Feb 24, 2011

Review | How to Kill a Rockstar by Tiffanie DeBartolo

Title: How to Kill a Rockstar
Author: Tiffanie DeBartolo
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publication: 09.05.2005 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Source: Finished copy from author for review

Summary: I'd known for a long time that love had a sound, but I wasn't sure it had a face and body, too. Especially one that would show itself to me for the first time on a subway platform, fidgeting nervously, with pale, luminescent eyes, dark, limp hair, and a cocky-bastard smile that could boil water.
But I knew. I could tell. And I would've done anything for him.

Written in her wonderfully honest, edgy, passionate and often hilarious voice, Tiffanie DeBartolo tells the story of Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist, and Paul Hudson, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band Bananafish. She moves to New York from her native Cleveland and finds herself sharing a tiny apartment with Paul, her brother’s disarmingly sexy best friend and bandmate. Eliza’s reverence for, and obsession with, rock is equaled only by Paul’s, and the two fall wildly in love. When Bananafish is signed by a big corporate label, and Paul is on his way to becoming a major rock star, Eliza’s fear of flying paralyzes her, and she refuses to join Paul on the opportunity-of-a-lifetime tour that the band has been offered. What follows is a heartbreaking period of misunderstanding, separation and despair until Paul's disappearance that concludes with an oh, wow, knock-your-socks-off ending.

Cover: I really dislike red, so I want to say that I don't like this cover, but I do. I think that the ticket stub is a nice idea that sort of fits with the book well enough.

Thoughts:A couple of years ago, I wandered into a thrift store and bought DeBartolo's first book, God-Shaped Hole, and absolutely loved it. When she contacted me to offer me a copy of How to Kill a Rockstar, I was thrilled, but I didn't actually read it until a year after I had received it. Now, I pretty much started this book at the beginning of the year and didn't finish it until last week.

Let me start off by saying: I loved it, it's definitely one of my favorites. I was expecting something great, and was not disappointed. DeBartolo has a way of capturing your attention with the first couple of lines and then you are pulled into a great story with amazing characters that you will love.

The book begins with Eliza Caelum who has decided to start a new life after her boyfriend of several years leaves her for a local Starbucks barista. Determined to change herself after meeting and interviewing her musical idol, she makes the effort to get aboard an airplane for the first time, which she is terrified of after her parents both died in a plane crash. She fails miserably and instead rides the bus to New York City for several days where her brother, sister-in-law and best friend, a new job as a music journalist, and a (hopefully) better future awaits. What Eliza didn't expect to encounter was Paul Hudson.

Paul Hudson is a (somewhat miserable) Gap associate who dreams of being a...well, not exactly a "rockstar". He wants to be recognized by his talent but doesn't exctly want to be just a "radio hit" kind of musician. Paul is also Eliza's new roomate and although at first they seem to have nothing in common, except for their love for music, they soon find themselves falling passionately in love and embarking on an advernture that will take their lives through very unexpected events.

The story is told in alternating voices of both characters and each one gives their own perspective on life, love, God, and rock n' roll. For about half the book, I thought I had the story figured out but I suprised to find a huge twist that had me crying and confused for several chapters. Full of a mixture of happiness, comedy, heartbreak, anger, sadness, love, and above of all music, this book will keep you glued until the end.

Favorite quote: "For what it's worth, I think happiness is a fleeting condition, not a permanent goddamn state of mind. I've learned that if you chase after moments of bliss here and there, sometimes those moments sustain you through the shit. Personally, I don't like inherently happy people. I don't trust them. I think there's something seriously wrong with anyone who isn't a little let down by the world."