Saturday, November 8, 2014

{2014 TBR Pile Challenge Review} THE SONG IS YOU by Arthur Phillips

ISBN #: 978-1400066469
Page Count: 272
Copyright: April 7, 2009
Publisher: Random House; First Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Julian Donahue is in love with his iPod.

Each song that shuffles through “that greatest of all human inventions” triggers a memory. There are songs for the girls from when he was single; there’s the one for the day he met his wife-to-be, and another for the day his son was born. But when his family falls apart, even music loses its hold on him, and he has nothing.

Until one snowy night in Brooklyn, when his life’s soundtrack–and life itself–starts to play again. He stumbles into a bar and sees Cait O’Dwyer, a flame-haired Irish rock singer, performing with her band, and a strange and unlikely love affair is ignited.

Over the next few months, Julian and Cait’s passion for music and each other is played out, though they never meet. In cryptic emails, text messages, cell-phone videos, and lyrics posted on Cait’s website, they find something in their bizarre friendship that they cannot find anywhere else. Cait’s star is on the rise, and Julian gently guides her along her path to fame–but always from a distance–and she responds to the one voice who understands her, more than a fan but still less than a lover.

As their feelings grow more feverish, keeping a safe distance becomes impossible. What follows is a love story and a uniquely heartbreaking dark comedy about obsession and loss.

Kathy's Review:
(Reprinted with her permission from her personal blog, Grown Up Book Reports)

Another TBR Pile Challenge book. This one has been on my TBR pile since 2010, when it received literary acclaim. I had very high hopes for this one, as it centers around a music producer who falls for a girl in a band. I was hoping for some hip, Nick Hornby-like writing. I think what I got was if Nick Hornby and David Foster Wallace had a baby. And I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I am not a DFW fan.

I have a 50-page rule when it comes to books. I give it until page 50. If I’m not into it by then, I move on. I have too many other books waiting for their turn.

I struggled to get to page 50 with this one, I really did. I wanted to like it, and I just had a hard time with it. Part of it is the writing style. There was at least one word on each page that I had to look up. And I’m by no means a dummy when it comes to language! So this is not for the average reader.

And then, around page 45, I started to like it. I got used to the way Phillips writes, and I charged on. I kind of fell in and out of love with this book, and almost gave up on it several times. Finally, though, I persevered through the end of the book. My conclusions: I’m not sure whether I am to view Julian’s actions as creepy or romantic, although Cait seems to be ok with everything he does, even herself engaging in some creepy/stalkerish/romantic behavior back at him. I’m not sure how the death of Julian’s son several years ago is supposed to factor in, but it does, somehow. And I am hugely disappointed at the many twists of fate that keep Julian and Cait apart. I know that’s what makes the book work, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

All in all, I think this book is a little bit intellectually bogged down to be digestible by the mainstream reader. If you are into indie music and dig chicks in bands, maybe you want to give this one a try. But otherwise, I’m sorry to say, skip this one. This Song is Not For You.

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