In this blog I typically focus on reviewing albums and/or songs by classic rock acts. For once, I would like to turn my attention to a great novel I read recently. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a “rock and roll novel” but “The Recovery Plan: A Novel” by Ray Corsi would fit the description. I found it out on the Amazon.com Kindle store.
It’s a coming of age/late bloomer story about a music fan set in the late 90’s. The protagonist, Keith Modena, wakes up one day after yet another brutal break up. The guy is in his early 30’s, living in a crappy apartment, in a job he hates, alone except for several record crates full of vinyl albums. There are more rock music quotes in this book than any book I have ever read. I am almost tempted to try to re-read the book and make a playlist inspired by quotes contained within. Corsi quotes everyone from Bob Dylan to the Faces to Led Zeppelin. It’s funny how music has that magic quality of transporting you back in time to a specific memory. Corsi uses this to great effect in the story.
The story is written in a raw, first person style that makes it feel almost like you’re reading someone’s diary. The vibe I got when I was reading it was more like I was sitting in a bar and a stranger pulled up a stool, ordered a bourbon and started telling me a story. There is a lot of witty humor in this novel. I found myself laughing out loud, even during some of the more heart rending scenes.
Keith, the main character, ends up teaming up with an old college acquaintance and they end up drinking and chasing women together. Keith thinks this is his way out of the hole he has dug for himself in life. He lives the sex, booze and rock and roll life with his college buddy. Unfortunately that turns into yet another blind alley for him. But it is a fun ride to go down that path with him.
Finally Keith has a series of revelations after meeting a rock solid, beautiful woman who has a child. He realizes he needs to “grow up”. Keith finally starts taking the steps and setting the goals that lead him to a more self-actualize life. It all leads him to the real “Recovery Plan”. He finds a non-traditional, very patient therapist who helps him out of the rut he’s in.
What I liked about the book, besides the music references, was the notion that it’s never too late for anybody. You can always change the course of your life if you’re not satisfied with it. In the end, this is really a story about redemption. I’ve always been a Humanist at heart. Webster defines humanism as: “a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason.” That concept is uniquely captured by “The Recovery Plan: A Novel.” Despite mistakes and memories that haunt him, Keith overcomes all of it to a happy life. One of the messages of the book that really resonated with me was the notion that “the only thing we change about the past is how we perceive it.” That was a little mind blowing for me.
The first half of the novel, Keith spends most of his time in self-destructive behavior, but that just sets up the second half where he pulls his life together. I thought it was a really great read and I recommend it to all BourbonAndVinyl enthusiasts. Pour something strong and murky, download “The Recovery Plan” on your Kindle and enjoy!