Friday, October 28, 2011

B-Sides and Broken Hearts / Caryn Rose

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Literary Fiction

Approximate word count: 100-105,000 words

Kindle US:
YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
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A writer and photographer, Caryn Rose writes about baseball and music. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her boyfriend and Jackie Wilson, her cat. For more, visit her website.


The email said, “Joey Ramone is dead.”

At thirty-seven, Lisa Simon is still passionate about music. When one of her teenage heroes dies, she re-evaluates the direction her life is headed.


B-Sides and Broken Hearts should have universal appeal for its main story line, with the protagonist, Lisa, faced with a major life decision, and forced to decide what is important to her. While the specifics may be different, the struggle is one most of us have faced.

However, for me, the most significant message is the power of music. If you’re like me, there are songs that can lift you up and those that will put you into a funk, while others take you back to a specific time, place, or person. An idea epitomized midway through the book by this paragraph.

How can this happen? How can a song that meant so much to me when I first heard it at fourteen, a song about dreams and hope, suddenly mean just as much right now, suddenly the words apply exactly to my life twenty-two years later? And how can it affect me in the same way, how can it lift me up, transport me, elevate me, inspire me, give me meaning and, well, hope?

On her website Rose says her goal was to “write the woman’s version of High Fidelity.” (A book by Nick Hornby, later made into a movie starring John Cusack.) Rose said she, “wanted to read a book where a woman could like music as much as a guy and not be called a groupie or be told that she sure knew a lot about music for a girl.” I think she did it. Rose knows a lot about music for anyone, regardless of gender, and this knowledge permeates the pages of B-Sides and Broken Hearts. The music geek will love this book for that reason as it smoothly integrates mentions of songs and bands from big (The Rolling Stones) to relatively obscure (I’ve heard of Eddie Spaghetti and his band, The Supersuckers, have you?) If you’re not a music fan, B-Sides and Broken Hearts is still a good story, but if you are, it is a can’t miss.


Some adult language. Limited and mild sexual situations.

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of typos and other proofreading issues.

Rating: ***** Five stars

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