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And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You Hardcover – August 1, 2002

3.8 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You is the debut novel from Kathi Kamen Goldmark, the San Francisco musician who started the Rock Bottom Remainders, the publishing-world supergroup whose members include Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Molly Ivins, and Carl Hiassen. Goldmark, formerly the group's token nonwriter, has produced a novel about Sarah Jean Pixlie, a Bay Area country singer who stumbles into stardom. The book is utterly shapeless when it comes to plot, and can be oddly uninformative about key moments of Sarah Jean's life (like, say, the birth of her child). Still, Goldmark writes with a rollicking good humor that's oddly infectious. She's like a bar band that you can't help but enjoy just because they're having so much fun. And her passages on musical mores have an easygoing, insiderish feel. Here she writes about life on the road:
Pretty soon there were at least fifteen sweaty band and crew members sprawled on the bed, chairs, and floor. Sacks of fast-food takeout and a couple of bottles appeared. It's the truth that Wild Turkey on ice from the machine down the hall, in a hotel bathroom glass, can make you a very special kind of stupid.
The whole affair is plagued by a gimmick that quickly palls: Sarah Jean has a habit of turning her troubles into cute country-western lyrics--which are, sadly, included in the book. --Claire Dederer

From Publishers Weekly

Goldmark takes an offbeat spin through the world of country music in her charming debut, which begins when backup singer Sarah Jean Pixlie gets fired by country star Cindi Lu Bender because a song Sarah Jean wrote has been nominated for an award. She heads home to the Bay Area to crash with her parents and learns that her one-night fling with a guitarist has led to a pregnancy. Goldmark alternates between family subplots and career struggles, following the attempts of Sarah Jean and her free-spirited friends to make it in the music business. Highlights include Sarah Jean's choice between the baby's father and the drummer who becomes her ambivalent new boyfriend, a winning performance at the awards show and the subsequent success of her CD and video. Meanwhile, Sarah Jean and her friends try to unravel a scam involving CD sales, orchestrated by Cindy Lu's people. A couple of the family subplots are clunkers, but a quirky, satirical edge keeps the novel from falling into rags-to-riches cliches. The combination of Goldmark's playful humor, her smooth prose style and her knowledge of the music business carry the day; despite the occasional misstep, the whole ends up exceeding the sum of its parts by a considerable margin.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811834956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811834957
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,246,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kathi Kamen Goldmark is the author of AND MY SHOES KEEP WALKING BACK TO YOU, a novel. She is co-author of WRITE THAT BOOK ALREADY!: THE TOUGH LOVE YOU NEED TO GET PUBLISHED NOW and THE GREAT ROCK & ROLL JOKE BOOK, and a contributor to several collections of essays including MID-LIFE CONFIDENTIAL: THE ROCK BOTTOM REMAINDERS TOUR AMERICA WITH THREE CHORDS AND AN ATTITUDE. With her husband, Sam Barry, she writes a monthly column in BookPage called "The Author Enablers."

Kathi is the founder and a member of the all-author rock band the Rock Bottom Remainders, president and janitor of "Don't Quit Your Day Job" Records, producer of the coast-to-coast radio show West Coast Live, Author Liaison for Book Group Expo and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library's Laureates Dinner, a 2007 San Francisco Library Laureate, and winner of the 2008 Women's National Book Association Award. She likes to think she is ready for anything.

Visit Kathi at www.redroom.com/author/kathi-kamen-goldmark or http://www.kathiandsam.net.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By tm on August 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm wondering if the other reviewers here actually read the same book I did? My book club selected this novel based on the glowing reviews here (and the tag lines from all Ms. Goldmark's friends on the back of the book -- shame on you, Roddy Doyle and Amy Tan!!). I have yet to talk to someone who enjoyed it. The Amazon reviewer is being more than fair -- it's predictable, the plot is loopy, and the song lyrics throughout the book are practically unbearable. I figured out by the 10th page that I'd need to skip them if I wanted to finish the darn thing.

