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October Song: A Memoir of Music and the Journey of Time Paperback – April 28, 2017
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October Song is a beautifully authentic memoir that reminds us there are no limits on dreams, creativity is boundless and nothing in life is finite when we let go of our self-imposed rules. --Michelle Burwell, Windy City Reviews
October Song is about and for all who wonder if it's too late to follow a dream. Through his easy conversational tone, David W. Berner shares his heart and soul as if we were curled up together, sipping hot chocolate in front of a fireplace. Like a favorite song, that warm fuzzy feeling lingers on well after the story is done. (Viga Boland, author of No Tears for My Father)
With his gift of a no-holds-barred writing style―raw, honest, confessional―Berner succeeds, once again, as a master storyteller. Music can tell the story of our past. Lyrics evoke memories; melodies make the heart thump like it did on a first date. October Song brings the reader through a mix tape of life, as Berner tells his tale of new love while traveling through landscapes and time. Each chapter reads like a beloved song. (Geralyn Hesslau Magrady, author of Lines)
October Song strikes all the right chords; the high notes and the low notes of a life's journey―the losses, the lessons, the loves. Composed with tenderness and affection, Berner's heartfelt and ultimately life-affirming joy ride teaches us that you're never too old to roll down the window, crank it up and belt it out. (Randy Richardson, author of Cheeseland, Lost in the Ivy)
About the Author
David W. Berner is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist, whose career honors include the position of Writer-in-Residence at the Jack Kerouac Project and the Ernest Hemingway Foundation. He lives outside Chicago, Illinois.
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A pleasant weekend read!
October Song seems to begin like a conventional memoir: the author has an unexpected chance to win a song-writing contest. The reader is then given the background that becoming a rock star was a dream deferred. Is the author going to narrate the story of how he finally achieved his childhood dreams and became a song writer with a international reputation?
Thankfully not. Not because I don't want the author to succeed but because I didn't want to read some name-dropping, conventional memoir about how the author found redemption after many travails.
Instead, Berner provides a startlingly realistic portrait of a late middle aged man and the key relationships in his life. Berner does engage in imparting some words of wisdom, but these are by no means the core of the memoir.
The memoir finds its real purpose and meaning when the reader gets to know the narrator enough that the major events of the protagonist's life become of interest. This is
by no means a small achievement. To give a realistic account of a familial circle, summarize a certain time in one's life and make the reader care enough about the characters to keep reading is an impressive artistic achievement.
Just as Berner does not follow typical conventions in the book's content he also steers clear of the cliches and trite aphorisms that weigh down so many memoirs. His metaphors are original and striking as is the rest of his language.
The one fault in this book is that it takes
some reading to know the protagonist well enough to sympathize with him. However, Berner has written previous memoirs which I have not read so other readers might not have this experience.
In other words, if you are looking for a book in which the author begins in humble circumstances, launches off into some other stratosphere all the while finding his true self this is not the book for you. If however, you want a honest and sincere account of a middle aged American's life you will be pleasantly surprised. Personally, I think the latter is the rarer of the two.