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Turn Around Bright Eyes : The Rituals of Love & Karaoke
by Rob Sheffield

Overview -

Once upon a time I was falling apart. Now I'm always falling in love.

Pick up the microphone.

When Rob Sheffield moved to New York City in the summer of 2001, he was a young widower trying to start a new life in a new town. Behind, in the past, was his life as a happily married rock critic, with a wife he adored, and a massive collection of mix tapes that captured their life together.  Read more...


 
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More About Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield
 
 
 
Overview

Once upon a time I was falling apart. Now I'm always falling in love.

Pick up the microphone.

When Rob Sheffield moved to New York City in the summer of 2001, he was a young widower trying to start a new life in a new town. Behind, in the past, was his life as a happily married rock critic, with a wife he adored, and a massive collection of mix tapes that captured their life together. And then, in a flash, all he had left were the tapes.

Beyonce, Bowie, Bon Jovi, Benatar . . .

One night, some friends dragged him to a karaoke bar in the West Village. A night out was a rare occasion for Rob back then.

Turn around

Somehow, that night in a karaoke bar turned into many nights, in many karaoke bars. Karaoke became a way out, a way to escape the past, a way to be someone else if only for the span of a three-minute song. Discovering the sublime ridiculousness of karaoke, despite the fact that he couldn't carry a tune, he began to find his voice.

Turn around

And then the unexpected happened. A voice on the radio got Rob's attention. The voice came attached to a woman who was unlike anyone he'd ever met before. A woman who could name every constellation in the sky, and every Depeche Mode B side. A woman who could belt out a mean Bonnie Tyler.

Bright Eyes

Turn Around Bright Eyes is an emotional journey of hilarity and heartbreak with a karaoke soundtrack. It's a story about finding the courage to move on, clearing your throat, and letting it rip. It's a story about navi- gating your way through adult romance. And it's a story about how songs get tangled up in our deepest emotions, evoking memories of the past while inspiring hope for the future.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062207623
  • ISBN-10: 0062207628
  • Publisher: It Books
  • Publish Date: August 2013
  • Page Count: 275


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Music > Genres & Styles - Rock
Books > Social Science > Popular Culture - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-07-01
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this hilariously affecting follow-up to his Love Is a Mix Tape and Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Rolling Stone writer Sheffield sings us through his journey to rebuild his life with the help of good lovin’ and a hot karaoke machine. After the untimely death of his first wife, a bereft Sheffield moves from Charlottesville, Va., to New York City, where he casts about the streets of lower Manhattan in search of meaning in life; eventually, he remembers the joys of staying out late and discovers the healing power of karaoke bars and clubs. Sheffield regales us with tales of a world unknown to most of us, but precious to the faithful: there’s J.J., the guy in Brooklyn who gets paid for singing karaoke, and the bar in the Mojave Desert where Sheffield croons Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” to group of stone-faced, die-hard Haggard fans. Through it all, Sheffield discovers that karaoke creates community that provides universal support for everyone who tries to sing the songs. He is also hopelessly “obsessed with karaoke because it lets me do the one thing I’ve craved every minute of my life.” It lets him sing. He also learns that karaoke is there to remind us that it’s never too late to let a song ruin your life by shaking you out of your emotional doldrums. Agent: Daniel Greenberg, Levine Greenberg Literary. (Aug.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Sing-along songs

Rob Sheffield’s first book, Love Is a Mix Tape, described his first marriage through the songs he and his wife shared, loved and fought over, and ended with her unexpected death from a pulmonary embolism. Turn Around Bright Eyes begins where that book ended, with Rob relocating from Virginia to New York and navigating out of grief and into adulthood via many late nights in karaoke bars.

Each chapter is titled with a song that’s a signpost on Rob’s journey. He attends “Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy” camp, and the band he’s assigned to plays the Bad Company song of the same name. (Sheffield confesses he can’t sing or play an instrument, and bruises his thighs mercilessly with a tambourine.) “Livin’ Thing” briefly mentions the ELO song, but is more about Sheffield adapting to living alone after marriage, then making his first forays out into the world of karaoke, his days measured out in microwave soy burgers, like a modern-day Prufrock.

Sheffield’s grief runs deep, but he learns to move on, one song at a time, and falls in love again, with an astrophysicist and fellow music geek. He tweaks a lyric from “Total Eclipse of the Heart” to sum up his story: “Once upon a time I was falling apart, now I’m always falling in love.” Pop music fans will love finding lyrics studded throughout the book like tiny Valentines. Anyone with a heart should find room in it for Turn Around Bright Eyes.

 
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