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.
Why didn’t anyone tell me about this book before?! Seriously, people! I thought we were friends. You let me down. SIIIIKE! I still love you. I found How to Kill a Rock Star, after the Willow Aster (my twin) said she almost did not write her novel, True Love Story, because she thought DeBartolo nailed the rock star romance. You know that when one of your favorite authors who wrote one of your favorite books says something like that, you have to read the friggin’ book they’re talking about, right? So I did.
I’ve got my girl and my guitar, and for me that’s enough.
Eliza falls in love with Paul, who is her roommate by happenstance. Her brother, Michael, was Paul’s roommate, but moved out to live with his wife who just happens to be Eliza’s best friend. Way to keep it in the family, right? Against her better judgement and her brother’s warning, Eliza falls for Paul. As a music journalist, he’s everything she’s looking for. For him, music is expression and art and not a means to be on MTV and have your own fragrance line. Music is truth, virtue, and honesty. I really enjoyed this relationship of her idolization of music and it’s meaning and Paul’s personification of Eliza’s beliefs. In so many other rock star romances, the heroine enjoys the music because of the star’s sensuality while singing. For Eliza, she thinks of Paul a the savior of music. Her attraction to Paul is not driven by tight abs and an old muscle car. Nope. In this case, it’s purely a soul connection. Paul relates and understands Eliza on a level that many people would not.
As a matter of fact, Paul isn’t even a star when he meets Eliza. He works at the Gap folding shirts, he doesn’t have a car, and he wears the same clothes often. That’s your idea of a catch, right? Eliza sees Paul for who he really is inside as well as his potential. She sticks by him while he plays at the worst bars and lives in a crappy New York apartment. I really liked that fact. Paul doesn’t need to shower Eliza with expensive trips or wow her with helicopter rides to impress her; he just needs to be himself. As a result, when Paul’s popularity and stardom start to skyrocket, she’s already by his side and can appreciate every bit of him.
Sometimes I would open my eyes when we were kissing, I would watch him and I could see it. I could actually see LOVE – not words, not an emotion, not an abstract concept or a subjective state of mind, but a living, breathing thing.
There are some twists in this story that I am in no way going to give. Nope, not this girl. Just let me say that I curse at Eliza! I shook my fists at her and may or may not have called her the “B” word and not in a joking way. The two lovers that I mentioned previously both had me upset for a great portion of the book. Without a conflict, there cannot be a story. Well, people, there are quite a few in this. There are heart, mind, body, and moral conflicts going on. But you know what? Isn’t that what happens in real life. If things were always easy, you’d never appreciate the good that comes your way. All the bull that happened in this relationship, made me appreciate the unconventional beginnings in retrospect.
Personally, I don’t like inherently happy people. I don’t trust them. I think there’s something seriously wrong with anyone who isn’t at least a little let down by the world.
There’s something about this book that seems so accurate. I am in no way in the music industry, but something seems real. As if the dreamland notions that you had in your mind about what new artists go through is nothing compared to reality. It was only after I investigated Ms. DeBartolo while reading that I found out that she works in the industry. She has her own record label! No wonder why the “whirlwind” success of Paul was actually slow. Becoming a rock star is actually hard work. You give away pieces of your ideals in exchange for living your dreams. How to Kill a Rock Star was more than just your average rock star romance novel. It really made you consider what you were will to give up for “success.”
This was an enjoyable read that I didn’t want to put down. I had to know what was going to happen to the characters. Would they make it? Is love stronger than fame? Can two broken people mend each other? All is explored in How to Kill a Rock Star.
In honor of Paul Hudson and his job at the Gap, I found this really cool video on how to fold a t-shirt in 2 seconds. Two seconds!!! See if you can do it.
If you’ve read How to Kill a Rock Star, do you think Paul would have enjoyed this video?