Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield

A couple weeks ago I finished Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield’s Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time (wikiepdia). The premise is Rob’s life, especially the part concerning his now-late wife, Renee, framed in terms of mixtapes.

I like mixtapes [1] and I like indie rock. That’s why I was interested. I read a few pages in a bookstore and liked the style and picked it up.

Each chapter of the book is titled after and features the track-listing of a mixtape Rob has (usually that he’s made, but some that others made for him) and the mixtape works itself into the chapter somehow. There’s a great story of father-son time early on in which Rob and his dad spend an afternoon making a 90 minute version of “Hey Jude” by simply looping the “na na na” section (pause on the tape player, move the needle back).

It has some great writing about music in the early chapters and throughout, much of it about early 90s indie rock.

But the story quickly gets to Renee, another rabid music fan and the woman that Rob ends up marrying and eventually, watches die. Dealing with her death is, as you might expect, a big part of this book. Most of the rest of the book is dealing with her death, with mix tapes at hand. It’s a pretty emotional and sentimental book.

I didn’t really know this part of the story when I picked up the book and while I liked the book, I was expecting a much more light-hearted book.

One complaint of mine is that the turning point, the climax of the story, I suppose, seems almost silly. I mean, it involves a little person and a sombrero. It feels like a bit of let down and the denouement comes very quickly after that. On the one hand, it’s the guy’s life, so how else is he supposed to write about it; on the other hand, he chose to tell this story including this climax.

Still it was a fast, enjoyable and affecting[2] read.

[1] One word, despite what Firefox’s spell checker and Rob Sheffield seem to think–in my book at least.

[2] I’m usually okay with grammar. I know the difference between will and shall and when to use each, the difference between which and that, but effect/ affect is one that I don’t have a grasp on. Anyone?



One Response to “Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield”

  1. libs says:

    On grammar: ‘effect’ is a noun. ‘affect’ is a verb. You have properly used ‘affecting’ as an adjective (gerundive.)

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