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Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,628 ratings  ·  433 reviews
From former MTV VJ Dave Holmes, the hilarious memoir of a perpetual outsider fumbling towards self-acceptance, with the music of the '80s, '90s, and today as his soundtrack
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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 28th 2016 by Crown Archetype
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Debra As a cultural literate resource for the 80s and 90s, yes. I found the book very engaging (and laugh out loud funny).

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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  2,628 ratings  ·  433 reviews

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Larry H
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for making it available!

Dave Holmes' Party of One worked for me on so many levels, but mainly because, except for the fact that he was a former VJ on MTV and actually famous, we pretty much lived parallel lives. Pop culture-obsessed? Check. Growing up knowing he was gay but knowing the world wasn't too keen on people who were different in t
Julie Ehlers
I related to this book so hard. Be my friend, Dave Holmes! I mean, I already have a friend named Dave Holmes (hi, Dave!), but I want this Dave Holmes to be the Other Dave Holmes.
Jessica Jeffers
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I adore Dave Holmes, but I also have a confession to make. Even though I’m exactly the right age, he wasn’t a fixture of my teenage years because we weren’t allowed to have cable while I was growing up, and my exposure to MTV was more or less limited to the handful of times that my brother and I could sneak off to the basement during visits to my grandmother.

So I guess I’m a little bit of a Johnny-Come-Lately here, but I mostly became re-introduced to Dave through his appearances on VH1’s vario
I absolutely LOVED Dave Holmes when I was a teenager. "Party of One" is a fantastic, well written memoir from start to finish. He writes about when he first fell in love with music videos on MTV as a child (back when they used to show them, for crying out loud). Dave also dives into his confusing, hormone-ridden adolescence, to his coming out in College in the early '90s. We also get a few chapters about him auditioning and graciously losing the contest, "Wanna Be a VJ" on MTV. Even though he lo ...more
April Cote
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish this book came with a soundtrack.
May 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, arc
I grew up watching Dave Holmes, Carson Daley, and, yes, crazy Jesse Camp on MTV in the 90s. My little sister and I would come home from school and immediately flip on the TV to watch TRL (even though our parents specifically told us not to). Every song that Holmes mentions in this book, every artist he refers to, I am not only familiar with, but I also have some sort of emotional attachment to (good or bad). In other words, this book was basically written for me! I AM the target audience. Party ...more
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
”I was learning a valuable lesson the hard and weird and televised way.”

I feel kind of bad rating this so low because Dave Holmes, from what he shows of himself in this memoir, seems like a genuinely sweet, funny guy. It’s impossible to rate a memoir independent of its author’s voice and presence and perspective, but I will say that the low rating doesn’t reflect my opinion on Holmes himself, more the way he chose to tell his story. I don’t know why I’m defending myself so much here, it’s not li
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Disclaimer: When I was in college, I wrote a poem about having sex with Dave Holmes; it was critically acclaimed by my Advanced Poetry class. Dave Holmes was #1 on my list from 1998 - 2013 (he was replaced by Idris Elba).

On the whole these days, I'm Not Doing That Great. Grief sucks and is hard and is compounded by job responsibilities and school. Sometimes I resent having to get back to life before we lost Yaya, and it's because I'm bewildered: I mean, doesn't everyone walk around all day feel
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves-of-2016
Is there anything better than eagerly anticipating a book for 2 years only to finally have an ARC of it in your hands a month before its release, and it exceeding your expectations? I think probably not. I have been a fan of Dave Holmes since high school, when I was a religious MTV watcher and he hosted many of my favorite programs. When he started writing articles for Vulture, I would often save them for Friday afternoons when I was already checked out of work, hanging on every sentence as he w ...more
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction, 2016
I just really really really enjoyed this. Dave Holmes has always been sort of on the periphery of my awareness - I watched MTV in his era, but not religiously, and I enjoyed him on VH1 - but I got to really love his Vulture columns and his Twitter presence over the last couple of years. This was exactly the book I wanted it to be.
I really enjoyed this little jaunt down 90s and early 00s memory lane, but the book was about much more than that. It's about finding your place. Dave shares what it was like realizing he was gay at an early age, the struggles to live life honestly, and feeling accepted.
Gregory Baird
You may remember Dave Holmes as the guy who came in second place in MTV's first Wannabe a VJ contest to Jesse Camp, but managed to walk away with a job at the network anyway. I certainly remember him from those days, when his affable demeanor made him a lot more accessible than anyone else on MTV at the time, especially Jesse Camp, who mercifully faded away after a year. Anyway, Holmes uses that experience as something of a metaphor for his life in Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs. He presents ...more
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Born in 1980, I am not a Gen X'er but like all people born in 1980 I wish I was. Instead, I'm part of this nebulous no-generation generation. Dave Holmes is definitely Generation X and he has written a book that makes me misty eyed and nostalgic and made me add 30 deep cut songs to a spotify playlist. This book is laugh out loud funny (but not LOL funny, because I'm not a Millennial) and it's about growing up with pop culture and being gay when it wasn't still really a stigma but also wasn't qui ...more
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book resonated with me far more than I was anticipating - in that way that you can identify yourself so clearly in the author/character's voice. I found such comfort and recognition in Dave Holmes' writing.

