Perfect Day – An Intimate Portrait of Life With Lou Reed by Bettye Kronstad, review: An admirable job in presenting Reed as a misunderstood genius.
Lou Reed and Bettye Kronstad met in the hallway of a New York hospital in 1968. She was an 18-year-old student at Columbia and he was frontman of The Velvet Underground. “Hey, you! Beautiful!” Kronstad recalls his catcall, before he slapped her on the bottom.
In the building, coincidentally, to visit the same mutual friend, Reed hotly pursued this “normal” – looking girl, and they became a couple for the next five years. They were even married briefly in 1973, before divorcing, reconciling, then finally parting ways for good later the same year.
By Kronstad’s own account they were a fairly mismatched pair from the start. She wasn’t involved in the music scene, not even as a groupie, and she didn’t really drink, let alone take drugs, before Reed came along. They fell in love though, that much is clear, and she does an admirable job in presenting Reed as a misunderstood genius. He wanted to be appreciated for his writing, but could only find success as a songwriter and performer. He left the Velvets, for example, to pursue a career as a poet, taking a job as a typist in his father’s company and moving back into the family home on Long Island in order to fund his dream: the “lost years” to Reed aficionados, but for Kronstad the best in their relationship.