Here at ThreadSence, we’re total art and culture junkies, and we love to share music and book recs (be sure to check out our summer reading list if you haven’t yet). So it seemed only natural then that we’d start a monthly TS book club, kicking off now!
Our first book club pick? “Sorta Like a Rockstar” by Matthew Quick, author of “Silver Linings Playbook”. I know, I know, it’s shelved in the Young Adult section; you’re probably thinking, why would I read this? Ask yourself, would I lead you astray? Have a little faith.
This coming of age story follows the engaging, quirky Amber Appleton who it’s impossible not to love (think “Juno” minus the teen pregnancy). I had my reservations– even though her relationship with “JC” and Catholicism is unconventional, and often hilarious, I wasn’t sure I would be able to connect or relate to her. But this book isn’t about religion, it’s about Amber’s ability to live with hope, resilience and inner strength in the face of difficulty and loss.
Amber is an eternal optimist who embraces being a “freak” despite being a social outcast at school and living in the back of a school bus with her alcoholic mother. While Amber brings a whole lotta heart to the book, much of the humor and entertainment comes from the amusing cast of characters in Amber’s life, including her dog B3 (whom she wildly dotes upon), her four best friends (social misfit boys who make up Franks Freak Force Federation Five), Father Chee and the Korean Divas for Christ, Private Jackson (a grumpy Zen recluse), and her pals at the retirement home, including crotchety, Nietzsche-spouting Joan.
But no one in Amber’s life knows that she is living on a school bus, until one awful night when tragedy strikes and she can’t keep it a secret any longer. Her life philosophy has been shattered, and as she attempts to make sense of something horrific, she goes from being the ultimate optimist to the ultimate pessimist. Sunk in grief, she stops going to school and refuses to leave her room. You will feel so emotionally invested in the question the book poses at this point: Can Amber regain the unshakeable optimism she seemed to possess before, or is optimism pointless in a meaningless world?
I have not been so moved by a book in ages…which is to say I tearfully blubbered my way through the last 20 pages. Amber’s story, through optimistic joy and unimaginable loss, manages to be authentic, painful, hilarious, and beautiful. If I had a money tree in my front yard, I’d buy out Barnes and Noble and send a copy to everyone I know. True? True.
Reading is sexy,