22
May
19

“It was as if Boeing built one plane and, without doing a single flight test, told airline passengers, ‘Hop aboard.’” CBR11 Review 24.

UnknownThe following paragraphs are my attempt at Melrose Place fan fiction in order to demonstrate my feelings right now upon finishing this book.

Imagine it’s a Monday night in the late 1990s and you’re sitting on your couch watching TV, when Melrose Place comes on.

Would you think it was crazy if something like this happened:

Dr. Kimberly Shaw gets an idea to invent a medical device that could CHANGE THE WORLD. She tells everyone around her that her invention is one of the greatest things to EVER happen to humanity, and everyone believes her. She gets all of her colleagues at Wilshire General Hospital to agree with her and they tell everyone that Dr Kimberly Shaw is one of the greatest human beings of all time, that she will change medicine forever, and that all of humanity will be grateful that she ever existed.

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Dr. Shaw is clever, so she surrounds herself with some tough people who do her dirty work for her. Dr. Michael Mancini is no stranger to bending the rules, and he does whatever he can for his girlfriend/boss and her new invention. No, he hasn’t actually seen the invention work, but he doesn’t care. Money is rolling in and he loves the power that Kimberly has given him.

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And Dr. Peter Burns, the chief of staff, loves the attention that the hospital is getting for whatever Kimberly has invented. He isn’t completely clear on how it will benefit the hospital or health care in general, but he wants to see Wilshire General finally get the respect that it deserves. He’s willing to look the other way now and then if it turns out that Dr. Shaw hasn’t been completely straight with him about her invention and what it actually does. Its all about the image and the publicity.

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Kimberly goes and hires Amanda Woodward from D&D Advertising to make sure that the world knows how important all of this is and how great she is. Amanda quickly sees that Dr Shaw is not the most honest person she’s ever met. But Amanda is no stranger to underhanded business tactics, and has a field day with her new client and her loose ethical standards. Things are so underhanded, one of Amanda’s co-workers even commits suicide. Whatever.

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And then, along comes do-gooder Matt Fielding. He knows that Kimberly isn’t telling the whole truth about what she has discovered and that all of this publicity will ultimately harm the hospital. He’s worried about the safety and health of the patients and he’s worried about the jobs of all of the good people working there. All of the points he raises are valid. So Dr. Burns fires him.

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And then, one day, you realize that everything you thought you understood was happening was a lie. THIS IS WHAT WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING:

Yeah, this is how I feel about Elizabeth Holmes, Sunny Balwani, Tyler Schultz, and Theranos.

For me, the “wig” scene was when John Fuisz testified that he would “fuck with Elizabeth Holmes until she dies” and I realized that these words were not even close to being some of the craziest in this true story.

What I realized is that while the HBO show Silicon Valley might be a comedy, a lot of it is based on truth, and that’s scary. And Elizabeth Holmes, with her fake voice and black turtlenecks, is the personification of what makes the power and money in Silicon Valley so frightening.

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Bottom line: If you haven’t read it, you should. I’m not a non-fiction person, but I devoured this. Its the craziest book I’ve read this year.

 

 

 

 

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21
May
19

Being brave isn’t the same as being okay. CBR 11 Review 23.

UnknownI hadn’t heard of Queenie, until I read vel veeter’s recent review, and made an immediate mental note to check it out. I’m glad I did.

From Amazon:

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.

The story starts out with the reader learning that Queenie is “taking a break” from her boyfriend, Tom, and really struggling with it. She and Tom were supposed to be together forever, weren’t they? The book jumps back and forth to show flashes of things that happened in the past, and the reader can easily and clearly see, that no, she and Tom were not meant to be together forever. But Queenie doesn’t see what we see. Queenie wants a quick fix to her situation – she wants someone to take care of her, someone to love her, someone to rely on. She has a fractured relationship with her mother, which have led to serious trust issues for Queenie and she was pretty much looking to Tom to fill all of the relationship holes in her life.

