Wednesday, March 26, 2014

REVIEW: The B-Side Diaries by Brian Joyce

Rory is only seventeen years old and six months removed from his friends in Nashville, Tennessee when he receives the news that his best friend Christopher has died—and worse yet, he has been hand selected to deliver Christopher’s eulogy. Over the course of one weekend Rory must confront his fears of public speaking, falling in love, growing up, and losing a sense of what he calls home. Wrought with emotion, and fueled by teenaged doubt, friendship, and punk rock music—The B-Side Diaries unravels the truths about not only what it means to lose a close friend, but also the truths about what it means to be a teenager. Told through diary-like confessions from Rory’s perspective, The B-Side Diaries is written in a faux-memoir style, that pulls the reader into the mind of a teenager sorting out his life, and coming to grips with his loss of innocence. 

Think “The Big Chill” for teenagers meets Fat Kid Rules the World.

My Thoughts:

"Some people's lives are like an epilogue."

Rory can't believe it when he receives a phone call to tell him that his best friend Christopher has been killed. How is that possible? He was so young. He had so much life in front of him. If the prospect of burying your best friend isn't hard enough to deal with, Rory has been asked to deliver the eulogy at Christopher's funeral. Over the course of the weekend Rory faces the constant struggle of what he's going to say.

For the first portion of the book I felt a bit of a disconnection to Christopher. And I think that's because we never get to meet Christopher in life, only in death. But then the group of friends get together and start to share stories that they each have of Christopher. It was then that I got a true understanding of the wonderful young man that he was. On the surface, he was someone who had it all together. He was kind, thoughtful and respectful. His care and concern for others was a beautiful thing. He was selfless and always seemed to be putting others first. Things hadn't always been easy for Christopher, so I think he had a wonderful empathy for others.

"I mean it was instant. We had an instant connection, like brothers, like we already knew each other. It was just safe. It was awesome.
He made me the person I am today."

The friendships amongst the group was wonderful. What started out being about music and good times flowed into something much more as they each dealt with their grief. A group of friends doing the best that they can to deal with the loss of a mate and support each other through it.

There was also a little romance for Rory in the story. He has always had a bit of a crush on Christopher's sister and is a little surprised to learn that his feelings could quite possibly be returned. It was also great that the two characters had each other to lean on during such difficult times.

One of the things that I could really identify with throughout this story was all the references to music and the punk scene. I wasn't necessarily a punk in my school days, but I was different to everyone else in my school because of the music I listened to and the clothes that I wore. Even to this day, I am the odd one amongst my friends because I still embrace those differences. 

I felt that the pacing of the story and the flow of the authors writing definitely picked up in the second half of the book and that's when I enjoyed the story the most. But that was also the saddest to read. But I felt a much greater connection to the characters during that period as well.

3.75/5 Sad, Touching Stars

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