Monday, July 9, 2012
I Am (Not) the Walrus
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book caught my eye with its Beatles-inspired title; at least I assumed it was inspired by the Beatles given the presence of guitars on the cover. I didn't really know what the story was about, which left me with plenty of room to be surprised.
The story was difficult to get in to, for me, because it opens during a rugby game or practice. I was only able to figure this out with much difficulty as I am not very familiar with the sport; I imagine others will be similarly thrown. But I quickly got a handle on the setting in England focusing on two boys in a band, one Zach and the other is our narrator Toby.
Zach plays guitar and Toby does bass and vocals in their Beatles cover band. But one day Toby opens up his bass to discover a mysterious note that sets off a chain of events. This note leads to some very scary encounters with a man who is determined to possess the bass, for what reason Toby knows not. There are also several other subplots in this book. One is Toby's family's poverty as his mother struggles to find a job while his brother's military service is in jeopardy after he is caught stealing. Then there is Toby's mishaps with the ladies. Smooth, he is not but there are many funny scenes around that.
For the most part, I thought the family subplots didn't get enough time (this is a pretty short book after all) and I found the ending very abrupt in that regard. But the bass mystery and the girl plots had adequate resolution. I got to learn a bit about guitar history, which is something I knew nothing about.
The real standout though is the humor and Toby's general awkwardness. He does not have game and there are many funny parts throughout relating to that. I also liked that there was some growth for Toby and I really loved all of the musical parts as a fellow musician.
Overall: A humorous novel with some scary moments-I cannot emphasize that enough.
Cover: I like the pinkish cover but due to the color's association with femininity, it was surprising to read a book focusing on the male perspective. I would have guessed something to do with a rocker-chick, based solely on the cover.