The structure of the book was well-paced, thoughtful, and the song-title-as-chapter-title felt appropriate and well-integrated.
Your mileage may vary - I liked the book up until about Chapter 8, when I started to loathe Dave Holmes. I'm sure he's probably lovely and it wasn't his fault, and in his defense, spoiler alert, he didn't do anything evil. He just started to grate on me.
Rebecca McNutt
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Well, Party of One is certainly nostalgic and innovative, to say the least. I wasn't sure about t at first but now I really like it.
Amy Johnson
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the late 90s I was bit by the Boy Band Bug and religiously watched TRL and voted for Backstreet Boys videos like my very life depended on it. Oh, and I was in my late 20s, decidedly NOT the target demo for TRL. I became a huge Fangirl for Dave Holmes who sometimes hosted the show and would make me laugh over his excitement over Kevin Richardson’s eyebrows and one particularly enthusiastic Britney Spears back-up dancer. So when I heard Dave wrote a memoir I couldn’t wait to read it because his ...more
Jeff Raymond
So I feel like I completely missed the TRL era of MTV, at least in terms of when I watched MTV. The years of N'Sync, Britney, et al were sometime in high school for me, so Dave Holmes is a name I only kind of know. But a friend raved about this book, and so I grabbed it because I sometimes like books like this, and it just worked out really well.

The book follows Holmes as he grows up, goes to school (local to me, at that), gets to MTV, and all the stuff in between. As a gay man, he talks about h
August Norman
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fans of Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ben Folds Five’s Underground rejoice - Dave Holmes' memoir Party of One calls to anyone who's considered themselves an outsider, even in a room full of people.

While certainly the work delves into the author's time at MTV back when the M stood for music, the cringe-worthy jewels pulled from his everyday life are where he shines and pulls the occasional hard-earned tear. With the same driven, yet conversational, prose he uses in Esquire, Ho
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I've always liked Dave Holmes. Well, I guess not always? I was a young person of 13 when I first met him during the Wanna Be a VJ competition. God. I watched that like all weekend like many others. Then he was a VJ. I thought he was a dork/nerd while he was on MTV, but that was cool because it was different than the rest of them. Then years later I was like "wonder what ever happened to..." and I found out he was really cool. I followed his work via social media, podcasts, etc.

Anyways, this boo
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun book about being a particular kind of weirdo: a gay Catholic kid obsessed with pop culture, growing up in the 70s and 80s. Weirdly, I basically only know Dave Holmes from podcasts, even though the rest of the world knows him from MTV, and I've always found him funny and interesting. We are roughly contemporaries--so even though I had zero awareness of him when he was on MTV (I was in college and barely had access to television, let alone CABLE) and was not closely following pop mus ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
I’m old enough to remember Dave Holmes first and foremost as the guy who came in second, during MTV’s “Wanna be a VJ” contest (Anyone recall Jesse Camp?) There’s more to him, of course: comedian, Esquire contributor, and now book author. And a good one at that; I found his narrative to be really entertaining and poignant. It was great hearing about his experience during the MTV competition, especially as he was the “underdog”. His observation about the changing nature of the music network puts i ...more
Natalie Strong
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my God!! Please read this book so that you will also see the world as clearly and humorously as I now do... so that we can make eye contact across the room when a particular song comes on and wisely nod our heads because WE KNOW. This is the best good shit I have read in a while. It has infected my view of the world, and I don't want a cure.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. I didn't know who Dave Holmes was before I picked this book up (I grabbed it based on the subtitle since it was obvious music was involved), but I was pleasantly surprised to be able to read about his time on MTV. I really enjoyed his writing style and felt like he was just having a conversation with me.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dave Holmes' memoir is a wonderful read; its GenX coming-of-age timeline rhymed with my own life and coming-out in poignant, dryly hilarious and often funcomfortable ways. Particularly loved the audiobook, as Holmes' wit and charm come across in spades with a breezy conversational tone.
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, non-fiction, memoir
One of the best books I've read this year. Having grown up at the same time as Holmes, all of the music and pop culture references really resonated with me. So well written and engrossing.
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nostalgia party. Written for pop culture nerds, kids of the 90s, and outcasts of all types. Dave Holmes writes with such familiarity and wit, it's hard not to like him.
Hannah Spector
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The indigo girls anecdote is what earned this book a fourth star.
Matt Robinson
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this voraciously. The parts about growing up in the middle of the country weird, gay, and pop culture obsessed were intensely relatable. Like reading someone else's memories from my own life.
Funny and charming overall, with some skippable parts.
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Dave Holmes is a writer, comedian, and television personality who has hosted shows for MTV, CBS, Bravo, Comedy Central, E!, FX, and Ovation. Recently named one of NPR’s 10 Favorite Pop Culture Personalities, he is a editor-at-large for, an on-air personality on SiriusXM’s The Spectrum, and a performer at the iO West and Upright Citizens Brigade theaters . He lives in Los Angeles.


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