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Room to Dream

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In this memoir, David Lynch - co-creator of Twin Peaks and writer and director of groundbreaking films like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive - opens up about a lifetime of extraordinary creativity, the friendships he has made along the way and the struggles he has faced - sometimes successful, sometimes not - to bring his projects to fruition. In this memoir, David Lynch - co-creator of Twin Peaks and writer and director of groundbreaking films like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive - opens up about a lifetime of extraordinary creativity, the friendships he has made along the way and the struggles he has faced - sometimes successful, sometimes not - to bring his projects to fruition. Part-memoir, part-biography, Room to Dream interweaves Lynch's own reflections on his life with the story of those times, as told by Kristine McKenna, drawing from extensive and explosive interviews with ninety of Lynch's friends, family members, actors, agents, musicians and collaborators. Lynch responds to each recollection and reveals the inner story of the life behind the art.


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In this memoir, David Lynch - co-creator of Twin Peaks and writer and director of groundbreaking films like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive - opens up about a lifetime of extraordinary creativity, the friendships he has made along the way and the struggles he has faced - sometimes successful, sometimes not - to bring his projects to fruition. In this memoir, David Lynch - co-creator of Twin Peaks and writer and director of groundbreaking films like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive - opens up about a lifetime of extraordinary creativity, the friendships he has made along the way and the struggles he has faced - sometimes successful, sometimes not - to bring his projects to fruition. Part-memoir, part-biography, Room to Dream interweaves Lynch's own reflections on his life with the story of those times, as told by Kristine McKenna, drawing from extensive and explosive interviews with ninety of Lynch's friends, family members, actors, agents, musicians and collaborators. Lynch responds to each recollection and reveals the inner story of the life behind the art.

30 review for Room to Dream

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elyse

    “When I picture Boise in my mind, I see euphoric 1950s chrome optimism”, David Lynch said. When he was 14, his family moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Though Lynch flourished as a high school student in Alexandria...leaving Boise is when the music stopped... but the 1950’s never really ever went away for David.... girls in bobby sox and saddle shoes, classic rock ‘n’ roll, smoking cigarettes, BBQ’s - most: the *mood* of the time.... the innocence & goodness....and the dark forces pulsing beneath “When I picture Boise in my mind, I see euphoric 1950s chrome optimism”, David Lynch said. When he was 14, his family moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Though Lynch flourished as a high school student in Alexandria...leaving Boise is when the music stopped... but the 1950’s never really ever went away for David.... girls in bobby sox and saddle shoes, classic rock ‘n’ roll, smoking cigarettes, BBQ’s - most: the *mood* of the time.... the innocence & goodness....and the dark forces pulsing beneath it. The neighborhood where ‘Blue Velvet’ was shot looks much like his old neighborhood in Boise. God - I’ll never forget watching that film. I can’t express how much I enjoyed this book - reflecting memories into my own-David Lynch-entertainment-history... ( my daughter, Ali, and I watched Mulholland Drive together at ‘least’ 5 times).... While Twin Peaks got David to the very center of television and popular culture, he didn’t want to be in the center. I understand that!!!! “He was most ‘happy’ within the world he created for himself”. Damn, I adore this man! Gobbling up details about David’s personal/work/and spiritual life...from many people who were interviewed to David sharing himself, was simply heartwarming delicious. A biography/memoir combination ... which I thought worked perfectly. NOTE: if you google David Lynch ‘paintings’... you’ll be amazed of how much he has done - subconscious surreal bizarre paintings!!!! Fascinating!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    “Nobody is neutral on the subject of Lynch.” Truer words have never been written! Do you ever watch INLAND EMPIRE two or three times in a row and feel like you don’t understand the world anymore? Yeah, me neither… Then, reading this book, you’ll come across Noriko Miyakawa’s words - “The parts of the film you don’t understand point to places in yourself that need examining” - and feel you need to do some more soul searching, because nowhere in here is this bad boy explained. Simply that “it’s “Nobody is neutral on the subject of Lynch.” Truer words have never been written! Do you ever watch INLAND EMPIRE two or three times in a row and feel like you don’t understand the world anymore? Yeah, me neither… Then, reading this book, you’ll come across Noriko Miyakawa’s words - “The parts of the film you don’t understand point to places in yourself that need examining” - and feel you need to do some more soul searching, because nowhere in here is this bad boy explained. Simply that “it’s deep in interesting ways, and it goes into different places and has different textures that hook together. You enter the film in one place and you come out in another,” which is what I always loved about David Lynch when asked to talk about his films: abstract AF… I loved the behind the scenes of Twin Peaks: The Return and it saddens me there won’t be any more episodes! Oh, well… “If I look at any page of this book, I think, Man, that’s just the tip of the iceberg; there’s so much more, so many more stories. You could do an entire book on a single day and still not capture everything. It’s impossible to really tell the story of somebody’s life, and the most we can hope to convey here is a very abstract “Rosebud.” Ultimately, each life is a mystery until we each solve the mystery, and that’s where we are all headed whether we know it or not.”