Queenie may not have a great love life right now (seriously, she does some awful things with some TERRIBLE men), but she does have a terrific group of friends and extended family trying to support her.  She has a fun chat group (THE CORGIS) that includes her best friend from work, her best friend from middle school, and best friend from college, and they band together to try and get Queenie to see how wonderful she is, and to get past some major tragedies from her past that are clearly affecting her current actions. Her relationship issues create problems in every aspect of her life. Soon she finds herself without anywhere to live, without a job, and without a clear picture of what her future is going to look like. Queenie tries to fix everything. She gets an apartment and tries living on her own (for the first time ever). She tries online dating (to pass the time until Tom realizes he wants her to come back). She offers up ideas to the magazine for stories about #METOO and Black Lives Matter, but her ideas aren’t fully formed and aren’t exactly welcomed by the stodgy (aka white) editorial board. (Actually, I was furious when Queenie suggested a story about important black women in the #metoo movement but was told instead to do a presentation about the best black dresses worn to events by women in the #metoo movement. COME ON, BUZZFEED-ESQUE WEBSITE.)

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT

This book has been compared a lot to Bridget Jones’ Diary, and I get that. Single woman looking for love in and figuring out her career in London with great friends and lots of humor helping her on her way.

But Bridget Jones never has a nervous breakdown. Even in the bizarre third book, after Mark dies and Bridget struggles, she doesn’t have a full-on breakdown.

Queenie does. And I don’t think I’ve ever read such a powerful and real description of one before and it is emotionally draining at times. Sometimes Queenie would do something and I’d be about to tell her NO because I knew the world of hurt it was going to bring for her. And she knew, too, but couldn’t stop herself from thinking that she deserved to feel that way. Queenie’s family doesn’t believe in therapy, so for Queenie to take the step to actually call for help was huge, and gave me great relief.

I appreciated that going to therapy didn’t magically cure Queenie, that it was a long process that she got through by taking baby steps, and sometimes steps backwards. She faces her demons (her mother, Cassandra, TERRIBLE TWEED GLASSES) and shows real growth while she figures out who she is and what she wants. And we root for Queenie at every turn. We want her to be ok, even if we HATED some of the things that she did and the reasons that she did them.

Bottom line: Queenie is funny and sad, lighthearted and tragic. I wanted to hug Queenie (but not touch her hair) and let her know that she was going to be ok — but Queenie didn’t need my hug, she was strong enough without it. And she is going to be ok.

 

 

09
May
19

“Whoever said running in the morning gives you energy never had a day job that involves customer service.” CBR11 Review 22.

Unknown-2You was a bizarre reading experience for me.

I had heard of the show on Netflix, and was sort of aware that it was based on a book. I think I knew that it was about a sociopathic stalker, but honestly, didn’t care to know any more than that. I didn’t think it was for me.

And then.

Well, I have this friend. She’s extraordinarily talented and has been getting some amazing jobs as a director recently. She’s been doing episodes of Queen Sugar, The Red Line, Station 19, How to Get Away with Murder, For the People, and the new LeBron James show on HBO. And then I heard she was also doing episodes of You season 2. Because she is amazing and unbelievably talented (SERIOUSLY, HAVE YOU SEEN QUEEN SUGAR? SO. GOOD. There is no show on TV that is more beautifully filmed.) and I want to support her in any way that I can, I decided to read You so I could get a feel for it before her episodes came out.

And, well, then I saw that Santino Fontana, aka, the first and best and only Greg Serrano, narrated the book on Audible, and downloading it seemed like a no-brainer. (I told my friend that Fontana was the narrator, which she didn’t know. Her response “WHAT? BEST GREG? HELL YEAH.”)

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Yikes.

You is unlike any other book I’ve ever come across. Sometimes so uncomfortable that I had to shut it off for a few minutes, and sometimes laugh out loud hilarious, but always horrific and upsetting, You is the story of Joe Goldberg and his unhealthy obsession with Guinevere Beck, a young woman who appears in Joe’s bookstore one day. From the very beginning, we know something isn’t right with Joe, and as the story goes on, we realize just how absolutely wrong things are.

But, the thing is, Joe isn’t the only horrible person in this story. EVERYONE is awful. Beck is a terrible person. Her friends – particularly Benjy and Peach – are the worst. Dr Nicky is a really irresponsibly selfish doctor and an awful person. And Mr. Mooney, Joe’s “supportive” mentor should be behind bars.

We get small glimpses into Joe’s past: abandoned by his mother, ignored by his father, abused by his father-figure. Joe cannot handle rejection and refuses to accept it by any means necessary. He looks back on the time that Mr. Mooney locked him in a cage in the basement of the bookstore fondly, thinking that Mr. Mooney did it out of love, trying to make a man out of him. CLEARLY something isn’t right.

