Wicked and Weird

by Rich Terfry

Wicked and Weird CoverWhen I first heard that Terfry would be publishing his memoir about half a year ago, I could hardly contain my excitement. I love his music, and it was always a joy to read his numerous stories he shared on Facebook ––some of which appear to have made their way into Wicked and Weird––so I, naturally, had high expectations for this book. But, time serves to make us second-guess ourselves; by the time I finally had Terfry’s book firmly in my hands, I was a bit worried that the man I thought so highly of wouldn’t translate well into print, but, thankfully, such concern was largely unfounded. Barring a few slight missteps, which I’ll briefly touch on, I thought Wicked and Weird was great.

Wicked and Weird is Terfry’s On the Road, his Big Fish. He chronicles the makings of his hip hop persona, Buck 65, going through a troubling childhood in middle-of-nowhere Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia, his journeys and trials, dreams sought and lost, as well as the people he met along the way, eventually playing all over the world. I’ll quickly get the negatives out of the way: The unbelievable anecdotes severed the book’s ties to realism early on, giving the (presumably) truthful ones less weight; the Russian interrogation was ineffective as an anchor, though I can see how an ordeal like that would feel significant in Terfry’s mind, if true; and the ending feels abrupt. All that being said, the author was hugely effective in stirring up all kinds of emotions, in me at least. I felt that Terfry looked at life and love thoughtfully throughout. (Though, given the vitriol flung at Wicked and Weird seemingly for the author’s ego and mistreatment of women, I don’t know what this says about me.) Throughout his account of success and hardship, through lost love and alienation of those he cares about, the end result is as charming as it is funny or sad.

While the large negative reaction to this book makes me tentative in my recommendation, I liked it a lot. Be assured that the musical poetry of Buck 65 makes its way into Wicked and Weird.