The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book. I expect it to be my favourite book of 2013.
Jonny has it all, the looks, the voice, the clothes, and a self-named haircut, but what does having at all really mean? What are the costs?
The book starts out with Jonny at 11 acting older than his age, thinking older than his age, spitting out lines from his mother/manager and PR people and record producers by rote, hiding the person behind the image.
There's some great lines in this book, occasionally I'd read a paragraph or a page and re-read it, and re-read it again later to friends or anyone who would listen.
"Whenever Jane's studying the career longevity of pop stars, she's like, Thank God you're not black."
Jonny is real, he talks about getting boners, he plays Zenon, he worries about child predators. The insight into branding strategy translated through the mind of an eleven year old boy blew my mind at the author's brilliance.
The reason though this book gets five stars, the reason it's the best of the year, is for what I wasn't expecting. I'm on this roller coaster ride of fun and inventive writing, and then Jonny meets his back up band, and then he gets an email from his father, and somewhere along the way, at some point when I wasn't looking, the emotion came in. I cried at the end, and I wasn't expecting that from a parody of the perils of fame.
I guess that's what a good writer does, hooks you, then reels in the line without you realizing it, all the way drawing you closer and closer to his net.
The author takes a book about Justin Bieber and turns it into an essay on what makes us whole, how we get through, and how we move on. Loved it.
RSVP (to my heart)
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