Life is hard for a struggling young artist. The arts aren’t a real industry, in a lot of peoples’ minds. When you introduce yourself as a writer working as a security guard or a paralegal for the time being, people generally just shake their heads. Actually, people are fairly polite. They usually say that’s really cool while secretly being thankful they don’t have to depend on you for anything. Matthew Keville is one such writer. He self-published his first novel one year ago, and, as is the case with so many self-published works, it hasn’t gotten nearly the amount of attention it deserves. Let’s do what we can to fix that, hmm?
The Truth of Rock and Roll is an astoundingly good novel. It has a unique, yet still familiar premise. It begins with a young man who doesn’t want to go to business school arguing on the phone with his father. After the conversation, a middle-aged man approaches him and begins to talk. The young man stays and listens (against his better instincts) and is treated to a story about youth, love, rebellion, small town prejudice, courage and the magic of rock and roll, which in this story is not just a figure of speech. Rock and roll is literally magical.
The Truth of Rock and Roll is not a long book, nor is it an intensely intellectual read. It can be easily devoured in an hour. Devoured is the right word for how one should read this book though. Keville recently began releasing it in serialized form on his blog in an attempt to simply reach more readers. After just the first section I wanted to buy the book. After the fourth I needed to buy it. The characters had quickly become my friends, people I cared about and wanted to win. I couldn’t escape the story, or the world. It’s the world I want for myself, where life is magic and love conquers all, though not without some serious annoyance along the way. Keville shows his skill in telling a wonderfully cheesy tale while making it new enough and good enough that you don’t care if it’s cheesy or a little old hash.
It’s possible this book appealed to me so much because I grew up in a small town and know all too well the kinds of trials and prejudice Johnny and Jenny (what else would our rock and roll lovebirds be named?) come up against. He’s a rich boy, she’s just white trash from the wrong side of the tracks. It’s the same in Footloose and Grease and The Notebook and thousands of other stories. Yet The Truth of Rock and Roll brings something these other stories don’t. For one, it starts with an old man telling how he threw it all away. It is a testament to Keville’s skill at storytelling that when he gets to the part where Johnny rejects the rock and roll angel (yes, there’s really, seriously a rock and roll angel, and it’s just as awesome as it’s possible to be) we feel cheated. Keville anticipates this perfectly with our young man listener/narrator who interrupts, “You did what?” only to be met with “Hey, kid, I told you early on.” He is correct, but it only serves to make this departure from the standard tale more frustrating. That is not to say it makes it bad. In fact, the story is all the more poignant for it.
The Truth About Rock and Roll is a message to anyone who has ever had a dream, “it’s about rockin’, not remembering.” You don’t have to be a writer, an artist, or a rock and roller to appreciate the message. Dreams are worth fighting for.
Matthew Keville is fighting for his dreams with his book. As all authors he is concerned about the sales of his book, but moreso that people simply read it. To that end, he is releasing the whole thing on his blog, in serialized form, for free. It’s definitely worth a look.
I always recommend the books I review. You may understand the reason for this in different ways, but the fact is if I’m going to spend my time reading, reviewing and promoting a book, you can be damn sure I feel it’s worth it. This book is different though. I don’t just want to recommend it, I want to ask you to buy it. It’s $2.99 on Amazon, and it’s worth every penny and more. It is a book that can, and should, change your life. I think that’s worth supporting.
Matthew Keville’s blog is here: http://horizondream.wordpress.com
The free version of The Truth of Rock and Roll starts here: Forward
The book is brand new up on Goodreads.
Also, go like his Facebook page. It doesn’t cost anything and it might save your soul.