Review: The Song is You by Arthur Phillips

the song is youAnother TBR Pile Challenge book. This one has been on my TBR pile since 2010, when it received literary acclaim. I had very high hopes for this one, as it centers around a music producer who falls for a girl in a band. I was hoping for some hip, Nick Hornby-like writing. I think what I got was if Nick Hornby and David Foster Wallace had a baby. And I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I am not a DFW fan.

I have a 50-page rule when it comes to books. I give it until page 50. If I’m not into it by then, I move on. I have too many other books waiting for their turn.

I struggled to get to page 50 with this one, I really did. I wanted to like it, and I just had a hard time with it. Part of it is the writing style. There was at least one word on each page that I had to look up. And I’m by no means a dummy when it comes to language! So this is not for the average reader.

And then, around page 45, I started to like it. I got used to the way Phillips writes, and I charged on. I kind of fell in and out of love with this book, and almost gave up on it several times. Finally, though, I persevered through the end of the book. My conclusions: I’m not sure whether I am to view Julian’s actions as creepy or romantic, although Cait seems to be ok with everything he does, even herself engaging in some creepy/stalkerish/romantic behavior back at him. I’m not sure how the death of Julian’s son several years ago is supposed to factor in, but it does, somehow. And I am hugely disappointed at the many twists of fate that keep Julian and Cait apart. I know that’s what makes the book work, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

All in all, I think this book is a little bit intellectually bogged down to be digestible by the mainstream reader. If you are into indie music and dig chicks in bands, maybe you want to give this one a try. But otherwise, I’m sorry to say, skip this one. This Song is Not For You.


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