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B-Sides and Broken Hearts [Paperback]

Caryn Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 16.28 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

June 1 2011
Lisa Simon, age 37, still loves loud punk rock and hates Dave Matthews with an all-consuming passion.  April 15, 2001 should have been just another Sunday night.  But a news headline landing in Lisa's email inbox changes everything:  "Joey Ramone is dead."   The death of one of her teenage heroes serves as an long-overdue wake-up call causing Lisa to examine her life and how she's lived it, from her youth as a poet on the streets of the East Village to 10 years later, all grown up with a career and a fiance.  Add to the mix Jake McDaniel, lead singer of million-selling, critically-regarded Seattle band Blue Electric, known better to Lisa as the starving renegades who lived next door to her when she first arrived in Seattle.  In the midst of an unexpectedly heated argument with the fiance over the historical relevance (or not) of the Ramones - which forces Lisa to face the truth about her relationship - Jake writes and invites Lisa to LA.  Throwing what seems like half her cd collection in the car, along with a wardrobe consisting of high heels, jeans and t-shirts, Lisa starts driving from Seattle to LA in the middle of the night, accompanied by music, memories, and the ghosts of the past. Arriving in LA, she finds refuge, but also collides with her past, present and future; decisions need to be made, and this time, Lisa stands her ground.

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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best I've read this year Oct. 11 2011
Format:Paperback
I really really enjoyed this book! The book begins in April 2001 with the news of the death of musician Joey Ramone. Lisa was a dedicated fan of the Ramones and they were one of the bands that provided the sound track to her life along with many others, though her all time favourite band is the Rolling Stones. She has a boyfriend but he doesn't get why she is heart broken that Joey has died and she jumps in her car and decides to drive from Seattle to L.A. to meet up with her best friends, members of a band, Blue Electric. She met the boys in the band before they were famous, as they were neighbours of hers. During the drive she thinks back to various things that happened to her in her life, both before and after she met the band members and her current boyfriend. Her first really important boyfriend died suddenly and it's clear she's never really got over him. Music has always been a major passion for Lisa and her stories and memories always revolved around it.

As the stories unfold during her long drive, we start to suspect that her best friend Jake, lead singer of Blue Electric, might mean more to her than she realizes but things aren't always as they seem. Once she reaches L. A. we get fewer memories and more of what's happening as she reaches a turning point in her life.

As i said, I really loved this book and the characters in it. Music might not be the center of my life like it is hers, but I still felt somehow that I could emphathise with Lisa and that's down to how well the author tells the story. You get a good sense of backstage life of how hard a band works to make it and how it affects them when they have. It does have a love story but it's mainly about the music and Lisa and her friends. This is one of the best books I've read this year.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for punk rock fans Oct. 26 2011
By Martin L. Davis II - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I would characterize B-Sides and Broken Hearts as primarily a niche novel. Appropriately titled, it weaves rock bands, albums and songs into a background and support network of the main protagonist, Lisa, who is a groupie and follower now entering middle-age. As a disclaimer, I spent my early adult years into jazz and classical, and many of the names, albums and tunes named in the book were unfamiliar to me. I suspect that familiarity would add another level of interest to readers from that background. The writing is well done, with liberal sprinklings of profanity that help convey the reality of the character interactions. There is not much of a storyline, but the reader is carried along by the fanatical enthusiasm of Lisa which makes the book hard to put down. While not great literature, this would be a must-read for anyone associated with or interested in, or just remembers the punk rock scene of the 1980's.

I received this as an eBook in exchange for an honest review.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Fun Read... July 30 2011
By Wanda Dejesus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading this book and felt a bit sad as it came to an end. The book is about Lisa, a 37 year-old music lover who experiences a series of changes sparked by the death of one of her favorite musicians, Joey Ramone. The book travels back in time to see what makes Lisa tick and we then get to see how she pulls herself out of the life she'd settled for. I loved the character of Lisa. She's the right balance of hard ass and good friend. Ms. Rose's description of her grief was very realistic and didn't feel maudlin or forced. I cared about Lisa and cared about wanted to see her be happy.

You can't talk about this book and not talk about the music. I was of course familiar with most of the bands named in the book. However, I'm not well-versed in rock and roll so I didn't feel the musical connection to the songs Lisa played. That didn't detract from the point that music can heal, can be our best friend, can make us feel things nothing else on earth can ever make us feel. I know what's it's like to feel that way to other types of music. There will always be songs that take us back to that moment when we fell in love with the music, with the singer, with the band. There will be music that we soundtrack our lives to; the only difference between me and Lisa is that her soundtrack is a hell of lot cooler than mine!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relaxed Fun Read April 15 2012
By Steven C. Toy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book! What will standout for any fan of great rock music is how often the author uses references to great songs to trigger emotions and memories for the reader, not just words. As a New Yorker the local references also triggered memories and feelings that seemed very in tune with the main character, Lisa. I imagine a similar experience would be felt by someone from Seattle. Having said that you need not be a New Yorker or a fan of Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones to enjoy every page of this book. If you are looking for a great relaxed story to enjoy "B-Sides and Broken Hearts" fits the bill.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect For Rock Addicts Feb. 7 2012
By BookAddict - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a quirky, fun, sometimes sad look at a woman whose life is helplessly interwoven with music. She feels the music in the core of her soul, relates her life to the lyrics she hears, and aches inside when a favorite musician dies. She spends her free time traveling to live shows and her best friends are musicians. I admit to having character-envy. I wanted to be Lisa, or at least be her best friend. I can absolutely relate to her intense love of music.

Lisa's story is told in a stream of musical references that might lessen the pleasure for readers who are less musically-addicted. If you know what it's like to be lifted to another place by the sounds you hear, this is the book for you.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantasy for music lovers Jan. 24 2012
By J. Newell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My Goodreads review:

I don't know where to begin in describing how much I loved this book.

If you know what it's like to love a band, to REALLY love a band, and be swept up in the religion of rock and roll, you will cherish "B-Sides and Broken Hearts." Caryn Rose's love letter to music is one of the most joyful, heartbreaking, and honest rock books I've read--she unabashedly wears her fangirl heart on her sleeve, and shows what it really means to love music, a time, a band, and how it changes and preserves people, helping them through the roughest points in their life, and accentuating the brightest spots.

No lying here, I wanted to live the life of Lisa, the protagonist. Her best friends are a bunch of guys who start a band in Seattle in the early 90s and go on to big things, and she describes in detail her experiences seeing The Who, the Rolling Stones, Sonic Youth, the Ramones, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden, among others. Seeing only a couple of the bands on her rock and roll resume would be enough to color the most diehard of rock fans green with envy--it's like a fantasy wishlist come true--and in this book, you get to feel like you were there and had your mind blow right alongside Lisa. In short, I felt like this was a book written for me, something straight out of my dreams.

If you know all the words to every song in your favorite band's catalog, have ever went on a quest to find a rare record or piece of rock 'n roll memorabilia, or have literally felt a jab of pain in your soul from being robbed the chance to see your favorite band live, this book is for you.

Some outsiders might consider our musical fandoms to be crazy, or pointless, but Caryn Rose shows us we are in very good company. Rock and roll is a family, and "B-Sides and Broken Hearts" feels like the story of an enthusiastic, understanding friend.
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