♥5 Swan-dive off the bridge stars!!♥
How do you exactly review a book that affected you in so many ways? A book that made you laugh and made you cry. A book made you dust off old records and listen to the old melodies but never forgotten melodies of the past. A book that made you want to pick up a guitar and play those songs that made your heart bled a little. How?
Contained in this book is a love story. But it's not just a love story between two people but a love story between man and his music. Safe to say, this book is an ode to rock n' roll. A frank and often brutally honest look at the music world. Both Eliza and Paul, and many of other characters, Loring, Doug and the Michaels, lived and breathed music. It was their passion. It was in their blood.
The power of music rests in its ability to reach inside and touch the places where the deepest cuts lie. Like a benevolent god, a good song will never let you down.
I don't want to fill my review with quotes although the book contained so many of them, it was hard for me to choose. But I will tell you that this book was just amazing. Well written, thoughtful, intelligent and brutally frank. Tiffanie DeBartlo will capture your heart, ensnare you minds and will make you ask questions about the things that you really want.
At the heart of this story is Paul Hudson, a talented music prodigy, who like other musicians before him struggled to make a career out of the thing he loved most, which is his music. Paul, as I said, was a musical genius. He writes this songs that grabs at you. But Paul is frustrated with the state of the music industry. He had talent but the industry is different now. Pop is the reigning queen and it's the music execs who decides whose talents live or die.
I loved how the book takes you on the ins and outs of the music industry. This book will make you question your taste in music, I assure you. I remembered reading the chapters about Paul explaining to Eliza who Mr. Winkle is and I was thinking, "Holy hell! I don't want my music tainted by Mr. Winkle! No way!" Mr. Winkle by the way is a representation of money hungry music execs whose main concern is the bottom line.
You will realize, as you read this book, at the unfairness of it all. How many talented musician do you think are out there that we'll never get to hear because some music exec didn't think they're good-looking enough to sell an album? Hundreds, if not thousands probably. I found myself nodding my head and agreeing with Paul, Doug, Eliza and the true believers that music, or should I say rock n' roll is dying and is in dire need of a savior.
“But sometimes talent isn’t worth shit. There are tons of talentless people out there making zillions of dollars. And unfortunately, an equal number of brilliant artists whose names and voices you’ll never hear.”
Paul Hudson was supposed to be that savior. With his talent and charisma, he seemed poise to to save American music from itself. The question is who will save Paul?
Enter Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist who matched Paul's passion for music. She moved in with Paul after snagging a job at a reputable music magazine. And when she and Paul met, they fell in love. Eliza was hesitant at first and Paul's reputation as man-whore didn't help his case. But against all odds, they fell in love.
As I mentioned before, this wasn't a gushy love story. It was very sweet but also melancholic and yet the interactions between Paul and Eliza pulls you in with them. They were open, honest and it was funny as hell especially Paul's journal recordings. Those where my favorite. Through his recordings, we learn about Paul's feelings for Eliza, his band, his music and his attitude towards success.
Remember this moment, my friend the tape recorder. Lying next to Eliza, I had the feeling I’d just found something I didn’t even know I’d lost.
But trying to describe how I felt watching her dance around and sing would be like trying to build a skyscraper with my bare hands. It made me want to marry her. Made me want to buy her a magic airplane and fly her away to a place where nothing bad could ever happen. Made me want to pour rubber cement all over my chest and then lay down on top of her so that we’d be stuck together, and so it would hurt like hell if we ever tried to tear ourselves apart.
They were happy but as Paul said, happiness is fleeting. Just when all stars have finally aligned; they signed with major music label, Eliza and Paul's relationship is solid and looking forward to the future, the shoe had to drop. I won't divulge anything because it would spoil the whole story. But you know the feeling you get during a roller coaster ride when you reached the highest point and suddenly the car, plunges down and you feel heart drop to the bottom of your stomach? Yup, that was how I felt while reading those chapters and it didn't let go until the about 90% of the book.
Aside from that, I seriously, seriously wanted to hurt Eliza and Paul, too. Stubborn shits. But just when you thought all hope is lost, John the Baptist stepped in. I'm not kidding. John the Baptist was in this book. I won't say anything anymore. You have to read the book yourself. But let's just say that the ending will make you happy. I don't know if it will be satisfying for everyone but personally, I was happy with the ending. I thought it was a fitting. It was rebellious, a sort of fuck you to the world who tried to let them down.
“Bottom line, Eliza— you’re my home and my family, and I don’t want to lose you. I could lose everything else, and as long as I still had you and a guitar I know I’d be all right. Do you get what I’m saying?”
I would be remiss in my review if I don't include some of my fave quotes. Don't worry though, I won't post anything too spoilery.
"Do you understand how big that is? That a silly little song can alter the course of a person’s destiny? My life would be remarkably different, remarkably less extraordinary, less everything, if it weren’t for the mystical force that a second ago you pitifully reduced to only rock ’n’ roll.”
This is what it means to be in the middle of love, I thought. Being in the middle of love is like being in the middle of a war zone.
What I love, what it’s about for me, and what it’s always been about, is the music. Everything else I can use to wipe my ass.
I’ve got my girl and my guitar, and for me that’s enough. The rest is yesterday’s news.
“And if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.”