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26 April 2017

Review: 'Poet of the Wrong Generation' by Lonnie Ostrow (2016)

“It’s not that I don’t love you, and my tears are yet to dry. But you can’t go back and forth forever and we’ve already said goodbye.”

Through these words, a young poet unearths his musical soul while severing ties with the woman he loves after her stunning betrayal. Unknowingly, in writing this ballad of liberation, he will soon evolve as one of the fastest rising stars on the pop music landscape.

The year is 1991; the place, New York City. Here we meet Johnny Elias, a college student from Brooklyn with boundless adoration for two things in life: timeless popular music, and the heart of a sweet, complicated young woman who is clearly out of his league.

Megan Price not only is the object of Johnny’s affection, but also the only daughter of New York’s most powerful PR woman: the indomitable Katherine Price.

Projecting that her daughter’s boyfriend will never live up to the family standard, Katherine cleverly perpetrates a series of duplicitous schemes to rid Johnny from her high-class world. But in her callous disregard, she inadvertently sets him on a determined course to his improbable musical destiny - while sending her own daughter spiraling down a path of devastation.

In November 2016 author Lonnie Ostrow’s debut novel, ‘Poet of the Wrong Generation’, was released. Shortly afterwards I was contacted by Lonnie himself to see whether I’d be interested in reviewing his novel. I liked the promising sound of the book and how the story almost sounded like a kind of ‘saga’ I couldn’t possibly miss out on. It took me a bit of time to finally pick up the novel, but before I did I was almost blown away by the numerous five-star reviews I found on Goodreads while doing some initial research. These reviews and positive words only made me more curious and eager to check out this read, so I was glad when I finally took the time to sit down with it several weeks ago….!

Set in New York in the early 1990s, ‘Poet of the Wrong Generation’ tells the story of college student Johnny Elias who lives in Brooklyn and has a big dream of performing his own songs to a large audience someday. With the heart and support of his girlfriend Megan Price, Johnny feels he doesn’t need much more, until Megan’s powerhouse mother Katherine decides Johnny is definitely not right for her daughter. With her efforts she manages to separate Megan and Johnny, but this also happens to be the start of Johnny’s promising music career… The question is, will music and fame really bring Johnny what he wants from life, or does it all mean nothing without the love of his life by his side?

Wow; you really don’t find a lot of books like this one anymore. At least I don’t! I don’t know exactly what Lonnie Ostrow did in his previous life, but he was obviously born to be a storyteller and his debut novel ‘Poet of the Wrong Generation’ is a wonderful example of this. The book tells the story of college student and musician Johnny Elias who dreams of becoming a famous star someday, especially with his girlfriend Megan by his side. However, different obstacles block their path to happiness, and as a reader we get to join Johnny on his way to stardom. I loved how this book seemed to combine it all; there’s a clear storyline focusing on the music industry and building up a music career, but at the same time there is also a great romance at the core of this book, and a focus on themes such as family, friendship and following your dreams.

The book has some great and fascinating characters at its centre. Main man Johnny is definitely the kind of guy you find yourself rooting for, and there’s also a good group of secondary characters that complement the story, especially Johnny’s best friend Andy and his girlfriend Jacqui. If I’m completely honest I did feel the book was really quite long (it has over 450 pages), and slightly too slow-paced at times. However, the fantastic writing definitely made up for this. All in all, ‘Poet of the Wrong Generation’ is an engaging and memorable novel about the ups and downs of the music business, family, love, friendship, finding yourself… Life in general, really. There’s something in this book for everyone, and it’s an incredibly promising debut novel. Lonnie Ostrow is a name to look out for, without a doubt.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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