Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Review: The Song Remains the Same

I don't really like wandering the stacks of audio books looking for my next book to listen to while exercising in the morning. I would far rather see something interesting and then request the book in audio form when available (my next is an unexpected Maeve Binchy book, which I definitely am looking forward to). But, when I finished my last audio book, I had nothing already out from the library to turn to. I attempted a book I had picked up at the library's book sale, called Any Place I Hang My Hat, by Susan Isaacs, which Oprah's magazine apparently called "well-written, very funny, and incredibly smart." I couldn't stick with it (only listened to it for one exercise session of about forty minutes). So, this selection was one that I really just stumbled upon with no prior knowledge of the book. It wasn't one I felt hooked into reading, but rather just one to bide the time and as far as that goes, it fit the bill.

Allison Winn Scotch's The Song Remains the Same tells the tale of a woman who wakes from a plane crash to find that she has lost her memory. She must piece together who she was and who she is going to be with the assistance of her mother, her sister, and her husband. But, can she really trust what they are telling her? She discovers that she was estranged from her husband, has just lost his baby, was alienated from her sister, and has been lied to by her mother. It is a rather long process sorting through what is true and what is not. Plus, she must grapple with the seminal question of whether a person can change or will always be who they are. She longs for a new, better "me," but doesn't quite know how to get there and is at the mercy of so many others to piece together how she will respond to the elements of her life only slowly being exposed.

It held my interest. The idea of establishing a new version of oneself was an interesting thought to contemplate. I found myself wondering what things I would change about myself if I were reinventing my self-image. But, at times, this concept was hammered a little too hard. Yes, the song remains the same, despite our efforts to change things. In the end, you are left with a little of both - a chance to redefine, as well as an inability to really be any different than what you are or where you came from.

There were constant references to music, but none I could really relate to. If rock music is your thing, then this book might appeal to you. The title references a song by Led Zeppelin, but when I looked up the lyrics I found them to be a bit inane and nonsensical. The main character is named after the woman in the song "Eleanor Rigby," dubbed "the loneliest woman in the world." I thought those associations were interesting to contemplate ... how a name can define a person. And if you were named for a place or a character, could you ever really pull away from it and define yourself separately from the intended reference. For example, my nephew's middle name is a made up name from the terms "obey God, honor God." Does he feel any sense of burden to live up to the name or is it really something that ends up being true of him without prior knowledge of the appropriateness of the selection? Interesting. So, I guess the book did get me thinking, even if it was just an okay read.

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