Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book Review: I Wanna be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert

Paperback, 352 pages Published July 8th 2008 by MTV Books

I found this book in a really interesting way. At my school a couple of my students have a volunteer job at the San Diego book project. Down in this sketchy basement there is pallets and dumpsters filled with used books that are destined to for libraries in smaller communities and various non-profits. The people who run the book project are clear they want people to take books and enjoy them if they find ones they like. I have found several cool retro science fiction books, including Ace doubles.

One day I was sifting through the pile and I saw this book. I was never a big Ramones fan so I almost chucked it but I read the back. It was a coming of age punk rock novel set in the midwest. As the author of a published coming of age novel about punk rock in the midwest myself I was intrigued. Granted my novel has skinheads and werewolves but they are both about small town punks moving to Chicago.

I had to read it. I am glad I did. I know now this is a debut novel and I can say it has all the benefits of a first novel in terms of passion and story dedication. It has none of the negatives of a first novel, it is confidently written in fact.

The story is strongly plotted and the characters are vivid. The setting from the small town punk scene to the large scale tours are fully realized worlds. You often hear the term world building being used in large scale fantasy and science fiction novel but the author did a wonderful job building this world.

The story of Emily Black a young small town punk rocker who was raised by her father after her mother left them to chase punk rock dreams. While Emily works to realize those dreams her mother lives a nightmare. The question becomes will they ever find each other.

I enjoyed every page of this book. It was the punk rock coming of age promised on the cover. One of the reasons I started writing punk fiction myself was it is rare to find fiction set in this world that is authentic. This is a case where I closed the book feeling like the author and I went to alot of the same shows, watched the same bands and felt much the same ways about the scene. This is punk fiction done very well.

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