Saturday, October 12, 2013

Book Review: Turn Around Bright Eyes

Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield is his tale of love and karaoke. If you enjoy music, especially tunes on a jukebox or ones you sing real loud to in the car or your shower, then you'll laugh at lines in this book. Rob moved to New York City in 2001, young but newly widowed and at a loss as to what to do with his life. Friends dragged him to a karaoke bar, and there he found escape. "Discovering the sublime ridiculousness of karaoke, despite the fact that he couldn't carry a tune, he began to find his voice." (cover blurb).

Then one day, he heard a woman's voice on the radio, and had to meet her. Turns out she could argue about every rock band (Rob's a writer for Rolling Stone, and other music critic journals), and could sing Bonnie Tyler tunes. It was love with a happy ending, and a singing partner to boot. Sheffield's humor shines through as well as his descriptions of being a good husband, but a horrible boyfriend. His dating scene stories are funny, and his references to songs both good and bad are hysterical.

Opening line of the book: "Once upon a time I was falling apart. Now I'm always falling in love."

By "now" he means Saturday night and the karaoke bar scene. "Either way, we always come here for a fix of that transcendent experience we can only get from singing."

Sheffield discusses Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond, et al amidst his life story. And karaoke at the senior center with his folks is taken very seriously. All in all, Turn Around Bright Eyes is a fun, breezy read that has you digging out old CDs to listen to in your car. C'mon, we all have guilty pleasure tunes.

"At any moment a song can come out of nowhere to shake you up, jump-start your emotions, ruin your life. It's never too late to let a song ruin your life." (p. 269)

Hum along and enjoy this memoir.