will write a great book about Neil Diamond. Booksellers and librarians of the future should note that He Is... I Say should not be shelved anywhere near that book.