Sunday, January 30, 2011

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Title: Five Flavors of Dumb
Author: Antony John

Release Date: 1st November 2010 (US Only)

My Rating: 5/5

Blurb:
Eighteen-year-old Piper has got herself into a mess. Because of her big mouth, she has one month to get a paying gig for her high school's hottest new rock band, Dumb. In Piper's mind, the band couldn't have a more perfect name. Just look at the members: one egomaniacal pretty boy, one silent rocker, one talent-less piece of eye-candy, one angry girl, and one nerd-boy drummer - five discordant personalities who, when put together, seem ready to self-destruct at any moment. Getting them an actual gig seems impossible. Add to that the fact that Piper doesn't know if their music is good or not, because, well, she's deaf.


But Piper is determined to get the band a gig to show her classmates that being deaf doesn't mean she's invisible. And as she gets to know the five flavors of Dumb, some hidden talents, secret crushes, and crazy rock music emerge. She doesn't need to hear the music to sell it, but Piper wants the chance to feel the music too. Does she have what it takes to manage Dumb
and discover her own inner rock star?

My Review:
I apologise in advance for the length of this review. There was just so much to comment on! Five Flavors of Dumb is brilliant. I can't fault it. I fell for it before I even started reading chapter one when I found lyrics from one of my favourite Oasis songs at the front.

"Please don't put your life in the hands
Of a rock 'n' roll band
Who'll throw it all away "
Don't Look Back in Anger" - Oasis
The love certainly didn't stop there, every few paragraphs I had to stop reading so I could write down a quote I liked. After the first few chapters, I decided I was disrupting the narrative flow, and so stopped writing them down. While I can't write them all down, the beginning of chapter two is a hilarious paragraph on the high school social structure.
I felt very connected to Piper throughout the book. I went through so many different emotions. I laughed, I cried, and I certainly felt Piper's frustration and anger. I felt so proud of her when she let loose in the heat of the moment and told her family how she felt after keeping it bottled inside for so long. And what she accomplishes when she actually stops being a wall-flower is awesome. As she discovers strengths she never knew she had as her self esteem soars, Piper emerges from her shell, stands up for herself and those around her, and learns how to play dirty in the big bad world of band managers.

"Suck-i-ness [suhk-ee-nis] - noun
Realising you're completely alone...even in a crowd"
One of my favourite characters is Finn, Piper's 14-year-old brother who sits quietly in the background trying to hold their dysfunctional family together. He is such a sweetie and one of his lines put a major lump in my throat. Obviously it needs to be read in the context to get the full meaning behind it but here is a little taste...

"I've done everything I can. Other kids learned Spanish or French, but not me. I'm fluent in American Sign Language, and I did it for you. Not for Oma and Poppy. I did it so that I could talk to you, because you're my sister."
Along with her feelings of loneliness (being the only deaf family member and student isn't easy), the psychological pain Piper feels from her parents is probably the most crushing; they often ignore her opinions, dismiss her needs and make light of her aspirations. I could feel the hurt and it made me cry.

Piper and her father have a difficult relationship and Piper believes this is due to how mortified he is by her deafness. Looking at it from Piper's point of view, he never even bothered to learn how to sign, her preferred way of communication. For me this was the most heart-breaking part of the whole story. Throughout the book though, we come to see a better side of her father as Piper and Finn discover things about him they never knew and Piper begins to rebuild the relationship she once had with her father (before she lost her hearing at age six).


A very quick comment on the members of Dumb...a great collection of random personalities that definitely add to the flavour of Dumb. But as always, appearances can be deceiving.


"Josh Cooke on vocals, his mouth moving preternaturally fast and hips gyrating as if a gerbil had gained unauthorised access to his crotch"
Antony John has created a unique story about music, family, standing up for yourself and proving to those who doubt you, that you can do anything you set your mind to. Also, major shout out to Kristen Smith who designed an absolutely stunning cover, one of the best I have ever seen and what made me pick up the book in the first place.

5 comments:

  1. OMG heard so much about this book, so I'm definitely gonna try and find it! thanx for the amazing review! :D

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  2. Your review has gotten me curious about this book. Thanks. :-)

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  3. Thanks so much for the awesome review, Jess. I'm so chuffed you enjoyed DUMB, and it's really kind of you to take the time to share your enthusiasm. Much appreciated!

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  4. Antony John read AND commented on my review!

    *squeals and does a happy dance*

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  5. I read DUMB and felt that Antony John perfected the veiws on modern highschool and high school rock bands. DUMB is my new favorite book!

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