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    In depth analysis of David Lynch and his creative processes. Each section is composed of two parts, one a biography, the other, a memoir illuminating the former. I've always been curious as to why someone who hit it out of the park with Eraserhead and Elephant Man was such a poor choice for Dune, but with subsequent work illustrating his influences more strategically, he redeemed himself. His small town upbringing is twisted on its ear (literally) with Blue Velvet, and his memory of going huntin In depth analysis of David Lynch and his creative processes. Each section is composed of two parts, one a biography, the other, a memoir illuminating the former. I've always been curious as to why someone who hit it out of the park with Eraserhead and Elephant Man was such a poor choice for Dune, but with subsequent work illustrating his influences more strategically, he redeemed himself. His small town upbringing is twisted on its ear (literally) with Blue Velvet, and his memory of going hunting with his father through nighttime Idaho, where all was black illuminated by headlights, shows up repeatedly most notably in the opening sequences of Lost Highway and Mulhulland Drive. He continues to find new ways of expressing himself, even in a cartoon titled "Angriest Dog in the World," and in producing his own coffee to go with superior pie. A true original.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

    I adore David Lynch; he is without doubt my favourite film maker and probably my biggest idol so it’s not surprising that I loved this book. David comes across as charming, unusual and creative and this is conveyed in the book really well and you get some wonderful insight in to his unique mind. I liked the style of the book as well, Kristine McKenna produced a biography based on interviews with over 100 people and after each section David adds to this and expands the facts further with a persona I adore David Lynch; he is without doubt my favourite film maker and probably my biggest idol so it’s not surprising that I loved this book. David comes across as charming, unusual and creative and this is conveyed in the book really well and you get some wonderful insight in to his unique mind. I liked the style of the book as well, Kristine McKenna produced a biography based on interviews with over 100 people and after each section David adds to this and expands the facts further with a personal touch. Despite all the compliments I probably wouldn’t recommend this to someone unfamiliar with Lynch as this book feels like it was produced for fans not for those new to him and his work. If you are a fan I'd say that this is a must read and I'd give it my highest recommendation.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Reuben

    Straight off the bat I have to say: don't believe the way this book describes itself. Statements like "David Lynch opens up for the first time about a life lived in pursuit of his singular vision", "An unprecedented look into the personal and creative life of the visionary auteur David Lynch" and "Lynch’s lyrical, intimate, and unfiltered personal reflections riff off biographical sections" make it sound like this book will explore his creative process in some way, but it doesn't. When it talks Straight off the bat I have to say: don't believe the way this book describes itself. Statements like "David Lynch opens up for the first time about a life lived in pursuit of his singular vision", "An unprecedented look into the personal and creative life of the visionary auteur David Lynch" and "Lynch’s lyrical, intimate, and unfiltered personal reflections riff off biographical sections" make it sound like this book will explore his creative process in some way, but it doesn't. When it talks of intimate and unfiltered reflections, it's talking about scenes like David comparing his first wank to man "discovering fire". I don't think this is intentionally misleading marketing, but I also don't feel as though I was the one with misjudged expectations going in either. I never expected David Lynch to sit down and say, "Right, Axxon N. in INLAND EMPIRE means this. . ." That's not how art works, and it's certainly not how Lynch's art works. Besides, I wouldn't want that. What I did expect from the above statements, whoever, is a look into his creative process that stems beyond his well-known and vague use of meditation. That never really materialises in Room to Dream. Almost every chapter of this book is devoted to one of his projects, but the deepest any of them go in discussing that project is usually capped at how hard it was for David Lynch to get funding (which can often make reading this a slog). Only rarely do they discuss filming in more than a superficial way. Most of the time Kristine McKenna interviews members of the set and they all give fairly similar one-note responses: "David Lynch is amazing, and working with him is unlike working with anyone else." etc etc. Repetitious is how this book ends up feelings for large swathes. Almost ritualistic. The elephant in the room for me with regards to Lynch is how he treats women. How he burns through marriages, how he frequently sexualises female corpses, or has beautiful naked women on screen for a few seconds only to have them brutally murdered etc. And this is definitely a theme present in Room to Dream. Almost every film of Lynch's has been accused of being misogynistic by someone, and this book responds each time. It also responds every time Lynch cheats on a girlfriend, wife, pregnant partner, or mother to one of his newly-born. The only problem is, Kristine McKenna always has the same airbrushed response to give. She simply quotes another review that says "Nah guys, this is art, not misogyny", or, and she does this too many times to count, quotes Jennifer Lynch as saying "My dad is a good man, his problem is that he has too much love to give and so can't help himself with new women." And it's like. . . why tackle this issue, if you're only going to repeatedly, and fairly cheaply try to protect David from criticism at all costs? I don't think he's a misogynist; but I do think that his relationship with women is troubling and his love of the "woman-in-trouble" often correlates with a morbid interest in violence perpetrated against women. Also the amount of times he cheats on partners, especially when they have young or middling children, is inexplicably shitty. That's not an excess of love, that's a dearth of humanity. The book lost a lot of credibility for me when it handled this aspect of Lynch in such a lazy and biased way. I started to wonder what this book is, and whether it's no more than a glorified puff piece (which is part of the trouble when the artist themself writes 50% of the book). Because the way it handles Lynch as a person is more akin to some sort of cult leader. With the biographical side of this book being 70% interview quotes there's an awful lot of parts where it's just the same sentiment in a different mouth: "Lynch is amazing, and working with him has changed my life for the better. He is charismatic and when he walks into the room you feel at ease." I don't actually think this is all a bad thing, though. While, like a lot of the book, it's repetitious, it does show you, time and time again, that at his heart Lynch can be a very caring and disarming person. The stories of him reaching out to so many people are heart-warming and deepened my opinion of Lynch as a person. He's far from perfect, as evidenced above, but he is at least self-aware of his luck and wants to share it with others. It's a very selective portrait of Lynch, only showing his good sides, but I do think this is a true aspect of him (even if it's only part of the picture). And overall, the book isn't bad. The opening few chapters about Lynch's childhood and ascent from straight-A student to artistic rebel are illuminating, as is the chapter on Eraserhead (one of the few chapters to discuss the film-making beyond merely discussions about funding and casting). The chapters between that and Twin Peaks: The Return (80% of the book) are pretty mediocre and formuliac unfortunately; but the last chapter is really great. Sadly, a lot of the most interesting stories and anecdotes in this book are things you will have heard if you are a fan of David Lynch--and since you have to be a fan to want to read a 600 page biography-cum-memoir about him. . . I'm not sure who the audience for that is really. I've given this three stars. It deserves two really; but I'm a criminal Lynch apologist and that's not going to stop here. Would I recommend the book though? Absolutely not.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Watkins