But on the surface, Joe seems perfect. Handsome and charming, well-read and funny. He may not have an Ivy League education, but he’s as smart and eloquent as anyone around him. He’s a doting boyfriend who loves to listen and always knows just what to say. It certainly helps that he’s stolen Beck’s phone and reads all of her emails and texts, so he knows exactly what sort of response she’s looking for even before she says anything.

The book reminds me a lot of American Psycho. Shockingly appalling actions from an unapologetically deranged narrator mixed in with bizarre pop culture commentary, but this time its told in the second person. Which, to be frank, annoyed the crap out of me. But as much as this story upset me and horrified me, at times I couldn’t stop listening. And that is all thanks to Santino Fontana.

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I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks. Some are good stories that are made better simply because of their narrator. And conversely, some are great stories but the narrator simply isn’t up to the task, and brings the story down. In this case, Santino “BEST GREG” Fontana delivers the single greatest narration I have ever heard. He makes Joe charismatic and funny and scary and disgusting. And he even made me pity Joe sometimes EVEN THOUGH JOE HAD LITERALLY MURDERED PEOPLE FOR MAKING HIM ANGRY. I cannot praise Best Greg’s performance here highly enough. He is intoxicating. My only complaint: Joe Goldberg does not have the opportunity to sing at any point. If you hire Santino Fontana, you get him to sing, dammit.

Bottom line: I don’t know if I liked this book or not. Joe is a living nightmare, and everyone around him is human garbage. But, Caroline Kepnes is witty and smart, and Santino Fontana is a god among narrators. I just downloaded book two (that I guess season 2 is based on?) and look forward – in an uneasy and upset way – to listening to more of Joe’s adventures, this time in Los Angeles, where I’m sure he’ll find some horrible people to spend time with.

 

 

 

09
May
19

This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper. CBR11 Review 21.

UnknownThis was an interesting story that I appreciated far more than I enjoyed.

Candace Chen is a 20-something in middle-management at a Manhattan publishing company, in the specialty Bible division. She is good at her job, but she doesn’t really like much about it. It’s a job, it pays the bills. But she has no passion for it. But Candace, like many of her generation, doesn’t really know what it is that she actually does have passion for. She used to like photography, and had a blog for a while, but she doesn’t think she was all that good at it, and quickly lets her blog fade away. That’s much easier than trying. She has a boyfriend, but doesn’t seem all that passionate about him. She has many acquaintances but not really any friends, and she doesn’t seem to mind. She’s just drifting through her 20s.

And then, Shen Fever hits.

Starting in China, the fever is caused by something-something-spores. And once you get it, there is no cure. The fever causes you to repeat comforting, yet mundane and repetitive, actions over and over and over, until your malnourished body just stops working. This is more or less a zombie story, but the zombies don’t want to eat your brains. They want to do everyday tasks. Some fold laundry. Some set and clear the table. Some try on dresses. And some drive cabs aimlessly around Manhattan.

The story flips back and forth, telling us about Candace’s life up until the fever, and then during the aftermath. Candace moved to Utah from rural China when she was six (her parents moved over two years earlier, creating a divide between her and her mother that they could never close), went to college, moved to New York, and never really did anything at all.

And yet. These scenes describing Candace’s life were amazing. I always wanted to know more about her life “before”. Why did she always wear her mother’s old dresses? Did she even love Jonathan at all? What did she love? I have no idea. I found Candace absolutely frustrating but 100% real.

When the fever hits, Candace keeps going to work every day, even when the subways and busses stop service. Because really, what else is she going to do? She keeps dressing up, and making the trip from Brooklyn to Mid-Town, day after day, seeing fewer and fewer people as time goes on. Finally, she just moves in to the office, using her boss’ coveted chaise sofa as the focal point of her new home. She goes back to taking pictures, letting the rest of the dwindling world see what’s happening to New York (it seems that the fever hasn’t spread to some colder climates like Iceland and Scandanavia).

I was less interested in the dystopian side of the story. Fever hits, population dwindles, survivors find each other. But quietly. There’s no Randall Flagg here, forcing people to choose good versus evil. But there are choices for Candace to make, whether or not to stay with a group that is together by happenstance – not by choice – or to go on her own and try to survive alone, like she had been doing even when she was surrounded by people back in New York.

