The San Francisco Chronicle was wrong. This book was neither brilliant, nor compelling. Let me tell you why.
First off, it was poorly written. Really really poorly written. There was zero continuity and I often found myself rereading passages because I couldn't figure out what in the world the author was talking about.
The f-word was also used way too much for my liking. I understand using it when quoting people (such as Taraborrelli did in Sinatra: A Complete Life), but the author was swearing up a storm. The only purpose I can see behind it is that Tosches was trying to sound like Dean Martin. It just became annoying to me.
On the same note Tosches also spokes for Dean, as if he knew what Dean was thinking as various times in his life. Tosches also states that no one really ever knew Dean. I guess that loops me back to the fact that it was poorly written.
You may be asking yourself why I bothered to finish the book. I had two pretty good reasons. The first one being the I ordered the book through Interlibrary Loan. This means that BYU-Idaho sent out a request for the book to be sent to our library from another library so that I could check the book out. This costs money. It didn't feel right to have them order a book only for me to send it back the next day. The other reason is that I love Dean Martin and good biographies seem to be scarce. I really wanted to learn about him. I'm not sure how much truth I learned, but at least I now have a general idea of his life.
If anyone knows of a better or accurate Dean Martin biography don't keep it to yourself!