    Repetitive and somewhat boring, though there are great anecdotes sprinkled throughout. I think the problem is Lynch has never really changed since he was a kid, which is a good thing because Lynch as he is is great, but it makes for a rather boring and repetitive memoir/biography - everybody from childhood friends to Hollywoodians saying the same things about him - and since Lynch is not very self-reflective or self-analytical, his portions also tread the same ground, with variations, over and o Repetitive and somewhat boring, though there are great anecdotes sprinkled throughout. I think the problem is Lynch has never really changed since he was a kid, which is a good thing because Lynch as he is is great, but it makes for a rather boring and repetitive memoir/biography - everybody from childhood friends to Hollywoodians saying the same things about him - and since Lynch is not very self-reflective or self-analytical, his portions also tread the same ground, with variations, over and over.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Text Publishing

    ‘A fascinating look into an endlessly imaginative and alarming man.’ Otago Daily Times ‘[A] memorable portrait of one of cinema’s great auteurs…It provides a remarkable insight into Lynch’s intense commitment to the “art life”.’ Guardian ‘Traditional and comprehensive on one side while whimsical and irreverent on the other, Room to Dream manages to have it both ways...[A]n enthusiastic, contagious tribute to creativity itself.’ Brag ‘Room to Dream is described as “part-memoir, part-biography” and t ‘A fascinating look into an endlessly imaginative and alarming man.’ Otago Daily Times ‘[A] memorable portrait of one of cinema’s great auteurs…It provides a remarkable insight into Lynch’s intense commitment to the “art life”.’ Guardian ‘Traditional and comprehensive on one side while whimsical and irreverent on the other, Room to Dream manages to have it both ways...[A]n enthusiastic, contagious tribute to creativity itself.’ Brag ‘Room to Dream is described as “part-­memoir, part-biography” and this duality proves to be extraordinarily productive…This enlightening and exhaustive book should be an essential way of discovering more about [Lynch] and his world.’ Australian ‘...the blending of biography and memoir into a kind of biographical duet turns the whole project on its head, makes it different, stranger, more alive…Exactly what Lynch always does in his art.’ LA Times ‘[A] cubist portrait of the artist, body and mind on separate tracks…Room to Dream offers countless new stories, even for Lynch fanatics.’ Washington Post ‘What makes this book endearing is its chatty, calm...anti-Hollywood attitude…and matter-of-fact defiance of reality.’ San Francisco Chronicle ‘The book doesn’t give us one focused view of Lynch, but a double vision, as though two similar but not quite exact portraits of the man have been projected onto one another…There is value, joy, and beauty in staying with Lynch and his cohorts for these 500-plus pages.’ Los Angeles Times ‘Intimate and honest…McKenna’s interviewees unfailingly describe Lynch's charisma and warmth, and his methodical but instinctive dedication to craft.’ NPR ‘A strikingly multidimensional portrait of the artist…[An] incandescently detailed and complexly enlightening chronicle of a fervent, uncompromising life devoted to “pure creativity”.’ Booklist ‘Insightful, well-researched…The book abounds in great stories and terrific movie trivia that will sate Lynch fans for years to come.’ Kirkus Reviews ‘If you expected a David Lynch biography to be just like any other biography, you've never seen a David Lynch movie…Fascinating.’ New York Times ‘David Lynch’s memoir illuminates the origins of his art...the humour and eccentricity of Mr Lynch’s own reminiscences and observations are the book’s main pleasure.’ The Economist ‘Lynch is the master of the perverse, the unsettling and the plain bonkers.’ Sunday Times ‘Reassuringly unconventional…Engrossing...Lynch writes like he speaks. He's disarmingly direct, cheerfully profane and prone to bursts of giddy enthusiasm.’ Big Issue ‘Captivating...Gives the reader a panoramic insight into Lynch's impressive oeuvre, with sufficient time left to explore Lynch's childhood and coming of age.’ Irish Independent on Sunday ‘An intimate, humanising self-portrait...This wonderful new book is the most comprehensive overview of the filmmaker’s life and career to date.’ Little White Lies ‘A unique reading experience; more experimental novel than straight up biography. Which is most welcome and entirely appropriate...An endlessly fascinating work that invites multiple readings.’ Future of the Force ‘A sunny, holistic portrait of a corn-fed American dreamer who simply likes to show his nightmares to the world. Lynch emerges from these pages as principled, flighty…He’s constantly chasing the next big idea.’ Guardian ‘Lynch has stories to spare and it may be that this is the closest most of us get to spending time in his company...The book is both salve and distraction. All but essential for Lynch fans.’ Bookmunch ‘A tantalising hybrid of biography and autobiography…Film buffs will delight in this compelling and illuminating memoir...Lynch casts aside his reticence to discuss his life and films in this wildly enjoyable, massive and bracingly candid memoir.’ Shelf Awareness ‘Offers countless new stories, even for Lynch fanatics…All is told with Lynch’s considerable charm.’ Australian Financial Review ‘Journalist Kristine McKenna maps a rich biography derived from extensive interviews…[and] Lynch jumps in second. This two-pronged approach creates an accurate timeline and intimate self-portrait, but it’s what happens in the space between that’s special: a man engaging not with his own mythology, but rather his own personhood.’ VICE ‘Fascinating insights into the director’s process.’ New York Times

