Tuesday, July 26, 2011

[Review] Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee

Title: Somebody Everybody Listens To {goodreads}
Authors: Suzanne Supplee
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 09/06/11 (US PB)
Publisher: Penguin (Speak)
RRP: $8.99 (US)
Source: Bought
Age: 12+ Clean
Pages: 280
My Rating:

Retta Lee Jones is blessed with a beautiful voice and has big dreams of leaving her tiny Tennessee hometown. So with a beaten-down car, a pocketful of hard-earned waitressing money, and stars in her eyes, Retta sets out to make it big in Nashville. But the road to success isn't a smooth one, and a girl's gotta figure out who she can trust in a town full of showmen and scammers. Soon Retta begins to have doubts: Can she make her mark and still stay true to herself?
My thoughts: 

I have a fairly good feeling that if I had read this back in year 10, when dreams of my own endeavour were flying off the walls, I would have simply adored this book. SOMEBODY EVERYBODY LISTENS TO is about dreams, and how even in the face of personal/financial issues, those with the will and strength to power on will prevail, at the least to an extent.

Retta Jones has lived in her small town Starling in Tennesee her whole life. And ever since she could remember all she's ever wanted to do is sing. After she graduates high school, she's in such a mad rush to get out there to Nashville to live out her country music dreams. However, the road to stardom is much bumpier than it at first appeared. First she needs to find a way to get there, as in, a car. Then she needs to find a job to earn money in order to facilitate her ambitions. When things finally start looking up, she's needed back at home...

Retta has a genuine, great voice. She isn't overly confident or cocky about her singing, she knows how tough it would be to make it big in the music industry; her passion for singing shines through, as does her natural ability to string together the events going around her into these beautiful lines of poetic lyrics.

Supplee is evidently a huge country music fan and enthusiast, and it REALLY shows in her book. Retta's experiences are incredibly realistic and detailed, as well as humorous! I couldn't help but chuckle at the horrible situations that Retta got herself into.

The prose isn't all that special, but it did read pretty quickly. The thing that really stood out (which I shouldn't need to mention again but will, to prove a point) were those lyrics that Retta wrote.

The pull of home will always be here.
Running fast or running slow.
It's the place to get away from, the place I long to go.
I can hear it in the treetops, feel it whispering against my skin.
It's the air I breathe, the way I am.
Home is my beginning and my end.

(p. 188)
The novel has a clear focus right from the beginning: Retta dreams of becoming a recognised country musician. But the world around Retta is shifting - at home and in Nashville. I love the connections that Retta makes with those around her at home. It all just felt so . . . genuine.

What some people may be wondering is ANY ROMANCE? Sadly, I have to tell you that there is hardly any. Retta has a crush on a guy, but there is never much development with it. Though I do wish there had been something more definitive with their relationship, I found the absence of a romance okay. Instead of having all the drama that a new relationship would involve, Supplee chose to let us focus most of her dreams. I felt that a romance may have gone one way or the other - flat (as in, just a happy ending fluff thing) or completely dramatic (which I would have not liked), so I guess this book is one exception where having no romance was perhaps good? Opinions?

Fans of country music will want to read this. Even as a part-time country music listener I enjoyed reading the little biographies of some of the BIG country music stars. A fun, quick read that may inspire people to follow their dreams; if things go wrong, imagine how interesting the story leading up your Big Break will be!


* cheapest Australian e-store price



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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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