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The Man on Top of the World Paperback – August 16, 2016
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Top customer reviews
That odd rant aside, I loved the imagery of the story and learning more about Izzy Rich. He's a very dynamic character, and I adored him. I felt that the narrator, Jonathon, was lacking in character development, and I wanted to see him grow independently from whatever chaos Izzy was involved in. There was def a missed opportunity there.
I saw some people mention the terminology being used as the story takes place in England during the 70s. I personally enjoyed it, but I'm also an American, so whatever. I didn't think it was too overbearing or so ridiculous you couldn't understand what was being said. But there were little moments where a character would use a British colloquialism and I would smile like "ayyyye."
I think I give it 4 stars because it was the sort of book that I couldn't put down. I read it in a day! And for me, personally, I never read through a book like THAT. Even the Harry Potter books took a few days to finish. And I haven't read a book like I read The Man on Top of the World since reading The Deathly Hallows when it first came out years ago!
Even though there are a lot of nit picky things I wasn't a fan of, in general, I was engrossed in the story and it left a huge impression on me. There are a lot of unexplored themes, and I'm not sure if the author meant to leave them unexplored for the readers to think about later, of if it was just a matter that they didn't want to/didn't have the time to explore those things. I'd have to pick their brain about that to get answers.
Anyway, link to the full review on my blog for anyone who wants it: [...]
One thing I want to mention in this review is I've noticed in some of the other reviews that reviewers have mentioned the overuse of sex and the glorification of drugs in this novel. I know some of that is personal preference, but I actually found the sex to progress the story. Yes, there were a lot of erotic scenes, but each one was different and unique, and most of them represented, in an intimate way, the dynamics of Izzy and Jonathan's relationship. As for the drugs, well, if a story about world-famous rock stars didn't involve drugs, I would find that hard to believe! Clark also refers to drugs and alcohol frequently as "poison" in the book, so I really don't think it's glorification, just a fact of the time/place.
I loved Clark's lush, descriptive prose. It was a feast for the senses. And it was really nice to read a story with three-dimensional main characters I could relate to. My heart broke for Jonathan - I loved Izzy, and I also hated Izzy right along with him. My heart was on a roller-coaster all the way to the end, and at the end, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. (I won't tell you if it was tears of sadness or tears of joy because that might ruin the surprise!)
Bottom line: I loved it. I especially recommend this book to lovers of glam rock, especially David Bowie, as well as fans of trans stories, as it particularly brought to mind 'The Danish Girl,' as well as 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch.' Overall, a strong, dramatic, glittery, intense, sexy debut novel by Vanessa Clark.
This is a story unabashedly indulges in the true decadence of the 70s glam rock scene. In addition to the well-used groupies, there's a lot of drugs and alcohol being passed around here, and just about every sexual combination you can imagine in explored. You can't help but read it and wonder how these guys ever made it on stage some nights, much less put on a show.
Izzy and Jonathan were such incredible characters, deeply flawed, tragically tormented, and ridiculously in love with one another. The sex between them was incredible, and the more tender romantic moments were contrasted by the jealous bickering.
I loved the way Clark played with the whole culture of celebrity, exploring what it means to live in the spotlight, while still wanting to be a private person. On the one extreme, you have Izzy embracing his softer, feminine side as the lovely Holly, escaping the spotlight to be privately passionate with Jonathan. On the other extreme, you have Izzy languishing in his hardcore rock-star persona, publicly dating, marrying (and ultimately abusing) a talented young woman. I loved him for the former and hated him for the latter, and just wanted to shake him and make him realize what he had with Jonathan.
The sex here was surprisingly explicit, but still somehow tastefully done. The level of invention and excess rings true for the scene and the era, and really served to feed the emotional soap opera. The Man on Top of the World was far more intense in the final chapters than even all that excess led me to expect, but it all rings true, and the final scene is absolutely glorious.
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