Coming Home
by Laurie Breton, contemporary (2000)
Neighborhood Press, $12.99, ISBN 189310851-1


Embarrassing confession: I have watched the 1983 rock-and-roll movie Eddie And The Cruisers five times (the 1989 sequel sucks though, no matter how cute Michael Paré can be).

Coming Home reminds me of that movie, not because the story is similar, but like that movie, it chronicles the life in the tumultuous world of the music industry. This story is about a woman's rise in the music business and her love life in that biz and out of it. There's plenty of drama, from the rise to the sags in the middle of the journey, the heartaches, the joys, et cetera.

The heroine is Casey Bradley. She marries her young sweetheart Danny Fiore, who is an aspiring singer. She writes the songs and music that bring out the best from Danny's vocals, and they dream big. Soon, they move to New York, where Danny soon becomes the lead singer of a hot band. Things get bumpy. Meanwhile, Rob MacKenzie, their best buddy and guitarist of the band, becomes Casey's writing partner. He's their best friend.

Then Tragedy occurs, leaving Casey and Rob, who until now just can't get the marriage thing right at all, to do something about their chemistry.

This story is divided into four parts, or "books", and the thing is, the characters never really come to life for me until Book Three. Books One and Two are very busy chapters, but they never really let me know the characters. It's like watching strangers dash past me day after day, or maybe it's like me reading the autobiography of someone I don't know or care about. So Danny, Rob, and Casey achieve superstardom. A weak yay. So what's for dinner?

Book Three, where the Drama and Tragedies start to happen, are where the good things start to take place. The author slows down to tell me what the characters think, what motivate them, and what make them tick. Just when I am starting to care for Danny and Casey, the author has to create a Tragedy. The character development is a double-edged sword. On one other, I'm glad I care for them. On the other hand, it's easier to read about Tragedies featuring cardboards than characters that I care. Still, it's good that there's character development.

At the end of the day, Books One and Two would warrant a rating of 74, Books Three and Four 86. Round that up and Coming Home gets an average score of 80. It's a very good read towards the end, and I wish the author has sustained that pace throughout.

And one more thing - the cover? Can I say two things? One, even if I take into account perspective, where the artwork fails to convey, the house will still be too small to actually be a, you know, real house as opposed to a lavishly-built kennel for a dog. Two, I don't know how late it was when the artist did the cover, but there is light coming from three different directions - five, six, and seven o'clock. I don't think this story takes place on an alternate Earth where there are three suns in the sky... right?


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