Of course, Candace also has a secret, one that makes her questioning every move she makes in this new world. But not really questioning enough to do something. I’ll admit, I was totally wrong about what Candace’s secret might be at first (SPOILER: I was convinced that Candace already had the fever from one of her trips to China for work, and her regular, daily ennui was no different than the victims of the fever. Oh well.), and (MORE SPOILERS) I’m glad that we didn’t really get any closure about what might happen to Candace and Luna in the future, somewhere in Chicago.

The story was filled with lovely details, like her mother’s obsession with Clinique skin care even in the last stages of her Alzheimer’s, and ugly realities, like the daily actions of Bob’s crew of survivors who think they are doing what they have to do to survive.

My main quibble with this book is that it is being touted as a satirical black comedy. Sure, some parts were satire, but nothing here made me laugh or really even smile. Even the most ridiculous situations were still a little bit more sad than amusing, at least to me.

02
May
19

“I am not good. Nor am I evil. I am no hero. Nor am I villain. I am AIDAN.” CBR11 Review 18-20.

UnknownI feel like I’ve been reading these books forever and that’s not necessarily a criticism. These are books are seriously big, and I definitely got invested in the story and the main characters (I quickly learned not to get too attached to anyone who wasn’t a beautiful teenager or a creepy computer). But my god, these books are long.

The three books take place hundreds of years in the future (I think? There are many references to our life on earth: religion, history, poetry, etc. No specifics on what happened to life on earth, but not really necessary), and start off with a huge and evil corporation bombing (really, obliterating) an entire mining planet that had been doing some illegal mining on the side. This nasty company – BeiTech — didn’t care if there were innocents living on that planet, just bomb, destroy, erase the evidence. Bomb the mines, the schools, the daycares, the hospitals. Pretend it never existed and make sure nobody is left to tell their story.

 

But the plan doesn’t quite work out that way. Refugees from Kerenza make their way onto rescue ships and escape ships, heading for a waystation where they can jump into hyperspace (or…something?). Families and friends are separated, but at least they are safe. For now.

The first book of the trilogy, Illuminae, lays out the background for the reader. How the attack happened, and the mayhem that ensued. How the survivors were split up and ended up on different rescue ships, all hurtling toward Hypatia Jump Station while being chased by BeiTech fighters who only want to destroy each and every witness to their horrific crimes. The second book, Gemina, takes place more or less at the same time as Illuminae, but on Hypatia Station. BeiTech has invaded and brutally executed the leader of Hypatia, taking the rest of the population hostage while they attempt to take over the jump station so that they can control who goes through. The third book, Obsidio, mostly takes place back on Kerenza, told from the point of view of the survivors left behind, and their fight to survive.

Here’s what I loved about this trilogy: these books are unlike anything I’ve seen before. They are pieced together as “The Illuminae Files,” presented as case files to use as evidence against BeiTech in a trial. They include video and audio transcripts, online chats, emails, journal entries, maps, drawings, and handwritten notes. Sometimes the text is easy to read, and sometimes it is presented artistically, sweeping across pages, creating subliminal images. And all cursing is redacted, so there are tons of huge black marks on every page. BECAUSE TEENAGERS LIKE TO SWEAR.

One of the main characters across all three books is the artificial intelligence AIDAN. AIDAN claims that every action he takes is for the survival of the crew, but it turns out that he only has “eyes” for our main character, Kerenza refugee and all-time great computer hacker/programmer, Kady Grant. AIDAN sacrifices the lives of thousands (including Kady’s own mother) in order to let Kady survive and get to safety. It’s all very Hal 9000. As the story continues, AIDAN struggles with his lack of humanity and his “feelings” for Kady, and pretty much has a nervous breakdown, which is by far the most interesting plot of all of this.

These books are YA, so you won’t be surprised when I tell you that each book has a very attractive, very brave, super cool couple with amazing hair fighting for their lives and for the future of the Kerenza survivors. Yes, sure, they may only be 17 or 18 years old, but don’t underestimate this team when it comes to their tactical plans and their programming skills. They spend a lot of time crawling through air ducts like John McClane, and still look fabulous. And don’t forget that even if their lives are at stake, there will always be time for some kissing. They aren’t particularly interested in any of the adults who are in positions of authority, unless those leaders are willing to go along with plans concocted by this wily bunch. Really, their age and corresponding confidence level was the only thing that sort of bugged me about these books. Sure, I get that in desperate times, leaders may come from unexpected places. Of course. But these very very very special teens really were a bit much. The greatest programmer. The best fighter. The savviest. The cleverest. I totally get why there was an attempted mutiny in book three. If I was an officer on one of these surviving ships, I’d be pretty annoyed about this bunch of meddling kids, too.