  8. 4 out of 5

    Seroxx83

    I’ve been a big fan of David lynch since forever, seen his movies and twin peaks multiple times! There’s just so many layers in his work, and the mood you get when watching is something else! So when this book came out, I just needed it! David is truly one of a kind,and getting the honor to learn a bit more about him and his journey was truly amazing!! ❤ I’ve been a big fan of David lynch since forever, seen his movies and twin peaks multiple times! There’s just so many layers in his work, and the mood you get when watching is something else! So when this book came out, I just needed it! David is truly one of a kind,and getting the honor to learn a bit more about him and his journey was truly amazing!! ❤️

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    After reading this, I still don’t know how he made the baby from Eraserhead. Seriously though, any of the real questions I had were left unanswered. The criticisms about gender within Lynch’s movies were never addressed, though the treatment of his wives was quite telling in a parallel way. This wasn’t an inspiring memoir/biography for me, and the memories that were shared were less than interesting.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lee Monks

    It's a hagiography, but surely you need no convincing. Despite the often gushing biography narrative, there are some doozy anecdotes. Marlon Brando drives round hungry but there's only a tomato and a banana in the fridge: not to worry, Marlon tucks in. (Bit of salt on the tomato, sorted.) There's something called a 'Chair Pull', the description of which is unmissable. He kisses Elizabeth Taylor but doesn't want to marry her. He collects dental implements. Plenty of great stuff on the films, with It's a hagiography, but surely you need no convincing. Despite the often gushing biography narrative, there are some doozy anecdotes. Marlon Brando drives round hungry but there's only a tomato and a banana in the fridge: not to worry, Marlon tucks in. (Bit of salt on the tomato, sorted.) There's something called a 'Chair Pull', the description of which is unmissable. He kisses Elizabeth Taylor but doesn't want to marry her. He collects dental implements. Plenty of great stuff on the films, with most of the players speaking at length, and some fantastic photos.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Serhiy

    У книги незвична структура: кожний розділ складається з двох частин, перша написана Крістін Маккенна як звичайна біографія, друга написана самим Лінчем як коментар до першої, де він щось доповнює, проянює або навіть заперечує. Попри таку подвійну оптику, книга не дуже допомагає збагнути Лінча. Типовий Лінч це щось таке: “Eraserhead is my most spiritual film, but no one has ever gotten that from it. The way it happened was I had these feelings, but I didn’t know what it really was about for me. So У книги незвична структура: кожний розділ складається з двох частин, перша написана Крістін Маккенна як звичайна біографія, друга написана самим Лінчем як коментар до першої, де він щось доповнює, проянює або навіть заперечує. Попри таку подвійну оптику, книга не дуже допомагає збагнути Лінча. Типовий Лінч це щось таке: “Eraserhead is my most spiritual film, but no one has ever gotten that from it. The way it happened was I had these feelings, but I didn’t know what it really was about for me. So I get out the Bible and start reading, and I’m reading along, reading along, and I come to this sentence and I say, ‘That’s exactly it.’ I can’t say which sentence it is, though.” Коротше кажучи, він не з тих людей, які легко відкривають свою душу, а якщо починають відкривати, то зупиняються на півдорозі. З книги можно дізнатись, як створювались фільми та арт-проекти Лінча, з ким він над ними працював, з якими труднощами стикався, але самі твори Лінч принципово не коментує. Джерела натхнення вам так просто теж ніхто не назве. Лінч не вдає з себе інтелектуала, або інтелегента, в якого замість біографії список прочитаної літератури. Ніяких улюблених фільмів та книг. За кількома обмовками можна здогадатися, що його улюблене кіно “Бульвар Сансет”, але це не певно. В іншому місці Лінч обмовиться, що його улубленний фільм Фелліні “8 ½”, але не більше. Колись він думав екранізувати “Перевтілення”, тож читав Кафку, але на цьому все. Лінч рідкісний випадок режисера, який прийшов у кіно з живопису. З дитинства він хотів стати художником, вчився в академіях за цим фахом, і продовжує малювати по сьогодення. Але що його до цього спонукало, він нам теж не розповість. Одного разу зауважить, що його вразила виставка Френсіса Бекона, але це не важко здогадатись і з його фільмів. Дитинство Лінча - розчарування психоаналітика. Він виріс в 50-х роках на Середньому Заході, батько за фахом був ентомологом і займався збереженням та охороною лісів, мати - вчителькою англійської. З обома батьками в Лінча були гарні стосунки до самої їхньої смерті, ніяких вам сімейних конфліктів. Хоча вони не завжди розуміли захоплення сина, але завжди підтримували його морально та фінансово. Лінч був товариським за характером і легко знаходив мову з однолітками, тож у школі теж проблем не мав. Опитані Маккенна друзі дитинства лінча щиро не розуміють, звідки походять химерні образи з його фільмів. І все це дуже добре, бо найгірше, що могло би статися - Лінч справді написав, про що його фільми. А так читач може відчути агентом Купером, який збирає уліки, і тоді помітить, що усміхнений мішок для трупів з “Твін Пікса” виник під враженням від філадельфійського моргу, а джойрайд з “Блакитного оксамиту” - від поїздки на машині з не зовсім притомним шкільним другом тощо. Врешті решт, іншої біографії Лінча поки не написано, тож всім зацікавленим варто її прочитати.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    For people who love to read how artist, actors, and writer's grew, struggled, fought heaven and hell to be as famous as they have become, this book is for them. David Lynch has been a terrific writer and famous for his share of the TV Show Twin Peaks. I won this in a goodreads giveaway and I'm thankful to Random house and Goodreads for letting me enjoy this bio. memoir told by Lynch and his friends. Good Read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Randy

