Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rock Star’s Rainbow / Kevin Glavin

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Literary Fiction/Satire

Approximate word count: 145-150,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


“Kevin Glavin's ancestors hail from the Emerald Isle; his surname can be traced back to the Gaelic Gláimhin, meaning "satirist." When Kevin found out the nature of his origins, he decided to make his ancestors proud by taking up the family craft. But it was a dark and stormy road. After receiving his BA in English and MAT in English Education from the University of Iowa, he sashayed like his forefathers--westward. Kevin has taught for some thirteen years, mostly in Claremont, California. In 2008, Kevin got married; he and his beloved wife Brenda have settled just a little farther west--in Orange County--with their dog Ciao, a chow chow/ golden retriever mix adopted after a trip to Italy. In 2009, Kevin formed his own publishing company to learn the entire art of bringing a work to market, in print and digitally, and to maintain creative freedom. In late December of 2009, his celebrity satire, Rock Star's Rainbow, was finally published. Many other fun and exciting projects are currently in the works.”


“In August 2009, a renowned entertainment reporter was thrown out of a plane over Los Angeles. At the time of his unfortunate death, he was working on a manuscript detailing the strange personal life of one of the most secretive celebrities of our time––Rook. Luckily, this work-in-progress was rescued, although the details surrounding the case remain obscure. Now, assembled here, is that most sought after exposé of the infamous rock star, searching for his lost innocence. Come along and join the quixotic adventure, as it journeys from LA, to Amsterdam, to India, and back. Along the way, Rook struggles with celebrity excess, reignites with his old flame, gets mixed up with the mafia, and must rescue the daughter he never knew he had. From the heights of hedonism, to the depths of despair, this topical parody explores that beast called fame.”


Even with books I don’t like and think are poorly done, I’m usually able to understand or catch a glimmer of what the author was going for. Rock Star’s Rainbow was no exception. Its satire of fame and the excesses of the rock-star life is a story worth telling. However, the execution of the story fell well short, at least in the eyes of this reader.

The biggest issue was the decision to use an omniscient point of view. Although many teachers may try to dissuade their students from using this point of view, it is a legitimate choice used by some classics of literature. The advantage is that  the narrator knows and sees all, so he, she, or it can tell all, which means the reader should never miss anything important. The disadvantage is that readers like to fill in the gaps (which helps make a story more personal) and figuring things out is one of the joys of reading fiction.

However, my issues weren’t with the generic (although legitimate) complaints with using this point of view, but with the implementation of it in this specific book. My concerns were that the point of view was inconsistent, constantly hopping from head to head and to the observer on high, leaving the reader more disoriented than enlightened. One of the worst instances I saw of this was a case of jumping from the head of one character to another and then back, with the original character then knowing what the other character had been thinking. Even if the narrator, and by extension the reader, knows what everyone is thinking, the characters can’t.

Although my issue with point of view was a persistent and constant irritation, I had several other, more minor problems. One was the occasional continuity error;  in one sentence, the protagonist Rook was on his balcony and the next sentence leaning into the pool to retrieve a soggy cigarette butt, just thrown from the balcony, as if he was magically transported poolside. Or descriptions of the physically impossible (sucking an ice cube with a tongue). Not to mention the narrator who had to show off how great he was at being all knowing, by telling us things we didn’t need to know. An example is when Rook wondered what another character was “doing right this instant,” and then the narrator answered in a parenthetical for the reader, just in case we were wondering too, that “she was just waking up, drinking instant coffee, and thinking about Boudicca.” There were times it seemed like the author was using archaic, obscure or, what seemed like made-up words, not because they were better word choices, but what appeared to be a trying-too-hard attempt to be literary.

According to the description, this book is a “pastiche,” a work that imitates  another, in this instance several classics of literature including Don Quixote and Ulysses. For those who get the imitations (possibly that omniscient point of view was part of that), I’m sure they’re great. However, the story still has to work, or you’re left with nothing except literary masturbation, which is great for the author and voyeuristic literature buffs, but does nothing for the majority of the reading world.


Some adult situations.

Format/Typo Issues:

Extensive proofreading and copy editing issues.

Rating: * One star


Judi Moore said...

Interesting review - and a good, concise explanation of the good and bad things about omniscient PoV. My heart always sinks when I see a book is over 100K words in length. There needs to be a *really* good reason for that. Perhaps if you're telling two stories woven together there's a case for it, like Kate Mosse's Labyrinth etc. Although those tomes of Ms Mosse's aren't a bit over 100K - they're quite a lot over 350K, which is too much even for two-books-in-one IMO.

BooksAndPals said...

Thanks for the comment, Judi.

Walter Knight said...

Al, Al, Al. Literary masturbation? First you picked on Greek seamen, now Don Quixote and Ulysses (I sense another anti Greek thread). You big rodentious creature.

Humor can be a difficult thing. We all prove that from time to time. I am boycotting Als and Pals for a few days, on the weekend, to protest your treatment of of Kevin Glavin.

Kevin, we're with you bro! Keep writing.

BooksAndPals said...

You almost always get a laugh out of me, Walter.

Kevin Glavin said...

Hi Walter,

Thanks so much for your support, but please don't boycott this site. Places to seriously discuss books are becoming rare, so please continue to visit Big Al's forum. Thanks again.

Kevin Glavin said...

Hi Big Al,

Thanks for taking the time to read and review "Rock Star's Rainbow." Sorry you didn't like it. Just wanted to clarify that it was written in the tradition of the found manuscript, and most:) of the errors were intentional, as the premise goes that the book was unfinished--hastily handwritten by a tabloid reporter on legal pads before his untimely death. The "fragments" were pieced together by myself (the editor), as if collecting the blowing leaves of the Cumaean Sibyl's prophecies, while maintaining the reporter's voice. In addition to satirizing celebrity culture, part of the fun was in also parodying the use of the omniscient narrator (and the act of narration itself)--as how can any narration truly be omniscient, or even true? In the narrator's (Aitchkiss Killawathy's) first appearance (pages 41-42), he is mistaken as the voice of God; he then falls from the sky (or more precisely, the hedge of Rook's estate in Beverly Hills). This fall is meant to symbolize the break with traditional narration and the problems with all conveyance. Anyway, thank you for your honest critique. For those interested, I'll be posting a narrated Prezi of author's notes soon on Thanks.

BooksAndPals said...

Thanks for the comments, Kevin.

Also, go easy on Walter. He wasn't (very) serious.