Rock & Roll Heart: By Chris Walter, 245 pgs. By Bryan Static

Aug 31, 2008

Everything about this book tells me I should hate it. A majority of the characters can all be lumped under the category of “asshole,” typos are everywhere, and the moral of the story seems to be “stab your friends in the back to get what you want.” Yet, I found this book to be an enjoyable read.

The novel follows the adventures of the brand new Canadian punk rock sensation Drug Of Choice as they rise and fall on a rollercoaster of emotions and drama. Drug Of Choice is made up of the Johnny Ramone-esque Danny, his girlfriend Donna, Danny’s asshole brother Angel, a seemingly white collar pot dealer named Lucky and Tish, who loves Motörhead. Chris Walter knows what he’s doing with plot, all the events seemed to flow smoothly, and, at several points, I actually thought the words “what’s going to happen next?” However, where he excels in storytelling, he lacks in keeping his thoughts straight.

You see, the novel is told in a rotating first-person narrative. Every chapter, the narrator changes, mostly staying within the members of Drug Of Choice. During several times in the book, characters will talk about themselves in third person about the actions they are doing at that time. The strangest part was when Tish, who we are told several times is anti-drinking, takes a casual chug of her beer.

The main characters themselves are all a bunch of jerks. Danny is a control freak, Donna is full of lust for Angel, and Angel is an addict who pisses on the audience (literally). Tish and Lucky only seem to be assholes to each other in their weird, broken two-sided love triangle.

Thinking about it, isn’t this what punk is all about? Showing something primitive and ugly and showing it off in all its hideous glory? If that is what he’s aiming for, he did a great job. Though the book has its flaws, a good story is a good story. I give this book the Bryan Static Seal of Approval. –Bryan Static (GFY Press, #34-2320 Woodland Dr., Vancouver, BCV5N 3P2, www.punkbooks.com)

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