Caryn Rose’s Rock’n’Roll Love Letter (In Book Form)

The author’s debut novel is a rock and roll Frankenstein, brought to life with equal parts fanzine, road tale, and love story. Read More

By / October 17, 2011
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B-Sides and Broken Hearts is a rock and roll Frankenstein, brought to life with equal parts fanzine, road tale, and love story. 10 years in the making, author Caryn Rose presents a wholly satisfying ode to those who know it’s only rock and roll, but they like it anyways, dammit.  And, while there are plenty of novels featuring rock star debauchery and “little band that could” success stories already out there, Rose’s debut novel comes from a different place entirely – her self-professed desire to “pay tribute to the times, places and things that aren’t there anymore.”

B-Sides and Broken Hearts follows rock’n’roll chick Lisa Simon across time and space, making pit-stops in New York’s east village at the height of the Fanzine boom, Seattle at the onset of the grunge explosion, and LA following the death of punk hero Joey Ramone.  Along the way, Lisa, and her extended solar system of friends, lovers and fellow rock and roll fanatics, explore love, life, and the value of a good bootleg collection.

For anyone who’s elbowed their way to the front row at a show, or worn a tour t-shirt until it’s fallen off their body, everyone in this book will be instantly, perhaps uncomfortably, recognizable.  And true, for some readers, the obsessive — and exhaustively researched — music factoids may be a turn off.  But for true superfans, the ratatat of trivia is a comforting rhythm – a reminder that yes, there are other out there who care about who recorded what when, and why, as much as you do; and, when it comes superfandom,  Rose is right at home with the best of ‘em.  An obsessive Springsteen blogger, and self-admitted “Who girl” who “just wanted to talk to you about the concert!” Rose spent spent 6 years whipping the Israeli music scene up to snuff as a major label manager overseas.  She is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to music trivia minutia, but in the end simply hopes that the book inspires everyone to “go listen to music.”

B-Sides and Broken Hearts reads the way a mix-tape sounds; heartfelt, occasionally uneven, but ultimately greater than the sum of its parts.