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What did you love best about The Love Song of Jonny Valentine?
I was reluctant to try this one--the subject didn't thrill me--but a NYT book review convinced me to take a chance and I'm so glad I did. Writing from the point of view of a fictional Justin Bieber-type tween idol, the author is able to gleefully skewer the entertainment industry at every turn (his take on music reviewers had me laughing out loud) while still managing to make you care--very much-- about everyone involved.
What other book might you compare The Love Song of Jonny Valentine to and why?
I also recently listened to A Hologram for the King and The Financial Lives of poets, both of which, like Jonny V, were excellently crafted and well-narrated fictionalized commentaries on contemporary life.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
While Jonny is pretty easy to love, I found the portrayal of his mother to be unexpectedly moving. There's a lot to dislike about her (and her real-life counterparts), but as her flaws and circumstances are revealed, it's hard not to admire her initiative and innate business sense.
Any additional comments?
If you're looking for enjoyable/listenable well-written contemporary fiction, I highly recommend this one.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Jonny Valentine is an amazing creation, an 11-year-old pop superstar with a combination of naivete, ambition, sincerity and street smarts--at least about the music business and what it takes to be successful. Teddy Wayne has created a deeply sympathetic character, a boy genius (in his field) surrounded by grown-up handlers who themselves have mixed emotions and motivations, using Jonny while also trying to help him grow. There are touching moments where Jonny's loneliness on his American tour comes through, but also laugh-out-loud moments. Some of the most moving scenes involve Jonny's interactions with kids around his own age, a childhood friend, a budding female singer that could be Jonny's first crush.
After a while, Jonny began to remind me of Huck Finn, another lonely kid traveling the country, trying to handle the world on his own and dealing with manipulative and often selfish adults with humor and increasing maturity. But Huck didn't have video games to distract him.
The narrator has just the right tone, conveying Jonny's longings and his youthful innocence. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its narration.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful