Barbara's Reviews > The Disenchantments

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
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May 10, 12

bookshelves: art, families, music, ncbla2013, travel, road-trip, romance
Read in May, 2012

** spoiler alert ** While it is a road trip book, this book is certainly a whole lot more than that. Four friends (Bev, Meg, Alexa) embark on a week-long musical tour of small towns in the Pacific Northwest before heading toward their future. Three of the girls comprise an attractive, enthusiastic but not particularly skilled band called The Disenchantments while Colby is their roadie an VW bus driver. The plan is to travel up the coast from San Francisco, drop Meg off at her dorm in her new college in Portland, and then Bev and Colby will head off to Europe for a year of travel, something they've planned for years. When Bev reveals that her plans have changed; instead of heading to Europe, she has been accepted at RISD, where she plans to attend college. Colby is in love with Bev, and much of the rest of the book explores his trying to find out the reasons behind Bev's change of heart. As the band moves from venue to venue, they meet all manner of interesting characters while Colby tries to heal his wounded heart. While I loved the musical references to some of the soundtracks of my own past history--the Chiffons, the Supremes, Heart, Sleater-Kinney--and Colby's constant sketching, I was never really able to understand why Bev wasn't more forthcoming about her change of heart. It seems that a relationship based around dishonesty isn't much of a relationship at all, right? I'm glad that Colby could forgive and understand Bev's actions since I would have struggled with that for longer than he did. It was also hard for me to understand the whole band thing, too. I'm not sure I get the point of an all-girl band whose appeal is their attractiveness and not their ability to play music. Wouldn't it be better to acquire the skills needed to make music? Or is their poor playing some way of poking fun at the musical establishment? There are all sorts of other plotlines as well. Colby's mother is in France, learning to speak another language while her husband waits at home. A little more detail about that relationship might have helped as well as more about Alexa and Meg.)His dad and uncle were in a band of their own years ago, inspiring a bit of nostalgia for their own touring days. When the travelers happen to meet a tattoo artist desperate to leave his own home and find a copy of a painting by Colby's mother in a tattoo book, I became disenchanted with the storyline because there were just too many coincidences and contrivances for my taste. I'm not sure that I could buy that Colby would invite Jason, someone he barely knew, to accompany him on his European adventure either. Maybe, but why couldn't he go alone?
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