Rainy Day Kids
Publication Date: Jan 8, 2013
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Days blur into nights. Dull, warm sunsets become hazy, fuzzy sunrises. Los Angeles begins to disappear into a pharmaceutical haze. And I go with it. Sometimes I even admit that I’m sort of enjoying all this. This is what I am supposed to be doing, after all.
This emotional novel chronicles the ups and downs of the life of a member of an up-and-coming band as he tries to sort through his dysfunctional love life, the temptations of stardom, and his place in the world. As he struggles with heartache, disappointment, disillusionment, and a drug addiction, he wavers between determination to continue in the band and hopelessness and despair which leads to suicide attempts. As you can tell, this is not a happy novel.
The writing of this novel was very lyrical, with a poetic rhythm and some really poignant descriptions that the reader could really empathize with. He captures all of the tumult of a first love — from the initial flutters of affection, to the rollercoaster break-up-and-make-up cycles, to finally the exhausted, crushing admission that it’s never going to work out. The characters were all very realistic and well-developed, with their own idiosyncratic personality flaws.
Despite the more-interesting-than-average characters, it struck me over and over again that I couldn’t really tell what the point of this book was. I kept waiting for some sort of revelation that made me go, “Oh… so that’s why he’s writing this… to let people know [something deep and meaningful],” but I never came to that point. At one time, the narrator went on a tirade about his doubts of God’s existence and he prayed for God to show Himself to him. )Finally, I thought… maybe this book is actually going to have a point to it!) But, the narrator suffered yet another disappointment and fell even further into a pit of despair and nihilism. In the last twenty chapters, a major event takes place (I won’t ruin it) and once again I get my hopes up that finally here will be the big revelation, the message that the author wants us to take away about all of the narrator’s aimless, drug-hazed, heartbroken life! And once again, I was disappointed. He is still just as bitter, just as lost, just as obsessed with “Her” as when he started out. He ends the novel still in essentially the same place as he began it. There was the recurring theme of control and the fight to control his life and finally letting go of control, and maybe this was the life-changing revelation that I was supposed to glean from this novel, but even that was a foggy concept at best.
Also, if you’re expecting a “what’s it really like to hit it big?” story (like I was), you may be disappointed. A modern, darker version of “That Thing You Do!” this is NOT. It really is more about an individual’s personal struggles than that of a band.
Heads up: This book contain a LOT of swearing, sleeping around, and drug use.
Overall: If you’re the kind of person that likes to pull out a depressing book on a rainy day and lose yourself in other people’s messed-up lives, this may be a book for you.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book!