Sharon's Reviews > I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert
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Oct 01, 2010

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bookshelves: adult-fiction, realistic-fiction
Read in September, 2010

A first novel that reads somewhat like a first novel, full of embarrassing cliches and posturing at times, but also filled with glimpses of the raw intensity and emotion of someone writing from the heart. There are definitely traces here of the honesty that made Ballads of Suburbia (IMHO) so wonderful.

I had a lot of shades of Poppy Z. Brite while reading this novel--maybe it was just the stripping in New Orleans, but I think part of it was also the fact that I would have thought a lot of this seemed way cooler when I was 19, but it comes across as somewhat immature now. The drunken ranting, sleeping around, edginess etc. Also, I wish Kuehnert could have had the band achieve smaller but still admirable goals for a punk band from small-town Wisconsin...I feel like it would have been enough to show how the characters' lives were fulfilled by the band without having them immediately achieve the kind of success most bands only dream about almost instantaneously. Not only does it come across as a bit unrealistic, but it also overshadows the personal role the music plays in the characters' lives.

That being said, Emily's longing for her missing mother comes across palpably through the pages, and her mother's guilt and regret are also very well-expressed, even if the ways they express these sometimes come across as cliched and untrue. I was very satisfied with the ending and the character's growth and I can't say I didn't enjoy reading this book despite its mis-steps.
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