Fiction/Non Fiction: Fiction
Themes: Music, Racism
One sentence summary: THE book you need to read this summer.
Overview: Opal is a Black woman from Southern America, ready to escape her religious upbringing in the deep south. Nev is a British songwriter waiting, wanting and wishing desperately to make it big. Nev signs his first deal with a recording company, but his sound is missing something. Enter Opal. She is everything he is not and the pair have an incredible synergy. They just work.
Opal & Nev record their first album and even manage a tour before their recording company manages to change their lives forever. Their recording label puts on a showcase with all their artists but no one could predict the events of that evening..
Told through a set of interviews with everyone involved in that night, music editor Sunny uncovers more than she ever imagined in the lead up to Opal & Nev’s big reunion tour.
Just wow. What. A. Book. This one has well and truly stayed with me since I put it down a little while ago.
Growing up, I’ve always adored music and especially punk rock. It’s mostly a space saved for white men (with the occasional woman allowed in) but this book challenged that, and I love a book that challenges the norms. Opal is an incredible woman. She is everything my teenage self would have looked up to in a woman in a punk band: confident, passionate and powerful. And that’s not to lean on the Black woman stereotype (despite some of the white characters in the book suggesting so). She doesn’t let anyone talk her down and fiercely stands up for what she believes. What could be more punk about that? Opal is the star of this story and I just know you will love her instantly. She is a queen of punk. She is a heroine.
I really enjoyed how this book is written, with editors notes and interviews throughout I had to keep checking I wasn’t reading a real account. And perhaps that’s why it’s stayed with me so long after reading it, because it really could have happened. And it’s themes still ring true today. There still is racism within the music industry. There still are thieving idiots at the top of the chain only caring for the money they’re making rather than the individuals.
It's certainly a book that’s hard to read at times because of the pain that some of the characters cause through either naivety or obnoxiousness, but that makes it all the more necessary to read. It’s a poignant piece of literary fiction that I can honestly say will stay with me for a long time still.
Would I read it again? Without a doubt, this one hit so hard.
Read this? Plan to read it? I'd love to know! Let me know in the comments below.
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