The portions available to read for free include the introduction in full, a large portion of the first chapter titled “Fear,” portions of chapters two and three titled “Family” and “Foundation” respectively and a page of the sixth chapter, titled “Echoes and Voices.”
The introduction, called “Overture” in the book, takes place at a 2004 concert set in London’s Royal Festival Hall where Wilson played the once-lost Beach Boys album SMiLE for the first time. He recalls his fear before going onstage and how nervous he had been to premiere the complicated, orchestral songs that he convinced himself would have disappointed the much simpler sensibilities of musicians like Chuck Berry and Phil Spector. “Overture” ends as the show is about to begin and Wilson is told that many of his friends like Roger Daltrey and George Martin were in the audience waiting for him.
In “Fear,” Wilson goes through his daily routine, which includes an affinity for the shows Eyewitness News and Wheel of Fortune. He also details how his wife Melinda Ledbetter is attuned to his shifting moods and continues to offer him comfort when he struggles with the voices he hears in his head that threaten to kill him. A nostalgic glimpse at the cover of the album Sunflower prompts him to reflect on his youth, noting how in-shape he was, though “maybe not happy.”