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Liner Notes Paperback – October 7, 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a writer for NPR's Car Talk, first-timer Franklin seems particularly qualified to pen a rollicking road-trip novel but a smooth ride requires more than just a basic familiarity with mechanics. Fresh out of grad school, Laney can't wait for a cross-country drive to a new job in her hometown of Boston. To Laney's horror, however, her mother in for a visit and in remission from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma decides to come along. The narrative moves unswervingly forward, toward home and a friendship between mother and daughter. From Carmel, Calif., through Tulsa, Okla., to Graceland and home, Laney and Annie grow closer. Readers learn about Laney as she chats in the car, filling her mother in on all she missed while she was ill and reminiscing about summer camp and old best friends. These flashbacks depend on a heavy-handed and not entirely effective gimmick: each recollection is sparked by a mix tape. Laundry lists of chart-toppers, cult hits and novelty songs spanning the cassette era "Dancing on the Ceiling," "Burning Down the House," "Blister in the Sun" are offered as road signs to Laney's feelings. Said signs may be indecipherable to all but the most reverent fan of 1980s music, however, and the string of titles fails to tie Franklin's scattered anecdotes together. The book's romantic element, telescoped into a few final chapters, turns on a long-lost mix and a happy coincidence. It's wildly unlikely, but so heavily foreshadowed that readers won't put up much resistance.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Tom Perrotta Author of Election and Joe College Emily Franklin's charming debut novel is a grab-bag of delights.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (October 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743469836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743469838
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,828,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Laney gets a new job after graduate school and plans on driving cross-country by herself, listening to her old mix tapes and enjoying the solitude. Her mother surprises Laney by asking if she can along for the ride. Her lymphoma caused her to miss out on a great deal of her daughter's life, and now in remission, she wants to reconnect with her eldest child. Every tape Laney plays has a story to tell, be it from summer camp or college, and each tape is filled with golden oldies, music from her childhood, and modern tunes as well. This book is a rare one - the gimmick is actually well-executed, making this story as good as it sounds. With realistic characters, fantastic flashbacks, and a great soundtrack, you are sure to laugh, cry and sing along with Laney as you read her Liner Notes.
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Format: Paperback
Liner Notes is an engaging road-trip story with a twist. Instead of a group of friends or two lovers, it's Laney and her mother, working through their mottled pasts as they drive across the country. They delve into family relationships, the mother's illness, and Laney's failed romances, all memories sparked by intriguing mixed tapes, the soundtrack to Laney's life. Some of the most gorgeous scenes are the tender renditions of the mother's long fight with cancer and the shadow this illness cast on Laney's young adult years. A great read for mothers and daughters or anyone who loves the kind of music found on cassette tapes under the seat of a well-worn car.
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Format: Paperback
From the first page of this book, I was unable to put it down. Laney tells the story of her life to her mother during a cross-country drive - but tells it through her mixed tapes. I have tons of these mixes, and I could totally relate to Laney's stories. The plot works, the writing is witty and real and is kind of like a female "High Fidelity." A great read!
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By A Customer on January 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
I stumbled onto this book at an airport and it kept me captivated throughout my cross-country flight. Following Laney and her mother as Laney explained herself via her old tapes, I felt I knew her. Or maybe it's just an easily-relatable book. In any case, Liner Notes is the kind of book you'll and and then buy for your best friend.
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Format: Paperback
This book is so visual, so immediate. Laney and her mother are an example of the modern mother-daughter pairing - they want to be close but years of distance and illness have kept them from relating. Music, the American scenery, and the open plan of the road trip make for an emotional, funny, poignant, and real reunion. Liner Notes is so clear in the reader's mind that it's like watching a film, but getting to see all the footage. A winning read!
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By A Customer on October 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
To start her new job working in art restoration for a Boston museum, thirty-year-old Laney plans to drive across the country with the music tapes she created by herself. Laney looks back at how she envisioned this trek with a boyfriend or her close girlfriends, but she has no one to accompany her. However, that solo drive ends when her mother, who was very ill but recovered, flies out to join her so that they can reconnect on the cross-country drive.
At the beginning of the trip, Laney resents her mother's intrusion. However, as they begin to use her tapes and reflect back as to when Laney made them, they share memories that only a mother and a daughter can have.
Up front, this author hooked me when her bio stated she works for the NPR Car Talk show, whose hosts provide one of the funniest helpful shows that is a hit on the radio (a new carburetor every 40 years?). Back to LINER NOTES: The story line is intriguing as Laney reflects back on her life based on the event that triggered a specific tape that she created. She is the center that holds together this road show novel as she searches into her past seeking the answer to why relationships seem to end while her mom just wants to reconnect. The tale of the tapes is fascinating, but at times the numerous tracks can interfere with an intriguing plot, gimmick and all.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Paperback
I'm pretty sure one reason I really loved this book is because of the main character, Laney...I swear she could be me or one of my high school or college friends. I am 29 and the time frame lines up with mine as does the narrator's outlook while growing up. I love the way she gradually opens up her tapes to her mom and lets her know what she missed in her daugher's life when she was battling her sickness. The only reason I docked it one star is because it was very predictable and anti-climatic in the end. It also seems to fastforward in the end in a way that does not match the rest of the book. Otherwise, I read it quickly and related to it immediately. Great quick read!
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Format: Paperback
OK, the potential of this book was huge. A cross country trip by a daughter with her cancer survivor mother. On the trip, They listen to the daughter's historic "mix" tapes which tell the story of the daughter's life and her relationships through the music.
But ho-hum. The story of all her relationships are toothless. The main character Laney seems to meet them based on looks not substance and the book ends up in situations like, "one week later" they were still together having breakfast or shopping. It's like getting a mix tape and finding bad songs on it. Typically the relationship has no build up and they always just kind of dissolve. Like a person who is always changing their relationships, you don't want to give her a guest on a wedding invitation because she will not be with the person two weeks later.
Generally, Laney meets guys, falls for them immediately and then either she goes away or they go away. It's all very non-dramatic. The scenes are written almost in a mono-tone.
The far better story line is the mother being sick throughout Laney's college years. Mostly though, it is described by Laney as being worried or sad about it. I guess we are supposed to connect that with her inability to form relationships because of her inability to adequately feel and care for her sick mother during this time. Still Laney seems to become involved so easily you don't get attatched to the characters, because it's often just words on paper without Laney's feelings expressed.
The story concludes with Laney re-connecting with her first love, she met as a camp worker, which the "love", in the story, only lasted two days. Still she seems to somehow obsesses about him through some other "important" relationships in her life.
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