This excellent memoir, weaving together a second-generation immigrant perspective and the discovery of pop music, by a renowned music writer, has just come out in paperback, so I reviewed it for Shiny New Books and my review came out this week.

I was a bit more formal in my Shiny review of course, but the two things that captivated me were that I and the author are of almost exactly the same vintage (he is a couple of years older than me), and so the music he experienced that’s such a vital part of the book was woven into my life at the same stages, and he grew up a couple of suburbs along from where I live now, and mentioned many places I know well from my two sojourns in South Birmingham. I got rather too excited when he went past my good friend Ali’s house, in effect, and it was lovely reading about Acocks Green, Olton and Yardley in the time before I arrived in the area.

Here’s part of what I wrote about it:

It’s more than just music and cultural struggles. We open with Paphides’ couple of years of elective muteness (resolved very movingly) and his struggles with anxiety – and more and more things to be anxious about are added as we move through the years. He seeks refuge in music, very sweetly auditioning members of bands to be his replacement parents if, as he expects, his tire of him. His friends are important to him, and the friendships detailed beautifully, and, while he gets unwillingly sucked into an almost-gang and a few exploits he’s embarrassed about, the ending, with an epic journey and an inevitable, inescapable event is a tribute to friendship and the love of your found family as well as your birth family. 

Read my full review here. The book was my own.