Read: Love is a Mix TapeJanuary 26, 2008
A friend of mine, who knows how much I enjoy making mix CDs, lent me Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time, a memoir by Rob Sheffield, who’s a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. The book is structured as a series of vignettes, each framed by a mix tape from the time of the events.
I have built my life around loving music, and I surround myself with it. I’m always racing to catch up on my new favorite song. But I never stop playing my mixes. Every fan makes them. The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with—nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they add up to the story of a life.
While Sheffield does reach back to his childhood, most of the book centres around his relationship with his wife Renée, her untimely death, and the reality of living as a young widower. Sheffield’s personal narrative is poignant and well-told, and he paints a touching portrait of his deceased wife. I occasionally found the prose to be (in the words of Julien Temple and David Bowie) a little clever-clever, but it was nevertheless an enjoyable and touching read.
Update [January 27, 2008]: By strange coincidence, Rob Sheffield is about to visit the Boston area. He’ll be reading from this book at Brookline Booksmith on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008.