Monday, April 25, 2016

Start With The Backbeat - #ItsRainingBooks Review

TITLE: Start With The Backbeat
AUTHOR: Garine B. Isassi
PUBLISHER: She Writes Press
PUBLISHING DATE: April 5, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: It is the spring of 1989 in New York City when Jill Dodge, a post-punk rocker from Texas, finally gets her big promotion at Mega Big Records. She is thrust into a race to find a gritty, urban rapper before the Gangsta trend passes their label by. As Jill and her mostly middle-class coworkers search for the next big rap star, they fluctuate between alliances and rivalries, tripping over the stereotypes of race, class, and musical genre. They work to promote their current roster of acts as well as the new rap artist they sign to a contract. It turns out, he may not be what they expected. Full of original lyrics and wit, "Start With the Backbeat" is a compelling examination of the nuances of class, race, and culture in America which are sometimes ridiculously serious."

I have always loved music and used to collect tons of CD's. Now that so much is digital, I've lost count of how much I actually own, but besides my family and reading, music ranks right up there with my favorite things in life. Add that to the fact that I have been reading so much darker material right now and I figured it was time for a break so picking up "Start with the Backbeat" was a no-brainer.

The story takes place in the early 80's in New York City. Jill moved from Texas two years ago to make her big break in the music business and finally has her chance. Recently promoted, she is assigned to the task of finding the next big rapper, since "gangsta" rap is just taking off. Not an easy task for a white, punk-rock Texan. Along her journey, Jill is joined by an eclectic group of coworkers, a crappy boyfriend, and some interesting struggling artists.

There are quite a few things I enjoyed about this book besides the music element and the 80's setting. "Start with the Backbeat" has one of the most diverse cast of characters I have seen in the past six months. In addition, most of them are pretty relatable and are experiencing real life problems. I really liked Jill and wanted her to succeed throughout the novel, but also enjoyed her flaws. This book not only focuses on the music world, but also tackles issues surrounding friendship, relationships and culture/diversity/stereotyping.

My only real problem with the book may be credited to reading an advanced ebook. There are parts of the book which are lyrics being composed by the artists the reader encounters. There is little distinction between where these lyric begin and they need to be separated better. However, like I said, this could just be a formatting problem and I am interested in seeing/hearing how it plays out in the physical copy.

While the book isn't anything I would categorize as "earth-shattering," it is a really cute, enjoyable read and I am glad I picked it up. Anyone who enjoys music, the music industry or the 80's would more than likely find something about it to like. In addition, if you are looking for a book with diverse characters, this definitely fits the bill.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Book Sparks in conjunction with their "It's Raining Books" blog tour in exchange for an honest review.


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