This is written as a series of interviews revolving a fictitious musician breaking the scene in 1957 and giving us fantastic glimpses of his life until 2001, but apart from that, it s not just about the music It s about Art It s about Life And not to make too fine a point about it, it s about doing the best you can and doing the best you can with it It s about making mistakes, owning up to them, being honest, and being good The Fame is a side issue.
Here s the skinny I m kinda surprised how much this book hit me He kinda started out like an Elvis clone and the character didn t really appeal to me all that much, but the writing was clear and quick and I had no issues I then started getting the whole Forrest Gump vibe as history started happening and Scowl came alive Making stupid decisions that nevertheless didn t hurt him any, career wise.
By the time I was half way through the novel, I discovered something pretty cool The novel is optimistic.
Hopeful Courageous Decent Even wholesome Scowl did some really crappy things but this is, at its heart, a lot of different things A redemption novel, sure, but it s an art lover s novel, a family novel, and a novel about basic human decency How often do any of us read things like this I mean, really Doesn t all the sick stuff sell But if I m going to be perfectly honest, I really like the direction this novel took It s like a Norman Rockwell painting that recognizes all the ugliness out there and then DECIDES to sit the crap out to then do its own thing.
Am I surprised that I actually teared up a little Yeah, I guess I am I m used to some really crazy shit This shouldn t GET to me But it did.
Four and a half stars Enjoyable and thought provoking, Mr Lages novel bogs down a bit and occasionally suffers from a heavy writer s hand, but not to the detriment of the reader s pleasure I d caution against reading this novel too closely with MY REMARKABLE LITTLE MONKEY since the temptation to think of Scowl as a singing Shakespeare is strong.
Especially enjoyable for me was Scowl s late in life rumination on the importance of forgiveness, something we as a culture seem to do poorly.
A marvelous read of lives we learn to care for and events we relate to Events that lead the main character to profound insights through life, love and tragedy.
Scowl is an amazing book It s the biography of a man who lived life in the spotlight He made some good choices and some bad choices Scowl was just a person.
Also, by the end of the first chapter, I was a little afraid I wouldn t be able to read it all the way through because Bonaparte asks Scowl, outright, if he is a Christian Scowl answered that he was raised as a Christian At first, I kept expecting to read how horrible Scowl was at being a Christian Didn t happen Scowl is a man living in the time and world he was given Just an ordinary man who happened to have some talent people paid him for He got to do a lot of interesting things because of his talent You just gotta read it That s all I can say without giving away the good stuff.
Having said that, I m sending my copy to one of my daughters, and buying 5copies one for each of my other children, and one so I have it around to read again It is that good Once I got started reading, I couldn t put it down The characters are so believable it s hard to believe it s all fiction.
I can t figure out how Mark Lages comes up with such fun ideas for his books None are ever the same and yet they are all really great adventures This book tells the story of a rock star as told by the man he has do all his interviews You will root for Scowl as he experiences the ups and downs of stardom A fast, easy fun read.
I was originally contacted by the author for a request to review in providing an honest account of what I ve read and I m so glad he reached out as I accepted the request immediately without a moments hesitation.
This book will make you forget that it s truly a work of fiction as it s so reality driven, so thoughtful, so thorough in its concepts and ideas, so believable in the interviews that I truly never read anything quite like this before and it was truly captivating.
It begins with a brief intro into the life and times of a famous pop rock musician in the late 50 s known as Scowl.
Scowl is quite the character coming across as both moody, harsh, abrasive, and yet brutally honest.
He s the type of fella that feels women swoon all over him yet he has such a hard decision in who to choose for his own personal liking and needs.
He s married with kids and ultimately divorces before trying to settle his wild oats.
He s a man seeking redemption but also fame and fortune while being true to self with all his flaws displayed openly for the world.
Like him or hate him he truly doesn t care and will often burst out of interviews asking questions of the interviewee in this case a journalist who takes on this massive challenge.
What a ride Thank you to Mark Lages for contacting me through Goodreads and his publisher Author House for this amazing personal copy in exchange for this honest review.
Oh my goodness one of the best books I have read in a very long time Thank you friend for the awesome read Love, love this book I think it was in the house all of 3 days when I finished it A total cant put it down type of book.
This Book Offers A Lifetime Of Interviews With The Pop Music Phenom Known To The World As Scowl They Were Conducted By Longtime Confidante And Journalist, Ralph Bonaparte The Interviews Begin In , Right After One Of Scowl S Early Rock N Roll Concerts In Los Angeles, And They End In , Just Prior To One Of His Sold Out Retrospective Shows In Las Vegas These Vibrant And Compelling Interviews Cover Scowl S Entire Remarkable Life From His Exuberant Years As A Young Man To His Thoughtful Years As An Adult They Reveal The Heart And Soul Of A Talented, Beloved, And Flawed American Entertainer Who, Like The Rest Of Us, Learned As He Lived One of the most impressive attributes about the author Mark Lages is that while you think you are reading an intriguing story about the life of one of his amazing characters by the end of his books you realize that he has made you think about your own life and decisions and compromises you have made throughout your own life.
Scowl is no exception to this author s ability Scowl is a rock and roll superstar guitarist We learn his life story through interviews he does with one particular reporter Ralph Bonaparte I found this technique of guiding us through Scowl s life by reading the reporter s interviews with him to be very original and believable In fact, as I read the book I was reminded of the many interviews Dave Marsh has conducted with Bruce Springsteen and how he is considered the go to expert on Springsteens career So there is factual basis for this storytelling method.
The story uses real life events as background to Scowls rise to super stardom and being less a super star as time goes on We meet Scowl during the beginning of rock roll with Elvis, Little Richie, the Beatles and the tragic plane crash killing Buddy Holly and the assassination of President Kennedy As Scowl tries to find himself in the seventies we are made aware of the Vietnam War, Watergate, and Woodstock There is even a section explaining Scowls opinion of the OJ Simpson trial and verdict and comparing it to my all time favorite book To Kill a Mockingbird As we follow Scowl through the decades I found so much to relate to my own life I am nowhere a musician, famous or rich But I have been in love, I have been married, I have children, and I have some close friends who I have lost I remember the events that make Scowl pause in his life like wars, politicians, heroes falling from grace, and all the rest that effects us everyday I cried when Elvis died, I felt disappointed when Nixon was caught, and I was stunned at the OJ verdict I don t just recommend this book but I urge you to read it It is actually a very uplifting story Scowl goes through his life as we all do with all the ups and downs that life entails As he learns some lessons so do we as the readers I can tell you one thing that I don t think is a spoiler When I read the last page I smiled I felt it was as near a perfect ending as any I have ever read.