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Don't Shoot! I'm the Guitar Man
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Don't Shoot! I'm the Guitar Man

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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  17 reviews
This is the story of lifelong musician Buzzy Martin, music teacher to the hardened criminals inside the walls of San Quentin Prison-and what he learned, note by incredible note.
ebook, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Berkley Books (first published March 2007)
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J
I can’t remember if I was on my way to or from Portland but I saw Don’t Shoot! I’m The Guitar Man! at the airport and immediately wanted to read it. The idea of a musician teaching at risk kids and cons how to play guitar is a story after my own heart. Suffice to say, it wasn’t long before I tracked the book down and gave it a go.

That Buzzy Martin went to San Quentin weekly (when there weren’t riots, executions or gang fights) is incredible. Martin clearly cares about helping others through the
...more
Darcia Helle
I have great respect for the author's pursuit to heal through music, but this book was a huge disappointment for me. There is no substance. We never get to know any of the inmates. We don't know whether any of them were helped or healed in any way, or whether the music classes were nothing more than a fun escape from prison drudgery. Martin tells us over and over that he works with at-risk kids and can't wait to take everything he learns at and about the prison back to them. Yet, we don't go the ...more
Aggie
Our youth of today should really have the opprotunity to read this book! Buzzy gives a straight forward account of what life holds for those who feel violence, drugs and crime is the way to go for a better future. I commend Buzzy for devoting part of his life to taking the time in writing his experiences while at the Q. This book can really open the eyes to our youth who are at the beginning of their careers of being part of the maddnes that those prisoners now live and wish they would have had ...more
Sarah
The author sounds like a great guy, and I'm glad he took so much time to work with prisoners and at risk youth. Having said that, however, I was disappointed in this book – it seemed like the author really only have enough material for an article, but he tried to write a book about his experiences, and it was very repetitive. Again and again we hear about him driving to the prison walking through security and teaching the prisoners, and it's all really the same. The whole book and been condensed ...more
Donna
I read Don't Shoot! I'm the Guitar Man a year or so again...Love the book. I met Buzzy through a freind and he told me about the book...I bought it from him on the spot, started to read it that night and didn't put it down until I was done. He's an amazaing guy - working with the kids and at San Quentin like he did. It's a great read!
Howard Burke
Anyone reading this book with learn of the healing power of music. They will learn of the power of music to a child and to the man. They would also learn about a man with a heart bigger than they can imagine.
Ben
An interesting view into a world most would avoid. Martin merges a refreshing no-frills honesty with a relentless curiosity and compassion. The result is a moving read which educates as much as it entertains.
Clifton
Fascinating story of a musician teaching hard-core felons guitar at San Quentin prison near San Francisco. An easy read presented in a diary style. Check it out!
Darla
It was just impossible to read. While the message is great, the delivery suffers from lackluster (to be generous) copy editing.
Heavensent1
Don't Shoot! I'm The Guitar Man is a true story account of one musicians journey to bring music to those imprisoned in the San Quentin State Penitentiary. Written in a journal-like format, Buzzy Martin, takes you week by week thru his 3 1/2 years as music teacher at one of the United States worst criminal prison systems. With many thoughtful and sometimes, comical insights, Buzzy takes you on a ride thru his psyche and his struggles to teach those less fortunate by bringing a little music to the ...more
Dawn
The chronicles of an amazing experience, by an amazingly self-sacrificing man! I do recommend it to everyone who appreciates the therapeutic potential of music. I agree with other reviewers' criticism of the copy-editing of this book-- very poor. The first half of the book is monotonous; repetitive diary entries that serve the purpose of emotional catharsis for the author, maybe, but make for tortured reading. (and as I write that, I acknowledge that prison life IS tortured, repetitive, monotono ...more
Janine
Okay well this wasn't exactly the most exciting book I ever read and it got kinda boring cause a lot of things were repeated again and again.. but still I liked it because tbh Buzzy Martin is a hero to me. the world needs more people like him, honestly I gained so much respect for him while reading this book..
Angela
Very interesting autobiography of a musician who teaches guitar classes to kids in juvenile hall and then agrees to teach classes to inmates in San Quentin Prison. Quick read but quite repetitive. Might have been better as a magazine article than full-length novel. Still, fascinating perspective and worth the read.
Ilse
Overall an eye-opening book that takes the reader on a journey inside the prison walls. The author writes this book as journal entries and while this makes for a realistic retelling of the author's life, unfortunately some of the entries seem to be cut short and very repetitive.
Beverly
Not a literary work of art, but a great story by a local hero. I had lunch with him the day he sold the movie rights, so I'm looking forward to seeing how Buzzy translates to the big screen.
Jocelyn
Prisoners find music to be healing. There you go, that's the entire book. Could've used some heavy editing.
Cathy
still reading
Chris
Chris marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2014
Percy
Percy marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2014
Judy
Judy marked it as to-read
Jun 08, 2014
Lisa Krishnan
Lisa Krishnan marked it as to-read
Feb 02, 2014
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1239428
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Buzzy taught himself to play the guitar and piano at the age of 13. At the age of 15, he performed with his first band as the lead singer, playing guitar and keyboards. Buzzy has been making his dream real, one step at a time. After graduating from high school there were the traveling cover bands, steadily touring the Midwest from Michigan to Florida. In 1979, he mo ...more
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