    WELCOME TO LYNCHLAND Everything you didn't know you wanted to know about David Lynch, his life, art and films. This is a fascinating and enlightening book. It helps of course if you're familiar with his movies (and his music) but even if you're not you should get a lot out of this read. You may come out the other side of this book a different person (and I'm only half-joking about that). Worst case, only your doppelganger will come out. ;) My love for and appreciation of his work have deepened, th WELCOME TO LYNCHLAND Everything you didn't know you wanted to know about David Lynch, his life, art and films. This is a fascinating and enlightening book. It helps of course if you're familiar with his movies (and his music) but even if you're not you should get a lot out of this read. You may come out the other side of this book a different person (and I'm only half-joking about that). Worst case, only your doppelganger will come out. ;) My love for and appreciation of his work have deepened, thanks to this reading experience. Kristine McKenna has a clear and engaging voice, and Lynch's chapters are --what else?-- Lynchian. This is a wonderful book. I could say a lot more but this woodsman's at my door asking, "Gotta light?"

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sean Kennedy

    I loved the formatting of this memoir - McKenna does your standard biographical text with interviews of those who knew Lynch, and Lynch responds to it with his own version of events. The devil is in the details, and Lynch is as Lynch as Lynch can be in his responses.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael Lisk

    Of course, there are plenty of great anecdotes throughout, but the pile-up of compliments begins to grate about 300 pages in. We get it! David Lynch is a great guy! "Saint David" might have been a more appropriate title.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Absolutely a must read for Lynch fans. Totally absorbing. That said, it’s kind of hard to imagine anyone without a lot of admiration for and knowledge of Lynch loving this. For everyone else, an incredible read. Truly an original American voice which, for all kinds of reasons (discussed here in oblique and not so oblique terms) seems harder and harder to come by. Lots of insights but no definitive answers; this is a David Lynch (semi) autobiography after all.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tasha Robinson

    Reviewed this one here for NPR Books. But here's the short version: I learned a lot about David Lynch's personal history from this book, and especially about his habit of ending long-term relationships by taking up with a new woman behind the old one's back, then eventually telling the previous one that their marriage (or in Isabella Rossellini's case, relationship) was over. It bothered me a bit that he romanticizes this process as "Then I fell in love with so-and-so, it was amazing," but on th Reviewed this one here for NPR Books. But here's the short version: I learned a lot about David Lynch's personal history from this book, and especially about his habit of ending long-term relationships by taking up with a new woman behind the old one's back, then eventually telling the previous one that their marriage (or in Isabella Rossellini's case, relationship) was over. It bothered me a bit that he romanticizes this process as "Then I fell in love with so-and-so, it was amazing," but on the other hand, it's also hard to feel for the women, given that they all went behind their predecessors' backs, and then were cheated on in return. That aside, I learned a lot from this book about Lynch's general process of following his visions, focusing on the details, and not worrying overmuch about meaning or metaphor. Which means this book is pretty useless for unpacking any given Lynch film and understanding it better, but it's really enjoyable in terms of set stories about Lynch holding up an entire cast and crew for a day while he tried to capture a shadow to his liking, or keeping people waiting while he stacked coffee beans in an corner of a set that would never appear onscreen, because it felt right. Unsurprisingly, Lynch's worldview is going to strike most people as odd — he dismisses the popularity of Twin Peaks as unimportant, while enthusing over the failure of Dune because it taught him important lessons — but there are certainly a lot of short, crisp anecdotes here about what it's like to operate inside it, both from Lynch's perspective and from the perspective of those who've worked with him over the years.

