I enjoyed parts of this book (more on that in a second), but OH MY G-D IT REALLY COULD HAVE USED A FUCKING COPYEDITOR!
Phoebe's first book about Freddie flowed pretty well, but this... This was all over the place, and spelling errors galore! I'm wondering if part of that was a sense of urgency? The Freddie Mercury box set had been recently released at that point, and maybe he wanted to give fans that extra bit of info on Freddie? I dunno.
I also feel like the first book had Phoebe and David Evans working really closely together, but What He Left Behind feels to me like they were both writing stuff and just mashed both projects together, hoping for the best. I think that's the most disappointing part for me.
However! I appreciated Phoebe's compassion for Mary after Freddie died, and his account of what went down at Garden Lodge is way more satisfying than Jim writing in Mercury And Me that she was just a heartless asshole with zero regard for anyone else. THAT SAID, Mary and Jim Beach definitely pulled some dick moves (some were "our hands are tied because legalities and red tape" and others were "yeah, I'm going to be an asshole"), but I don't think either of them set out to be dicks before Freddie's body had gone cold. I'm also trying to factor in how grief played a role, because while Mary made some decisions that are not to be given a free pass, it should be remembered that Freddie's death fucked her up, too. It's very possible that Phoebe could be being generous in trying to explain what Mary was going through, but it's just as possible that Jim's account is so negative because he and Mary probably didn't get along all that well (based on pictures where Freddie's with both Jim and Mary, I always get the impression that there was tension). This, of course, is all up in the air because none of us knows what really truly went down. Anyone can speculate anything at this point, so I think folks should keep that in mind whether they ship Jim or Mary, or even hate them both because you're convinced that the two people Freddie cared about most could only have been using and cashing in on him.
And can I just say? The reviews of What He Left Behind where people are complaining that Phoebe and David largely talk about their lives immediately post-Freddie, and how he continues to impact their lives? It's in the fucking title! So why don't you snag a copy of Phoebe's first book (it's really good!) and shut the hell up?
So there were some good parts to this book and some really good pictures, but the disorganized, unedited writing can be a bit of a turn-off. Still, my only real regret about it is that I don't have a physical copy.