Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: The Return by Brad Boney

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Music. Topher Manning rarely thinks about anything else, but his day job as a mechanic doesn't exactly mesh with his rock star ambitions. Unless he can find a way to unlock all the songs in his head, his band will soon be on the fast track to obscurity. 

Then the South by Southwest music festival and a broken-down car drop New York critic Stanton Porter into his life. Stanton offers Topher a ticket to the Bruce Springsteen concert, where a hesitant kiss and phantom vibrations from Topher’s cell phone kick off a love story that promises to transcend ordinary possibility.

There are two events unfolding here: past and present. Imagine two parallel lines: one begins on the summer of 1981, the other is 2013; one common character involved is Stanton. Both events gradually and seamlessly morphs into one: the present. To get to this point, is one of the most curious, intriguing and  romantic love stories I have ever read.  

I promised not to cry, honestly I did.

I failed.

Brad Boney said that he hesitated to write as his style was too theatrical and such. I took a risk reading his first book, The Nothingness of Ben. That risk was one taken and never regretted. There is no risk reading The Return. Knowing his style, his talent, it was not difficult to pick this up and read, enjoy, and fall in love.

There were some events that struck a chord. One that especially moved me involves Topher singing Bridge Over Troubled Water  which I have had included in my songlist. The way he sang it reminded me of of the way Art Garfunkle sang it in the Central Park Concert.

I could not help but cry at the thought of the friends Stanton and Marvin lost in the black days of HIV and AIDS. The scene where Topher receives a picture from Tyrese, one that immortally captured the youth and happy days of those four friends was particularly heartwrenching. Especially as we find out as we read along that this story is not just about Topher and Stanton, its about those four lost young men as well.

Then there is that Phantom Vibration Syndrome. Curiouser and curiouser. It only did this when thing went awry between the two men or when things were yet to be discovered.

And then he answered it.

I just about poured hot tea on my lap while I successfully burned my tongue.

This is what I loved about this book: just when I thought that things were normal, mundane and regular, the author throws me in for a loop. 

The Return is not just a hashtag, it is the return of things lost. Once found, Topher and Stanton only had to gain. The whole process of this discovery just about blows the mind.

I Love it. I Love it. I Love it. 

Thank you Brad Boney, you made me cry but you are now on my list of favorites. Love ya!

And yes, I finally got my breakfast.

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