I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
July 8, 2008
Stephanie Kuehnert's debut novel is another book (like Gamer Girl) that could be seen as something only enjoyable for a certain, select group of readers...but it absolutely is not.
So, yeah, I first paid any attention to this book (a good while before it came out) because of its title, but because of the I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend Ramones song, not the Sleater Kinney one the title actually comes from--I'm not that cool ;P
IWBYJR is the story of Emily Black (and later of her mother, Louisa, too). It's about growing up in a small town in Wisconsin that your mother (and father) ran away from where everyone knows your mother also then ran away from you. It's about girls (Emily and her best friend Regan) drinking too much, doing drugs, having sex. It's about the bands they spend their weekends listening to and their quest to figure out how music fits in their lives; it's about their band. It's about their relationships (with each other and with boys).
IWBYJR is a story of Emily figuring out who she is through the crazy ride of her life from her childhood in Carlisle listening to records with her father to her own bout of running away. Is she right: in the end, will the music really lead her home?
Okay, so I left a lot out of that but I'm not really sure where the line is for 'good summary' and 'spoilery-ness', sorry.
Now, I know I lived in a small town in the Midwest (okay, Illinois/almost Iowa) and I lived right by Chicago and I've been to the Belvidere Oasis, etc so there is a possibility that some of the book worked so well for me because I literally 'know' some of the situations/types of people/general it-ness that happened. I think that it's written well enough that you'll still get what their town was like even if you've never lived anywhere similar, though.
And I did like the mention/inclusion of actual places/things from the area instead of made up laces like some books have done (I really need to start remembering examples) but Q101, Fireside, St. Joseph's, etc for the real-ness.
The book covered a lot of years in several characters lives, but they all developed through that time period (it wasn't that Emily went through her stuff while Regan kind of grew up, each character actually changed as a result of their actions).
And I really can't write reviews of books I like but you really should read this book :)
Only negative bits: A few times some details confused me or didn't seem to add up/continue properly from previous parts of the story and that stopped me from being able to just read it. (And I'm sorry, I read this right before my puppy got sick so I can't tell you exactly what--it was nothing major, just enough that sometimes it detracted from my reading. So:
(this is being tagged adult and young adult because it's classified as both-depends on where you happen to find it.)
and I haven't read this book but I saw it at the bookstore and it does relate, so I thought I'd link it: Noise: Fiction Inspired by Sonic Youth
Happy Friday the 13th :D