May 18 2007
Dear Ms. Holcomb:
There were many other bloggers who enjoyed Rock Star, but I admit the blurb put me off. I think that there is some bias that movie stars, athletes, and rock stars are incapable of fidelity and therefore a happy ever after. I was convinced at the end of the story that the hero Rock Star and the heroine bookseller would live happily ever after. The writing was good enough to overcome that bias.
Bryan Spencer, front for hard rock band Storm Crow, has fled LA after bandmate and best friend killed himself in a drug overdose. Bryan has fallen apart and he’s in a small town Alabama to pick up the pieces.
Callie is co owner for a small independent bookstore in Maple Forks. She has a five year plan to become the Jo-Beth of the south. (This was a little hard for me to swallow given the current state of indy bookselling today). When Bryan Spencer walks in to buy a few science fiction books, she doesn’t immediately recognize him until she sees a cover of a magazine with his picture on it.
Bryan is intrigued by Callie from the first and begins to pursue her in a quiet, old fashioned way. They would go on trips together. He would spend time in the bookstore. They ate lunch at a local dive. He continues to flirt and charm his way into Callie’s life until Callie gives in. Dating a rock star opens your life up to public inspection and Callie has to decide whether loving a rock star is worth it.
The emotional elements and the characterizations were the strongest part of the books. Even small characters like Callie’s mom or the wife of Bryan’s manager were vibrant. I believed that Bryan had fallen for Callie and that he could remain true to her. He had been in the business for so long now that easy sex wasn’t what he wanted out of life. It was also believable that Callie would be reluctant to fall for Bryan whose past life seemed riddled with scandal, drugs and sex.
The challenge I had was with other technical issues which made reading this book a chore at times. The pacing was very slow. I never felt compelled to turn a page as we meandered from one scene to the next. There were long detail conversations between Callie and Bryan, both at the bookstore and elsewhere. It seemed like they talked, ate, talked, ate some more. In between, there would be long bouts of exposition.
You had a great deal of detail about Maple Forks, the denizens, the southern football tradition and so forth but many times it seemed as if one of the characters was giving a history lesson rather than having it effortlessly flow within the story.
There were head hopping issues where you provided points of view from random characters without a clear delineation in the text as to who was narrating what scene. I tend to get tired of reading other character’s exposition about their own actions rather than focusing on the main protagonists.
One character’s betrayal at the end rang very false. It appeared internally inconsistent and seemed to be the best way you could find to insert the issues of interracial dating between a rock star and a nobody.
Despite the technical issues, I really loved the heroine, Callie, and her determination to not fall in love with the rock star. Then when she did fall, she jumped in with her whole heart, and when she was hurt, she suffered but got back on her feet to fight back. I did believe in the happy ever after. It just took a long while to get there. C