What a strange book this was. Even though it's a memoir, it kind of reminded me of MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION because of its tongue in cheek narrative and critical examination of what living in the U.S. during a post-9/11 society means for the population. But it's also more than that - it's the very strange journey of a violinist from the Appalachians joining a "fake" orchestra where she and the other musicians played in concert halls across the U.S. and China into dead microphones.
At first, I really enjoyed Jessica's journey. She chronicles her intro to music and her financial and social struggles through college. To separate the befores and afters, her misadventures with the concert and the infamous "Composer" are told in first person, and everything taking place in the past is told in second person. I liked her literary references and her cutting observations. I liked that she was able to make fun of herself and the ridiculous situation.
I think the problem was that I signed up for the memoir about her fake orchestra hijinks, and ended up with a lot of tangents that were at first amusing, but then quickly became exasperating. I was skimming fairly heavily by the end of the book, having grown bored by even her interactions with the Composer and the reluctant participants in his orchestra scam. I guess you could say that I've been spoiled when it comes to juicy scams; I've been watching too many refinery29 YouTubes and reading up on r/antiMLM threads.
This wasn't a bad book and it entertained me for a little while, but it wasn't the hilarious laugh-out-loud quirky experience that I was hoping for. I'm kind of surprised by all the hype, to be honest. It was just another bland memoir of someone trying and failing to make it in New York.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
2.5 out of 5 stars
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