Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield

This book has been in my 'to-read' queue for a very, very long time. I used to see Rob Sheffield on all of those awesome VH1 specials like 'I Love the 80's/90's' and the top songs of decades better than this one. Then, randomly, I was in the mood to read something full of music and a little bit of romance, something similar to Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and decided the time was now.

Sheffield starts off each chapter with a mix tape track list. The very first mix, one he made in 1993 kicks of the prologue-esque lead in to the book. The next mix? 'Hey Jude' by the Beatles on loop for ninety minutes. Sheffield starts off explaining where his love of mix tapes grew, and all of the different kinds of occasions where a mix tape is needed and appropriate (basically every occasion.) The tapes pick up more and more meaning, especially when he meets his wife, Renee, and then even more so when she reaches her untimely death. Each tape is not just there to display his favorite songs of the time, they're there to tell a story of his growing pains, love, and grief.

The prose between each mix is funny, charming, and heart-wrenching. Within the first couple of pages, the reader knows where the story is going to end up, but that doesn't stop us from reading every story Sheffield had to share that got us to his final moments with Renee and the grief that follows afterwards. I did think that he relied a little too much on quirky descriptors. Renee is described as an Appalachian-girl several times, and at first it gave me a sense of geography and a personality type, but near the fourth time I felt I got the point. However, even though some of her quirks got a little played out, Sheffield really makes us fall for Renee as much as he did. She was unique! Crafty! Talented! Funny!

This book was everything I needed it to be: funny, cute, loaded with (awesome) music, and some heartbreak for good measure. I will definitely be picking up Sheffield's other book sometime in the near future.

Rating: 4 / 5

Have you ever made a mix tape? What were some songs on your favorite one? Or, has anyone read this book? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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