Review: Adios, Nirvana

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Adios, NirvanaAdios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on October 25, 2010
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: ALA

 When you piss off a bridge into a snowstorm, it feels like you’re connecting with eternal things. Paying homage to something or someone. But who? The Druids? Walt Whitman? No, I pay homage to one person only, my brother, my twin.
In life. In death.
   Since the death of his brother, Jonathan’s been losing his grip on reality. Last year’s Best Young Poet and gifted guitarist is now Taft High School’s resident tortured artist, when he bothers to show up. He's on track to repeat eleventh grade, but his English teacher, his principal, and his crew of Thicks (who refuse to be seniors without him) won’t sit back and let him fail.

From the first few pages, I thought I would have to force myself to get through this book. I hated those pages and wanted nothing to do with the story following. I would summarize them thus: Boy depressed by the passing of brother gets drunk with friends. Boy pees over the edge of a ledge twenty feet up. Boy vomits epically and descriptively. Boy falls, mostly non-accidentally, off of the ledge and into the puke. This is, in my opinion, not an excellent start to a book or anything I am particularly into reading. Having continued though, I was rewarded for my perseverance.

This is not to say that this book is one that I will keep in my personal collection or probably ever read again. But it definitely had its moments and had a few fantastic quotes. More than that though, it had heart and passion. The descriptions of poetry, of the writing process and of music are unbeatable. Wesselhoeft really makes the reader feel the creative juices flowing and get really into those moments. The best parts of this book, the most engaging, are the scenes where very little is actually happening, the moments of contemplation and quiet, frenzied creation.

For all rock music fans and poets, Adios, Nirvana is definitely worth reading. It comes out tomorrow, so go give it a try!

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