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I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone Paperback – July 8, 2008
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Punk rocker Emily Black’s daddy is a guitar player, but he set his music aside to raise her on his own after her mother disappeared. Emily grew up reasonably together and rebellious in a small Wisconsin farming town notable for its outlaw music venue, River’s Edge, where she and her best friend graduate from sleeping with potential “rock gods” to starting a band of their own. Their rapid success is the standard-issue rock-and-roll dream, but debut novelist Kuehnert makes it new by marshaling tonic energy and 100-proof candor to create a high-speed, switchback tale. Although the plotline about Emily’s miserable mother and die-hard father is almost too over-the-top, it adds dimension to Emily’s rocketing rise and painful plummet. And Kuehnert is acidly incisive and full-out entertaining as she tells a classic tale of an artist coming into her own, revels in raw punk-rock power, dramatizes just how difficult it is for women musicians to be taken seriously, and reveals that the scariest thing isn’t getting up on stage but lowering your guard and falling in love. --Donna Seaman
"Kuehnert's love of music is apparent on every page in this powerful and moving story. Her fresh voice makes this novel stand out in the genre, and she writes as authentically about coming of age as she does punk rock." -- Charles R. Cross, New York Times bestselling author of Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain
"Teeth. Punk. Combat boots. Attitude. Feminism. Family. Girls with guitars. Relationships that jack you up. Sharp things of the not-good kind. Friendships. Love.... It's all here; it's all pure and real." -- Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Ink Exchange
"A fierce and wild ride." -- Laura Wiess, author of Such a Pretty Girl
"A wonderfully written andevocative story of a mother and daughter parted by circumstance and joined by music. I heartily recommend it." -- Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting
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Still, a quick enjoyable read--some nice dark touches. I'll definitely pick up Kuehnert's other book.
Emily's story is tough one to read. While I couldn't exactly identify with her, Emily is the girl that everyone in my small town high school thought I was. (Imagine everyone's surprise when they found me on Facebook 7,300 days after graduation and realized how BORING I am. Heh.) That fact alone made me form a connection with our punk rock heroine that made this an incredible reading experience for me.
This book has what I love second most in a story (kissing always comes first (and this book has that, too, BTW (I'm done nesting parenthesis's inside parenthesis's now))): imperfect characters. We have characters making bad decisions and THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES. No poo-pooing around tough subjects and minimizing their effects. Be prepared to watch these characters face sexual assault, drug addiction & other stuff I can't mention because it's spoilery-ish. The life of a punk rocker ain't always glamorous.
There is no doubt that music is an important part of who Stephanie Kuehnert is. There were a number of times where I wondered if parts of the story were autobiographical because it comes across SO STRONG across the pages.
Also, I would be doing this review an injustice without mentioning the fact that I love Emily's dad, Michael Black. YAY for YA books that portray present parents! Or parent in this case. *wipes away tear* Watching Emily search for her mother is such a great way for the reader to see her learn more about the woman that she idolizes. There are dual points of view so we learn a majority of Louisa's, Emily's mother, story in a third person point of view story line.
Recommended for readers that love to read a heavy book infused with music that tells it like it is. You'll be rewarded with a reading experience that will stick with you for a good, long while when you pick up this gem by Stephanie Kuehnert.
I wanna be your Joey Ramone was a good read. I really liked the main character a lot and the book covered a wide range of emotions for me. I like that we got to grow up/come of age along with Emily. I liked her badass attitude toward her jerk boyfriend and anyone else who got in her way. I loved the relationship with her dad, her growing up on music, and her relationships with her friends. The writing was good and there was lots of tension to keep me reading. I wasn't completely sold on the storyline of the mom. I think it made a lot of sense that Emily was the way she was because of the mom leaving and that was handled really well, but I didn't completely buy/understand the mom's reason for leaving, just as Emily didn't. A few story threads were left hanging that I would have like to see the resolution to, but that was pretty minor. Emily and She Laughs seriously rocked and I love that there was never any doubt of that in the book. Her talent was very clear throughout the novel. It would have been cool to see their rise to success have a little more obstacles than it did, both as they were rising and then when they had the bad show, but again, that is a minor thing. Overall, it was a good read and made me miss the 90s.