Among my favorite movies are Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous and Elizabeth Town... Relevance? These are what Adios, Nirvana reminds me of. In fact, the two things things that I enjoyed the most about these movies and this book are Music and heart. Now, I know next to nothing about music. I sing off-key; I cannot play any instrument, so these just make my appreciation/admiration of anyone with skills in said areas all the greater... Precisely why I enjoyed this book so much.
On a bridge, that's where this book starts. From there it grabbed me by my eyeballs and would not let go till the last page. That’s how good it was. I try to steer clear of book flap words to describe things I've read. But I’ll make an exception in this case. This book is riveting.
It’s well written. It’s lyrical without being annoying. Poems just aren’t my thing, knowing that this book is about a boy, a poet really, this book did not alienate me at all. Normally, when I see a stanza here or a stanza there, my eyes glaze over and I lose interest. That did not happen here because it’s also humorous without being too snarky.
It’s a disarmingly straightforward: Jonathan’s brother is dead. Jonathan’s life is heading nowhere, and that’s despite his being a poet/prodigy. His life is focused on finishing his Tales of Telemachus, his friends, the THICKS, and hopefully finding a girlfriend. Opportunity comes knocking in the form of an blind, old man who would like to hire Jonathan to write his life’s story. So is this another Tuesday’s with Morrie? A little because there's a lot of the old man teaching our boy a thing or two about letting go and forgiving. But honestly, not at all, because this is all about Jonathan … and Telly.
Half of the time you get a picture smacked into your head instead of words and words and words that build a story up. Basically it’s VIVID. Take this for example, “… Looking like the great grunge god Eddie Vedder, of West Seattle and the world. My boxers ride my bellybutton. My Levi’s ride my butt crack.” Reading that, it’s almost as if I were recollecting something I’d seen before.
The way Jonathan spoke was quite engaging too. I wouldn’t agree with half the things he said, but I did get a kick out of the way he’d put it. Consider this, “It’s true, I am hard on my books. You don’t get your money’s worth till you’ve slammed them against the wall a few times. Broken their backs. My books are my family- the more they hurt me, the more I hurt them…” Sacrilege! I would never do those things, but I really loved the way he said it.
But Adios, Nirvana is mostly sad because everything our boy, Jonathan does, wants to do, will do and can do circles back to Telly. But Telly‘s gone... all but from Jonathan’s of memories him.
Jonathan describes his writing thus,
“I prefer chaos because there’s no structure, no logic, to how I write. I write fast. Free. Gut.”
I guess that’s the best way to describe ADIOS, NIRVANA too.