And, SPOILER, BUT REALLY NOT IF YOU HAVE EVER READ A BOOK BEFORE…like on the most recent Game of Thrones episode, I found it absolutely unbelievable that all of our main characters INCLUDING THE GOLDFISH survive.

23
Apr
19

“When creative people do their best work, they’re hardly ever in charge, they’re just sort of rolling along with their eyes shut yelling wheee.” CBR11 Review 17.

Unknown-1I have had this beaten-up paperback copy of Everything’s Eventual in my backpack for at least a year, reading a few pages here, a short story there. I was enjoying it, but kept forgetting it was there, usually opting to listen to Audible or read on my kindle when I had some free time. And finally, I went for a walk at lunch today, found a cute table outside a sandwich shop, and sat down to finish it.

I’m pretty sure that this was only my second time through this specific collection of stories from Uncle Stevie. Kind of strange to have spent so little time with this book, seeing how many times I’ve read Skeleton Crew (seriously, I’ve read The Mist at least 10 times) and Just After Sunset. Some of these stories I’ve only read once before, but you know how it is as a Constant Reader… some of these – The Little Sisters of Eluria and The Death of Jack Hamilton – I’ve definitely read numerous times in various places (I can remember my dad sending me some of these that he cut out of his copy of The New Yorker, along with some of the cartoons that he thought would make me laugh and a few crossword puzzles).

What I love about King’s short stories (and the same mostly goes for Joe Hill’s short stories) is his ability to make the reader become invested in characters and situations in such a short period of time. Some are just a few pages. Some are really novellas. But they move quickly and pull you in immediately. Sometimes you want the story to move faster, maybe its scaring the crap out of you and you just need it to be over (The Road Virus Heads North), and sometimes you wish there was a little bit more (seriously, how did Dinky make his final journey over to Algul Siento?).

My favorite thing about this book is how King provides either a little blurb at the beginning or the end, explaining why he wrote it, what inspired him, how it came about. I’m fascinated by the way that he can turn a very simple idea into a fully-fleshed out story, almost immediately. For one of the stories (Luckey Quarter), he said that he had an idea in a hotel room, sat down, and wrote the whole thing out on the hotel stationary in pencil. I can’t possibly imagine ever being that inspired creatively, and it is truly amazing. I can barely write out a list of things I need at Trader Joe’s this week.

For my money, the scariest stories are The Man in the Black Suit (old time HORROR) and The Road Virus Heads North. Did you ever see that bizarre miniseries that TNT made about 15 years ago, taking some of King’s short stories and attempting (mostly unsuccessfully) to translate them into one-hour blocks of tv? I remember watching all of them and thinking some were great (The End of the Whole Mess with Ron Livingston and Henry Thomas), some were crap (Hi, Steven Weber, I’m talking to you and the bizarre You Know They Got a Hell of a Band episode), and some were riveting simply because the actor involved really got what King was saying. Tom Berenger played horror writer Richard Kinnell in that episode, and I remember the terror on his face when he realized just what was going on with the creepy-ass painting in the trunk of his car. Re-reading the story, I pictured Tom Berenger, and even though I knew what was going to happen, I still tore through the story breathlessly.

Everything’s Eventual has something for everyone. Dark Tower stories. An award-winning homage to Nathanial Hawthorne. Historical fiction. Inspiration for a lackluster John Cusack movie. A few are genuinely frightening (The Man in the Black Suit, Autopsy Room Four, The Road Virus Heads North). A few are unsettling (Lunch at the Gotham Café and That Feeling, You Can Only Say What it is in French). And two are must-reads for fans of Roland and his ka-tet (The Little Sisters of Eluria and Everything’s Eventual).

Flipping through a list of my previous King reviews, it looks like I’ve rediscovered old favorites like Night Shift and Skeleton Crew. I’ve been underwhelmed by bulk of the stories presented in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and content with the collection in Just After Sunset. I think its time for me to dig up an old copy of Nightmares & Dreamscapes or pull out the most dog-earred book I own – my original copy of The Bachman Books…watch this space.