  18. 4 out of 5

    3 no 7

    “Room to Dream” by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna is structured as a conversation about his life with the reader. This book is a storyteller at his best, recalling the stories of his life, the events that made him the complex person that he is. Readers want to know every detail. He pulls us into his life as he pulls us into his movies, and his stories, like his movies, are full of enlightenment cloaked in dark humor. Lynch grew up in a small town, and with the usual middle-class experiences. He “Room to Dream” by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna is structured as a conversation about his life with the reader. This book is a storyteller at his best, recalling the stories of his life, the events that made him the complex person that he is. Readers want to know every detail. He pulls us into his life as he pulls us into his movies, and his stories, like his movies, are full of enlightenment cloaked in dark humor. Lynch grew up in a small town, and with the usual middle-class experiences. He was an Eagle Scout, had supportive parents, and experienced a degree of freedom unimaginable today. Despite this, his childhood memories are a mixture of darkness and light. The book contains Lynch’s personal recollections as well as comments and memories from childhood friends, family members and friends. The language and narrative construction is casual and friendly as if sitting with friends reminiscing about old times. His remarkable descriptive style makes every day run of the mill experiences compelling and interesting, but there is always that dark undertone to his life stories as there is in his movies. I received a copy of “Room to Dream” from David Lynch, Kristine McKenna, Random House, and NetGalley. The book is a collection of little personal stories rather than a litany of accomplishments. It also includes the background of society and news of the time to frame his recollections to put them in social context. Lynch’s friendly narrative style paints vivid pictures of everyday occurrences that put the reader right there beside him. I absolutely recommend this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Wow what a read this is. I was completely enthralled and entranced. Being a big fan of David Lynch's work I was very excited to read this new biography/memoir hybrid. The design of the book works really well and everything flows naturally. The biography portions were lovingly written by Kristine McKenna and then are followed by memoir portions written by David Lynch himself. This is a beautiful package of knowledge.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    What is a dream, and when it's gone what exactly did we actually possess or witness? Only David Lynch would co-write a book like this. Room to dream is both a biography and a memoir as Kristine McKenna writes passages of his life which are then followed by lynch's reaction to those passages sprinkled with his own thoughts, memories, musings, and dreams. And the effect upon the reader is a kind of dream as they receive this book passively, while feeling these moments more often than actually readi What is a dream, and when it's gone what exactly did we actually possess or witness? Only David Lynch would co-write a book like this. Room to dream is both a biography and a memoir as Kristine McKenna writes passages of his life which are then followed by lynch's reaction to those passages sprinkled with his own thoughts, memories, musings, and dreams. And the effect upon the reader is a kind of dream as they receive this book passively, while feeling these moments more often than actually reading them. David Lynch as an artist has impacted the cultural landscape in profound ways, and even if one does not like the man's work, they have likely experienced or enjoyed the work of someone who has been touched by the man's unique aesthetic. As an artist Lynch has relied completely upon his own vision and that honesty and integrity of spirit is probably why the man appeals to me as much as he does. This book was a chance to see not just the maker of films like Eraserhead, Muholland Drive, Lost Highway, and Twin Peaks, it was a chance to see the humanity of a great artist. Lynch appears in this book, through the many interviews as well as his own testimony, as a kind hearted man who's driven solely by a desire to make art. Rather than pursue narratives that would benefit him economically, he's constantly chosen a path of his own making. The reader is sure to observe as I did that Lynch was not always kind, particularly to his wives of which there were four of them, but these faults do an important job of humanizing him which is ultimately the point of a biography. By the end of a book about someone's life the reader should not walk away with the image of the person as a kind of saint. They should see the person's eccentricities, faults, dreams, ambitions, and ultimately their effect and response to the culture they lived in. Room to Dream does just that, and by the end I felt a deeper understanding of Lynch as an artist, and even more so as a human driven by passion. Take a step through the curtain chief, and hold on tight. The dream is weird and strange and wonderful, but it'll take you places you would never see anywhere else.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Richard Gray

