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May 3, 2018

Beautiful Music by Michael Zadoorian ~ A Review

by Susan Roberts

Every once in awhile, a book comes along that makes you happy as you read it. This new novel by Michael Zadoorian was that book for me. It's a fantastically written coming-of-age story by the author of The Leisure Seeker but it's also a book full of musical references and took my memory back to happy times in my youth when I listened to the same music. An added plus for me is that the book takes place in Detroit, where I grew up and there were numerous references to people and places that I have forgotten over the years. Even if you aren't from Detroit, Beautiful Music is still a fantastic book that needs to be added 'to your to be read' list.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Beautiful Music
May 2017; Akashic Books; 978-1617756177
audio, ebook, print (340 pages); coming of age
Beautiful Music is set in Detroit in the early 70s, several years after the Detroit riots as the city is still trying to deal with racial unrest. Danny is just getting ready to start high school and is very nervous about it.  He is a loner, often picked on and hides in music to handle high school and his very dysfunctional family. After Danny's dad dies unexpectedly, his mom becomes hooked on alcohol and Valium and his family life is only held together because he takes care of his mom. When he is young, he starts out listening to pop music with lots of orchestra music with his dad. As he gets older, he discovers rock and roll and the music is what he lives for. When he is buried in his music, he can forget the world around him. It also helps him make friends and grow into a normal high school student.

Back in this time, radio and record albums were the only way to listen to music. DJs on the radio were superstars and everyone listened to what they had to say - they could make or break the popularity of a record album.

This is a wonderful nostalgic coming of age story - with the help of lots of music and for readers of a certain age, it will bring back plenty of memories. I highly recommend this book to any age!

Buy Beautiful Music at Amazon

The Leisure Seeker
Jan 2009; William Morrow; 9780061671784
audio, ebook, print (288 pages); humor
I also really enjoyed this author's last book, The Leisure Seeker.  Here is my recent review:

This was such a wonderful book full of beautiful writing that I'm not sure a movie can do it justice. One of the main differences is that in the book, the two main characters escape from their home in Detroit and take a road trip to Disneyland, following Route 66 as much as possible.

Ella and John are in their 80s, they have been married for over 60 years and both have end-of-life health problems - John has Alzheimer's and Ella has cancer. Ella feels that they need one more camping trip together so they sneak away from their home in Detroit, their two concerned children and their doctors and take a road trip. As they travel, John often has no clue where they are or who Ella is. Ella is fighting constant pain but feels the need to forge ahead and make it to the Pacific. Does this sound depressing? Believe me, it's anything but depressing. It's thoughtful and funny and fantastically entertaining. Ella tells the story and she is so funny that there were parts of the story that made me laugh out loud. She also made many observations that really made me think about life will be like in those final years.

“Why does the world have to destroy anything that doesn't fit in? We still can’t figure out this is the most important reason to love something.”

“Anyone who never met a man he didn't like just isn't trying hard enough.”

“After a while, just staying alive becomes a full-time job. No wonder we need a vacation.”

This is a wonderful, well-written book about the final road trip of an elderly couple who want to be together and having fun until the end. It proves that when it comes to life, you can go back for seconds—even when everyone says you can't.

Buy The Leisure Seeker at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads,  or Twitter

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