read from August 01 - 04
*I received a free copy of this book via Blogging for Books and would like to thank the author and/or publisher for the opportunity to read and honestly review it.*
Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes
Summary (via the book jacket)
Dave Holmes has spent his life on the periphery, nose pressed hopefully against the glass, wanting just one thing: to get inside. Growing up, he was the artsy son in the sporty family. At his all-boys high school and Catholic college, he was the closeted gay kid surrounded by crush-worthy straight guys. And in his twenties, in the middle of a disastrous career in advertising, he accidentally became an MTV VJ overnight when he finished second, naturally, in the Wanna Be a VJ contest, opening the door to fame, fortune, and celebrity - you know, almost.
In Party of One, Holmes tells the hilariously painful and painfully hilarious tales - in the vein of Rob Sheffield, Andy Cohen, and Paul Feig - of an outsider desperate to get in, of a misfit constantly changing shape, of a music geek who finally learns to accept himself. Structured around a mix of hits and deep cuts from the past four decades - from Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" and En Vogue's "Free Your Mind" to LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge" and Bleachers' "I Wanna Get Better" - and punctuated with interludes like "So You've Had Your Heart Broken in the '90s: A Playlist" and "Notes on (Jesse) Camp," this book is for anyone who's ever felt like a square peg, especially those who have found their place in the world around a band, an album, or a song. It's a laugh-out-loud funny, deeply nostalgic story about never fitting in, never giving up, and letting good music guide the way.
I really enjoyed this book! I love the way he writes and tell stories, and it was the perfect kind of familiarity with him and the time period where I could easily picture the scenes but still be surprised because I didn't know everything about him already.
I love this description about how out of place he felt in college: "Everyone was putting his or her best foot forward, and I had forgotten how to walk."
He kept it light. I feel like some things were glossed over, like how he came out to his parents. He summed it up with "It was awful, and it took some time for things to be okay, but they were, eventually."
He was funny without trying too hard, which is hard to do and well appreciated by me as a reader. He would toss off little one-liners like "I saw myself as the Chandler of the crew, but in a time before Buzzfeed quizzes I was difficult to know for sure" and "...as we all know, everything that hasn't been discovered yet doesn't exist. (It's why we canceled science and told all the researchers to go home.)"
A Few Quotes from the Book
"My name's Dave Holmes, and I have spent most of my life being the odd man out. In retrospect the only bad thing about that is how much time I spent thinking it was a bad thing."
"What's especially odd is that in 1984 you could get called a faggot, and then the guy who said it to you would put his headphones back on and resume listening to Twisted Sister or Motley True or whatever other group of men in bustiers, fishnet stockings, and full faces of L'Oreal products he had been enjoying before he accused you of being gay for holding your books the wrong way."
"Enough of small places where everyone knows one another, enough of homogeneity. I was going to move to the biggest, greatest city in the world: I was starting over in New York City. I had enthusiasm, a poor understanding of how the world worked, a 2.4 GPA, and no job skills. I couldn't fail."