    3.5 leaning towards 4 maybe? If you're expecting to find out how the baby was made in Eraserhead or the nature of the rift between him and Michael J. Anderson, you should look elsewhere. "This book is a chronicle of things that happened," the authors explain in the introduction, "not an explanation of what those things means." They put it more succinctly elsewhere: it's "a person having a conversation with his own biography." Both of these things seem like an intriguing prospect individually, and 3.5 leaning towards 4 maybe? If you're expecting to find out how the baby was made in Eraserhead or the nature of the rift between him and Michael J. Anderson, you should look elsewhere. "This book is a chronicle of things that happened," the authors explain in the introduction, "not an explanation of what those things means." They put it more succinctly elsewhere: it's "a person having a conversation with his own biography." Both of these things seem like an intriguing prospect individually, and together they make are far more interesting tome that either separately. The films and art of David Lynch have been covered in innumerable places over the years. Biographer Kristine McKenna acknowledges this in her chronological account of his life and career. On some level, this is an excuse to never get terribly deep on any one topic, glossing over the details in favour of numerous interview and anecdotes. That said, McKenna gathers an impressive number of actors and crew from Lynch's crew. However, it's really all context for Lynch himself to write a response chapter to each of McKenna's summaries. Lynch is even lighter in his touch, often adding not much more that "he or she was great! Gosh just great!" to events. Having said the balance of McKenna/Lynch's approaches gives us more than either of them could alone. Lynch's Midwestern charm is also contagious, and you get a sense of what his artistic mind considers to be the important details of the production. Sometimes its meeting a person, and others its the coffee or burgers he ate every day. Neither McKenna or Lynch seem as interested in the details in later chapters as they were in the beginning. McKenna repeatedly talks about Lynch getting distracted by other things, and perhaps that was just setup for his approach to this very tome. Still, Lynch devotees are sure to dig hearing his thoughts on all of his productions, including some nice tidbits on the most recent season of Twin Peaks.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Filmmaker David Lynch notoriously eludes talking about his work, so a nearly 600-page memoir is quite a surprise. In an effort to create a definitive biography, Lynch and coauthor Kristine McKenna have produced ROOM TO DREAM , a tantalizing hybrid of biography and autobiography. McKenna, who interviewed more than 100 people, writes the straightforward biography chapters offering perspectives from ex-wives, producers, cast and crew members. A chapter by Lynch follows, elaborating on the preceding Filmmaker David Lynch notoriously eludes talking about his work, so a nearly 600-page memoir is quite a surprise. In an effort to create a definitive biography, Lynch and coauthor Kristine McKenna have produced ROOM TO DREAM , a tantalizing hybrid of biography and autobiography. McKenna, who interviewed more than 100 people, writes the straightforward biography chapters offering perspectives from ex-wives, producers, cast and crew members. A chapter by Lynch follows, elaborating on the preceding material, sometimes disagreeing but always offering colorful extra details. The clever back-and-forth concept creates a more panoramic view than most biographies achieve. Lynch's first feature-length film, "Eraserhead", took five years to complete and became a midnight movie favorite that caught the eye of Mel Brooks. Brooks hired him to helm "The Elephant Man" and it became a surprise mainstream hit, earning Lynch two Oscar nominations. His next film, an adaptation of Frank Herbert's "Dune", was a critical and box office disaster. "Failure is a beautiful thing," writes Lynch, "because when the dust settles there's nowhere to go but up, and it's a freedom." That freedom allowed him to create "Blue Velvet", "Twin Peaks", "Wild at Heart", "Mulholland Drive", "Inland Empire" and other quirky projects. Lynch is a maverick filmmaker who has found popularity by staying true to his often warped and disturbing vision of the world. ROOM TO DREAM shares where those ideas came from, but it also celebrates his decades-long friendships and his love of romance. Film buffs will delight in this compelling and illuminating memoir. Filmmaker David Lynch casts aside his reticence to discuss his life and films in this wildly enjoyable, massive and bracingly candid memoir.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Wilder

    Lightweight but fun account of the making of David Lynch. Feels like the text to a nonexistent self-made Lynch coffee table book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sherrie

    Room to Dream by David Lynch is a big book - almost 500 pages, and thoroughly worth it! What a ride and what a story, David Lynch is as creative in the telling of himself as he is in creativing amazing scripts. Two things I loved besides the story is one, chapter titles listed - I did a bit of jostling around and two, David Lynch tells the stories of his life; growing up, family, work, passion, vision and co-author Kristine McKenns follows each chapter with the back up story with interviews and Room to Dream by David Lynch is a big book - almost 500 pages, and thoroughly worth it! What a ride and what a story, David Lynch is as creative in the telling of himself as he is in creativing amazing scripts. Two things I loved besides the story is one, chapter titles listed - I did a bit of jostling around and two, David Lynch tells the stories of his life; growing up, family, work, passion, vision and co-author Kristine McKenns follows each chapter with the back up story with interviews and anecdotes from friends and family. Fun book!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matheus Borges

    This book is like spending an afternoon with an old relative and listening to his stories, the same stories he's already told you a million times. You're so familiar with these anecdotes you know all the pauses, all the analogies and punchlines your old relative has perfected over the years to make the stories more entertaining. Despite this, you keep your mouth shut and listen to them one more time because you love him.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This book will be a big hit with passionate David Lynch fans and serious film scholars, but for the rest of us, it's not a very compelling read. The format is clever, with chapters alternating between traditional, third-person-style biography provided by Kristine McKenna and first-person memoir by Lynch. While this could be a great idea, it fails here, since McKenna's chapters are flat and lacking in insight, and Lynch's chapters are vivid and uninteresting. (A typical gem from Lynch is, "My fou This book will be a big hit with passionate David Lynch fans and serious film scholars, but for the rest of us, it's not a very compelling read. The format is clever, with chapters alternating between traditional, third-person-style biography provided by Kristine McKenna and first-person memoir by Lynch. While this could be a great idea, it fails here, since McKenna's chapters are flat and lacking in insight, and Lynch's chapters are vivid and uninteresting. (A typical gem from Lynch is, "My fourth-grade teacher was named Mrs. Fordyce, and we called her Mrs. Four-Eyes." That's about as penetrating as it gets.) Film buffs will enjoy reading about the details of Lynch's process and the backstories of how he made his movies.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    David Lynch is friend to everyone he ever meets. Even the people who he has cut out of his life, sometimes ruthlessly, still speak fondly of him. He has an energy that people who he works with latch on to. He’s the sort of man you’d probably agree to work with regardless of the circumstances, simply because he’s David Lynch. This brings us to Room to Dream, a memoir which combines fairly straightforward oral history prose composed by long time Lynch friend Kristine McKenna with chapter by chapte David Lynch is friend to everyone he ever meets. Even the people who he has cut out of his life, sometimes ruthlessly, still speak fondly of him. He has an energy that people who he works with latch on to. He’s the sort of man you’d probably agree to work with regardless of the circumstances, simply because he’s David Lynch. This brings us to Room to Dream, a memoir which combines fairly straightforward oral history prose composed by long time Lynch friend Kristine McKenna with chapter by chapter responses from the man himself. It’s a fairly solid concept and it’s surprising that there aren’t more dialogic memoirs, but as Room to Dream progresses you realise that the information becomes thinner on the ground, and a book that was once filling you to burst is beginning to leave you malnourished. Room to Dream’s promising beginnings chronicle Lynch’s childhood and student years, and continue clean through to Blue Velvet. This is probably because these times are characterised by the struggles in Lynch’s seemingly charmed life: Lynch enjoys waxing nostalgic about his childhood, and he is fascinating when he discusses the value of the failure of Dune. Then you get to Twin Peaks, and McKenna’s segments begin to seem somewhat cursory, and Lynch doesn’t try so hard. On the Red Room: “[…] I love curtains. Are you kidding me?” Certainly there are other tomes devoted to the creation of Twin Peaks - and many other Lynch works besides - but this is a rare insight into the inner workings of the man, and he resists not only explanations of meaning (which is fine), but also of process. Even when Room to Dream becomes shallower than you’d like, it never fails to engage. Lynch’s fan club is legion - Isabella Rossellini is happy to say nothing but warm things despite the fact that their relationship ended with Lynch abruptly telling him that she never wants to see him again; his three previous wives are effusive in their praise; his current wife laments losing him to the work but insists their relationship is still solid – and they provide texture to the work. The thing is, David Lynch seems like a great guy. It’s fun to spend time in his presence, and even if you’re not learning as much as you’d like, the vibe that Room to Dream gives off is one of those rare instances of electricity on the page. Is it really so unlike David Lynch to frustrate as he fascinates, to obscure as he reveals? No. Room to Dream is an unprecedented book, the likes of which we’ll probably never see again. You may not glean the secrets of the universe within these pages, and you might even be put off by the fanaticism with which Lynch approaches transcendental meditation, but you’ll come away from Room to Dream a slightly wiser person. Your log is turning gold.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Oda

