Emily Black did nothate Louisa, her mother, for leaving her as a baby. She wasn't affected when Louisa left to 'follow the music.' She doesn't act the way she does in hopes her mother will come back one day. She doesn't start a band of her own to bring Louisa back with music.
At least, that's what she tells everyone--even herself. That's what she tells her father. That's what she tells Regan, her best friend, and Regan's mother Molly--who also happens to have been Louisa's best friend, still is. She hides behind it all--the punk music, the drinking, the drugs, the sex.
Emily grew up around music. Her first steps were taken to the Beatles. Her mom and dad met while he was playing onstage. Her favorite thing to do after dinner is go down to the musty basement, pick out one of her father's records, and listen to it, eyes closed, head nodding. Music touches something in Emily. To her, there's no feeling in the world like being on stage, fingers strumming out and extraordinary riff, voice belting to the back wall. The adrenaline sucks her in, leaving nothing but hope, elation, fast pumping blood.
But there are things that can stand in her way. Mostly people--some 'rock gods.' At a young age, Emily becomes obsessed with scoring a rock god. Each one, though, turns out worse than she imagined. Through all these obstacles, Emily and Regan form their band and follow the scene.
Stephanie Kuehnert portrays this story magnificently well with perfect descriptions of the surroundings. Each new character she introduces, either it be from Louisa's point of view or Emily's, fits spectacularly into the story. She also writes truthfully of what Emily's life is like, including the aforementioned drugs, sex, and drinking.
I'm usually not fond of books with a small amount of dialogue, but I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is a huge exception, because all the words that are used instead are picked and manipulated in wonderful ways.
I--I'm nearly at a loss for words trying to express how much I enjoyed this book. None of what I've said so far has conveyed the message. At times, it could be heartbreaking, hilarious, touching, exciting, upsetting, elating and exhilarating. I loved this book 15 pages in and that feeling continued to grow the more I read, the closer I got to the end. In fact, the end was one of the best endings I've read in a very long time. It was a perfect close.
I don't think there could be any ill-words said about IWBYJR. I didn't have any complaints or disagreements with a thing (and that I can tell you, is very odd when I read a novel--very, very odd).
I guess, to sum it all up, I'm going to try to do it in one blurb. That blurb would say: "A miraculously well-written tale of a girl, her family, and the music that connects them. Flashback-filled. Astounding."
I know, good for a first try, right? Right? I hope so; I'm practicing for the blurbing book club.
I give it the full 5 cups, one each for the writing, plot, amazing heroine, incorporation of music, and the last for blowing me away with the 100% unique characters that I thoroughly enjoyed and will remember always.
(I'm working on finding a picture of five cups of coffee all in the same picture, but I'm not having very much luck. If any of you would like to take one, or find one for our benefit, please do and send it to ManiacMonkey47@aol.com. Thank you)
p.s. You can preorder I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert at Amazon, Books-a-Million, Barnes and Noble, or Borders, whichever is your preference.
(oh yeah, and like Caroline, I appreciate the comments =D)