Further, Ms. Goldmark may be a country music "insider," but I didn't get that feel from the novel. Most of the characters are immediately recognizable stereotypes: the self-absorbed big star, the greedy record producer, the citified record industry folk. Hilarity ensues.
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Format: Hardcover
Music is compelling for almost all of us, but the lives of people who make it are too rarely written about in equally compelling human dimension. Oh, there is no shortage of burnout life on the road epics, a few of which are important -- such as "Crazy Heart" by Thomas Cobb.
But if you haven't met Sara Jean Pixlie yet, you're missing out on something truly special. She has known the road, the back up singing, the big time, and the number of vividly colorful characters whom you are likely to meet along that way. But she is fairly young, fully human, and nowhere near burnt out.
Kathi Kamen Goldmark writes about music, musicians and the special world they live in with an impressive authenticity. She's been there on the stage, and in the small clubs where everybody hopes to find out who they are.
And she also does it in a way which will make absolutely anybody enjoy it. Her story also made me laugh til I cried more times than I can count.
I found this book in the library, by the way, in Lake County CA where much of it was set. I've been looking for the club she wrote about ever since.
Kathi, was there ever such a place? Please write another book. Maybe the idea will catch on.
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By A Customer on September 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I can still hear the lonely twang of a guitar in the background as I write this. This book is an absolute riot . . . fun, FUNNY, and as sweet and charming as Sarah Jean herself. Worth it for the song lyrics alone. I read it from cover to cover on one lazy beach vacation. It is one of those books that is tailor-made for some good quality time curled up in a chair, like having coffee with your best friend. I can't recommend it enough!
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By A Customer on January 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In the past few years, there have been only two books that have kept me awake all night to finish them. This is one of them. (The other was by Daniel Hecht.)
I stumbled across this book at the library, and checked it out, not even sure if I wanted to read it. By the next morning, I had finished it! It's an extremely readable story, but at the same time has a remarkable depth. The author writes very honestly and with great caring about her characters. The result is a sweet, funny, sexy, sensitive page-turner of a book.
I'm not sure what to say about the plot without spoiling the story. It's about a female country singer who suddenly and surprisingly hits it big, and yet doesn't at the same time. I was enthralled with the whole story (I keep saying that, don't I?) which surprised me since I have zero interest in country music.
When I finished the book, I felt lonely--I wasn't ready for it to end, despite it being 2:30 in the morning. I came here, hoping very much that the author had other books published, and was very disappointed to see that she does not.
Kathi, please write another one!
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Format: Paperback
I don't read too much of this type of fiction,but being a long time fan of Country Music;the fact that this novel was written by someone who was an actual Country Music singer ,enticed me to read it.I was hoping it would give me an insight into the type of lives these people lived and some of the hardships they faced ,not only on the way up, but while at the top and even after.The book did not disappoint me and surprised me how much these people go through to provide us with their music.After reading it,you will come to the conclusion that the people in the business love it in spite of all the problems and wouldn't trade it for anything else,and that particularly means a 9 to 5 office job.

Although many of the names in the book are familiar to me,I must admit that I've neverheard of Kathi Goldmark.That is not a problem since there are so many artists in recent years who appear for a short time or locally and then disappear.Kathi obviously knows what being one of the lesser known is like,and is a good writer and storyteller and gives ud a good novel.It is sort of an autobiography and would make a good generic movie of a Country music star.

I was also impressed by the comments on the back of the book by many writers and artists who have said good things about the book.It's hard to imagine such diverse people such as,Amy Tan,Roy Blount,Dave Berry,Olivia Goldsmith,Dave Marsh,Lynne Hinton,Roddy Doyle,P.J.O'Rourke,Carl Hiassen,Judy Collins,Scatt Turlow,Rita Mae Brown and Molly Ivens;would all like the same book. It is also a little surprising that there weren't more comments by better known Country Music Legends. Maybe it's just that they see so much of this life,they don't need to read about it.

For the rest of us with our comparatively mundane lives,it's a great read.
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