Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: How To Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo

Read (March 5 - April 1 2012)

Book: How To Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Number of Pages: 417 
Genre/s: Adult, Contemporary
Source: Bought

Written in her wonderfully honest, edgy, passionate and often hilarious voice, Tiffanie DeBartolo tells the story of Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist, and Paul Hudson, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band Bananafish. Eliza's reverence for rock is equaled only by Paul's, and the two fall wildly in love.

When Bananafish is signed by a big corporate label, and Paul is on his way to becoming a major rock star, Eliza must make a heartbreaking decision that leads to Paul's sudden disappearance and a surprise knock-your-socks-off ending. - (source)

“The music defied classification. If I had been writing a review of the show, I would have labeled it progressive, guitar-driven rock ’n’ roll. But the guitars made sounds guitars didn’t always make. Symphonic sounds. Sacred sounds. The music dug in so deep you didn’t hear it so much as feel it, reminding me of a dream I used to have when I was a kid, where I would be standing on a street corner, I would jump into the air, flap my arms, and soar up into the sky. That’s the only way I could describe the music. It was the sonic equivalent of flight.” - taken from How to Kill a Rock Star
So this was the first book I finish this summer vacation, and I couldn't pick up a more deserving book. To be honest, I've been reading this for a while now and only got to finish it today (Apr 1). I'm really surprised that even though days and weeks had passed before I continue reading, when I did pick it up I was still so into it, it seemed like no time has passed since the time I put it down.

It must have been the humor, the characters, the romance, the betrayal, the sick twist in the end but this book, in Paul's fashion of saying things, is one "goddamn" of a gem. 

Music and rock 'n roll is a huge part in the story and although I'm no rock star, the magic connection was still skillfully created between me and How To Kill a Rock Star. When Eliza described the music I'd give anything just to hear what it sounds like for real. It sounded so beautiful and it feels like I'm hearing it in her eyes.

Bananafish is a struggling band, with Paul Hudson as the lead singer and the Michaels. Between  having crappy part time jobs to pay for rents and whatever there needs to be paid, their time revolved around having gigs wherein only the deemed "loser bands" played. Then came along Elisa Caelum, the sister of one of the Michaels and she became the roommate of Paul.

I've never felt chemistry so palpable like between these two. Their attraction to one another is undeniably thick, it could have zapped a fly if there ever is one between them. 

I mean, Paul was no heartthrob, he was pale, skinny, has a nose that defies the proportion of his face (I still don't know how that looked like), has the optimism of a frog which is saying a lot. But goodness, I do like him. Not in the crushy-sort of way but in a way that made me really root for him to make it in the business. And him with Eliza was like reading something that's really worthwhile.

This book was such a success not only because of the romance but because of the passion just right underneath. The music was such a big part of their lives, you can just feel the passion and the grit. 

The other characters were not just characters, but people who made the story really worked. Loring, who was the real heartthrob in the story, was in all sense the catalyst of all the screw-ups. But calling him a jerk would really end up with me being the jerk not him. 

And you know what, if I haven't implied it enough, the dialogues are to die for. They were witty. It will have you snorting and giggling on any vehicle anywhere, everywhere (I know I did), but boy when they got serious, it passes right through your heart, sits on your brain just for laughs and would really messed you up. You were laughing one minute, and then this horrible feeling of sadness will just creep up on you without you even knowing. 

The shocker twist was just too much as well. I was sobbing like crazy. I was devastated, heartbroken and trashed.  I remember wailing, "How can a book that started so hopeful, end up so tragic?"  But if you think that was the end of all ends, then you're in for a treat.

DeBartolo did really well in fleshing out her characters. She made them vulnerable, relatable and human. That is why they will be forever immortalized in my mind. I probably didn't give half the justice this book rightfully deserves, but I'm telling you, if the title How To Kill a Rockstar, didn't draw you in or at least put this book into your radar, then I will not be in the least bit surprised that you might be one of the "heathens and pagans" Paul keep mentioning about.

Cupid's Verdict:
4 1/2 Cupids


  1. Oh,I simply adore this book. I cried so hard but than I was like YAY! :D

    1. Your comment reminded me of my emotions while reading this book. Thanks for visiting, Autumn Girl.

      PS. I like your username. It's superhero-ish and cool! ;)

  2. +JMJ+

    I've just realised that I haven't read many books with musician characters, and having analysed it, I think it's because I want to hear music rather than have it described to me by someone else. Wouldn't it be great if books like these could come with CDs? (They'd end up more expensive, though, so never mind!)

    It would help if musical influences were mentioned. Does Tiffannie DeBartolo say which bands or artists Bananafish has been inspired by?

  3. Love the title! And sounds like a good book! :)

  4. the title make me want to read this book....but i don't really like the cover....
    thx 4 ur honest review :)


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