13
Apr
19

“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse. I am not a muse. I am the somebody. End of fucking story.”CBR11 Review 16.

UnknownDaisy Jones and the Six is another recent Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, and so far, my track record has been pretty decent with Reese’s picks.

Imagine if all of the members of Fleetwood Mac – as well as their producers, spouses, accountants, and friends — sat down and talked to a journalist, providing an oral history of everything that had ever happened to them. Imagine the amount of drugs and sex and backstabbing and inter-band politics that would be mixed in with brilliant songwriting and raw talent and love and hatred and jealousy. That’s what we have with Daisy Jones and The Six. According to Wikipedia, the time between the records Fleetwood Mac and Tusk were very similar to the fictional time that this book covers:

“In 1976 the band was suffering from severe stress. With success came the end of John and Christine McVie’s marriage, as well as Buckingham and Nicks’ long-term romantic relationship. Fleetwood, meanwhile, was in the midst of divorce proceedings from his wife, Jenny. The pressure on Fleetwood Mac to release a successful follow-up album, combined with their new-found wealth, led to creative and personal tensions which were allegedly fuelled by high consumption of drugs and alcohol.[39]

The band’s eleventh studio album, Rumours (the band’s first release on the main Warner label after Reprise was retired and all of its acts were reassigned to the parent label), was released in the spring of 1977. In this album, the band members laid bare the emotional turmoil they were experiencing at the time. Rumours was critically acclaimed and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1977.”

We follow The Six from their days as a wedding band, to their climb to fame adding ingénue Daisy Jones as a co-lead singer, up until their shocking breakup when they were the most popular band in the world.

And here’s the deal. While I found the story itself quite interesting and entertaining, I really disliked almost every single character**. But hey, I guess that’s just Rock and Roll.

**I kind of liked Eddie and Pete the best. Eddie complained constantly, but his complaints were almost always valid. He seemed like he was the only guy in the band who stayed true to himself. And his brother, Pete? He only had one line of dialogue in the entire story. He’s happy with his life now and content to let the past stay behind him.

Billy Dunne and Daisy Jones were so selfish and hung up on themselves, I didn’t really care what happened between them. Their lack of awareness and their annoyance with the rest of the band attempting to contribute to the artistic process was so grating. Billy loves Camilla but also loves Daisy. Billy also loves drugs and sex and tequila. Camilla trusts Billy, because she’s a manic pixie dream wife. And Daisy hates everyone – including Billy – but she loves Billy so much she can’t stay off drugs and DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND HOW ALONE SHE IS?

At least Daisy had Simone. Everyone should have a friend like Simone. Someone who will fly around the world to make sure you are ok if you don’t sound right on the phone. Someone who will make you know that she is always thinking of you, even if you aren’t thinking about her. Someone that will pack your suitcase and physically remove you from a toxic situation. That’s a great friend. And I never quite got what Daisy did to deserve that sort of devotion from Simone, but the author told us that she did, so she did. By the way, as a disco queen, in my mind, Simone totally looked like this, but a brunette:

I was way more interested in the background members of the band than in the two leads. Billy’s brother, Graham, and the keyboardist Karen had a secret affair that lasted for years, and only ended after they realized they didn’t both want the same things for their futures. As mentioned above, Pete and Eddie were interesting brothers – one who complained about everything and one who didn’t see the point in complaining about anything. Warren the drummer seemed sensible as well. He knew fame was fleeting, and tried to have as much fun as possible while he could. He even married a movie star, and stayed married to her, which says a lot about his character. Warren talked a lot about his mustache.

But even though I didn’t like Billy or Daisy, I still enjoyed reading (or, in this case, listening to) their story, their ups and downs, and mostly about the world of rock and roll in the 1970s.

I listened to the audiobook for this, and it was presented with a full cast of voice actors. Benjamin Bratt and Judy Greer were terrific as Graham and Karen, and made them so relatable and real. Pablo “Pornstache” Schriber was pretty good as Billy, and Jennifer Beals brought a rough edge to Daisy. At times while listening I found myself reaching for my Spotify account, ready to look up some of the songs they talk about in the book. The narrators were so convincing I had forgotten that this was fiction. So instead, I listened to some old Fleetwood Mac, the records that I knew were simmering with lust and hatred and love and anger for Stevie and Lyndsey.

 

 




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