    I remember being much younger, and surfing the web, which we had just installed at our house. On a film website I began reading about the Great American Directors. I stumbled onto a name, David Lynch, and began reading. It/he seemed kind of strange, but nothing too crazy. Then I glanced at a picture of the "baby" from Eraserhead and immediately froze and looked away. It was as if I was looking at something that shouldn't be looked at. It seemed beyond horror, but I was so curious at the same tim I remember being much younger, and surfing the web, which we had just installed at our house. On a film website I began reading about the Great American Directors. I stumbled onto a name, David Lynch, and began reading. It/he seemed kind of strange, but nothing too crazy. Then I glanced at a picture of the "baby" from Eraserhead and immediately froze and looked away. It was as if I was looking at something that shouldn't be looked at. It seemed beyond horror, but I was so curious at the same time, I needed to find out what it was! So I looked with my eyes shielded by my fingers. That bizarre fascination is key to Lynch's work and always reminds me why most of his work is so dear. In this book he speaks very plainly of the course/synchronicities that occur in our lives, of the people he loves, of the moods and such. But sometimes the intuitive nature of Lynch gets in the way of wanting answers, which is how Lynch's work thrives in the first place. To place some sort of def meaning then demolishes other intersecting areas that the artwork can cross into. I would give this five stars if it would go into more depth...otherwise a damn fine book!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Garry

    I’m always looking for ways to inspire my creativity. This book opened my eyes to a master of creativity, the filmmaker David Lynch. Born in 1946 and currently living in California, David continues to write, paint, produce movies, make furniture and much more. Room To Dream is an unusual book in that one chapter is written by his collaborator, Kristine McKenna, in which she pulls together facts and quotes and stories about David. The next chapter is David recalling all those same episodes, but o I’m always looking for ways to inspire my creativity. This book opened my eyes to a master of creativity, the filmmaker David Lynch. Born in 1946 and currently living in California, David continues to write, paint, produce movies, make furniture and much more. Room To Dream is an unusual book in that one chapter is written by his collaborator, Kristine McKenna, in which she pulls together facts and quotes and stories about David. The next chapter is David recalling all those same episodes, but obviously from his point of view. The book proceeds through his life this way. It’s a fascinating read. He seems to be universally liked, a kind generous soul, who sees things in his mind that he is able to create in the real world. He finds the mystical and surreal in the tiniest aspects of everyday life, and lavishes attention on them.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Connolly

    Room to Dream is the part biography part memoir of auteur David Lynch. It’s a love fest survey for fans who have followed the artist’s career ever since Eraserhead. Supported by parents, multiple partners, and driven by a spirit of the transcendent and surreal, Lynch has produced a singular body of work. Few things surprised me in this collaboratively written account. The Ups are here — his five year production of his first film, Eraserhead; the creation of Twin Peaks (three seasons). The Downs Room to Dream is the part biography part memoir of auteur David Lynch. It’s a love fest survey for fans who have followed the artist’s career ever since Eraserhead. Supported by parents, multiple partners, and driven by a spirit of the transcendent and surreal, Lynch has produced a singular body of work. Few things surprised me in this collaboratively written account. The Ups are here — his five year production of his first film, Eraserhead; the creation of Twin Peaks (three seasons). The Downs are here — making Dune and the negative critical reaction to Fire Walk With Me. Through it all the brilliant artist meditates, smokes and keeps creating some of the best contemporary examinations of the human condition we are likely to witness in our lifetime.

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