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Too Much, Too Late: A Novel Kindle Edition
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Together with guitarist Rudy Tunick, the only other Jewish boy in Dean, and Harry Vance, a brilliant vocalist, Sandy jams in his garage at the end of his high school days. His sole ambition is to become a rock star. Keith Richards, Winona Ryder, David Bowie and Davy Jones are rockers whom Sandy and his friends idolize. Realizing they need a fourth participant, an ad is placed for a bass player. Archie Funk --- Ritalin addict at 24, bass musician and owner of a gray 1969 VW bus --- rounds out the group. The second order of business is to find a name, one that can elicit idolatry and gain them immediate attention. Following an exhausting list of choices comes the final selection, Jane Ashers. Jane Asher is the English actress who inspired Paul McCartney to write "Here, There and Everywhere" and, more importantly, dated him. Sandy's band is christened the Jane Ashers, and they get to work on becoming a success.
Harry is the song-writing genius who inspires them with new stuff to practice and perfect. But his human side goes sideways when he meets and dates his inspiration, Debbie Andrews. The love of his life, she both motivates and seduces him. He writes "Let's Go Steady, Debbie" out of this infatuation. The lovebirds become a couple and Debbie involves herself with publicity for the band. From their performance at a backyard gig comes the possibility of opening for an established star, Liz Phair, in Cleveland. This could be their big chance, and they are ready to take it. A pregnant Debbie becomes the gigantic boulder in their road to stardom.
Fast-forward about 15 years to the Jane Ashers now blown about in the wind to varied career paths. Harry is part-owner of a hardware store. Rudy and Sandy have had odd-jobs for years and Archie dies of an overdose. Providence comes to Sandy in the person of a 16-year old punk rock enthusiast named Natalie Levine, who calls herself Motorrrju. She's a blogger who's infatuated with the now-defunct Jane Ashers. A revival of "Debbie" restarts their popularity on a grandiose scale.
Sandy's memories of the Jane Ashers' rise to success, failure and then success again is written best by the rocker himself. Spitz uses the vehicle of his drummer to brilliant advantage in the telling. Laced with true stores of real stars, Spitz's words are truth of his experience in the world of rock writing. While not everyone's genre, TOO MUCH, TOO LATE is a personal story relevant to success and failure in any business venture. Less impressed with the "star" personas depicted than their deeply personal issues, I read the novel with thirst for the unfolding drama of the Jane Ashers' rocky road to fame.
--- Reviewed by Judy Gigstad
Every other page drops band names or references certain albums or singers. I bet 100 are named through the book. That's kinda cool, yet gets kinda old too. There's drugs and young girls. Basically it's a fictional autobiography of a band that gets popular 15 years after they should have. Though I'm sure that's happened to some in real life.
I did enjoy this enough that I will check out his prior book "How Soon Is Never". Who doesn't love The Smiths right.
"How Soon Is Now", Marc Spitz's first novel, was impossible not to like. First of all, I grew up in a very similar nightmare town to the protagonist in Spitz's novel, and was similarly rescued from suburban misery by the beautiful, brilliant band The Smiths. Secondly, I had a similar drug foray to the protagonist (although enjoyed the drug much more, apparently). The depiction of post-post-college disillusionment, the realization that the music which once saved you can eventually break your heart, and the realization that the current zeitgeist is utter crap all combined to create a very relateable read, despite the fact that Spitz's protagonist is male and straight and I am a queer girl. That is the power of good fiction--to be relateable despite mundane differences that the larger world blows up disproportionately. Because of my love of his first novel, I was very excited to read this book. I was gravely disappointed. Aging male rock stars, sycophantic talentless females reduced to nothing more than wives, muses, and cataloguers of male greatness. Creative, tormented men with drug problems, one-dimensional blithe females. Either the author hasn't met any interesting three dimensional (or even two dimensional) females--particularly those who know how to play an instrument--or else he just couldn't care less if anyone other than solipsistic aged male hipsters lost in a fantasy of cookie-cutter twits reads his novel. Given that this seems to be the dominant personalities one runs across these days, I probably shouldn't blame the author too much. In addition, given the youth-obsessed lameness of popular culture these days, one also doubts if the plotline is even possible. In any event, I couldn't help wanting the narrator to fail, and every female in this book to be sucked back into some lame chick-lit title ("My Shoe Addiction", "Aching for Mister Right", "The Manolo Blahnik Club", "I'm A Stupid Twit"--OK, I made up the last title. No, wait, I made up all the titles!) where they belong. I would have expected better from a fan of Morrissey's gender-subversive lyrics.
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