September 13, 2013

Friends of Mine: Thirty Years in the Life of a Duran Duran Fan by Elisa Lorello

Music has the power to bring not only friends together, but also strangers. It bonds us in peace and love and faith and hope and joy. And it does it without asking for our ID, religion, political persuasion, or diplomas. Music was the grace in the midst of suffering[.]"

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I know I am going to struggle writing this review because there is no way I have the talent to articulate how I feel about Elisa Lorello's memoir, Friends of Mine: Thirty Years in the Life of a Duran Duran Fan. I also might be a little bit biased because, like Lorello, I grew up in a large family affected by divorce where I miraculously avoided less forgiving addictions and found acceptance and identity through music (let's not even get into the epically bad relationship, the fan fiction and the gay guys, mmmkay?). Through all the ups and downs, it has always been music that has kept me steady, no matter what life throws at me. But this isn't about me: this is about how Elisa Lorello's memoir transcends generation gaps and personal experiences to tell a story to which we can all relate through a medium we all know and love: music.

From the first page, readers are acquainted with the vibrant and friendly writing of Elisa Lorello, who easily makes my short-list of favorite chick lit authors. There's just something about the way Lorello expresses herself in writing that is poignant yet relaxed, like you're listening to an intelligently witty friend tell a really great story. I happily read this entire book in one sitting because of her voice, pacing and of course, the emotional content.

In Friends of Mine, Lorello tells her story: from her birth as a twin and the youngest of seven children, to her parents heartrending divorce; through her years as the ultimate Duran Duran super fan, and into adulthood where she endeavored through relationships and career decisions. What I found most striking about Lorello's story is that it's a story that resonates so profoundly through me because it was also partially my story, and probably yours, too. Lorello weaves together the experience of her reality with universal lessons of family, self-worth and identity easily accessible by readers across a broad spectrum. And she does all of this, of course, against the ever-present backdrop of Duran Duran, using the common experience of music to string up every thought and idea, like a beacon that guides our stories forward. (Too cheesy? Because I meant it sincerely!).

In short: Elisa Lorello identifies music as the lifeblood, the core, the spirit, the backbone, of all of our stories, especially hers.

Like I mentioned, I might be biased; after all, I was truly shocked to find out how much Elisa Lorello and I had in common, especially in terms of being super fans ("She doesn't even like John!" -ohh, I've been there before!). But I really think that people of all walks of life and experiences will connect with this book because of the value placed on music. Also, any book that references Sticky Hands and maintains the fading memory of Tower Records is a must-read for anyone who appreciates popular culture!

Bottom Line: If music has been an active participant in your life, then this is a must-read (so basically everyone!). If you're a Gen-Xer, Duran Duran fan, super fan of anyone, or an awkward/formerly awkward teen girl in need of vindication, please buy this at once and keep it on the same shelf as your holy texts. 6/5 stars (can I do that? It's my blog and I just did!) 

*Note that the print version has more pictures! I read the Kindle version, but I'll definitely be buying this in print!*

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, all opinions are 100% my own

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I was wondering about this because I've heard Duran Duran on the radio and like their music, but I've never been an actual fan, you know? I have definitely been obsessed with music, and I've been a super fan, and I doubt I'll ever not be awkward so I feel like I would be able to read this book! Her writing sounds really nice, and makes me want to check out some of her chick lit books, too! Great review! Viva la 6 stars! =)

    Katy @ a blighted one


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