Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-479-2
Contemporary Fiction, 2007
The Corduroy Peach part of Michael Paul Amos’s The Rocktastic Corduroy Peach refers to a rock band. They are still looking for a record deal though. The mouthy Danny-boy Flannigan is the singer and songwriter, pet food salesman Marcus Mason is the guitarist, dentist Dermot Gilmouth is the drummer and background singer, and the married and balding Paul Wretchly is the bass player.
However, at 29, Marcus is starting to wonder whether he wants to spend the rest of his adult life as a slightly overweight wannabe with shaggy hair constantly looking for a big break that may never come. He becomes even more self-conscious about his current not-so-successful life when he takes a shine to a paleontology student Rose Finer. To make things more complicated, Rose’s friend Debs like him while Dermot has a thing for Rose. I tell you, they may not be a successful rock band yet but they have the sexual politics and Yoko Ono-ism down pat already.
Meanwhile, Paul may be 44 and have a family but he is still acting like a kid, hiding in his room and playing games on his PC while his poor wife deals with the kids and do all the tough work around the house. Dermot is happily chasing women while Danny seethes silently, thinking that his band mates are holding him back from the great success that he believes he deserves. Poor Danny is currently living with his mother who still treats him like a kid so you can imagine how happy he is with his life, I’m sure.
When our four not-so-successful Peter Pans of rock music find themselves in the limelight due to a sarcastic response by the local rock-star who made it big during an interview (Radium Jam says that he loves local bands like Corduroy Peach) being taken seriously by people who watch the interview on TV, they are thrilled, thinking that their time has finally arrived. This is it, no? But unless they find a way to keep their increasing resentments of each other from tearing them apart even before their big gig, they are in for a rocky road ahead. It doesn’t help that the four men are actually pretty terrible in their musician gigs, constantly getting the chords or the words wrong.
The Rocktastic Corduroy Peach has many recognizable lad -lit elements, right down to boys who won’t grow up despite having paunches and bald spots. Therefore it’s quite unfortunate that this book isn’t my cup of tea since, like chick-lit stories, lad-lit stories never fail to make me wish that the earth will open up and swallow the main characters. I actually like the author’s cheerful and bouncy style, although a part of me feels that there are too many unnecessary secondary characters that appear only for one scene and their points of view cluttering up the story. However, by the last page I can only say that I feel sorry for pretentious yet pathetic Danny-boy. He starts out the most annoying character but by the last page his three band mates have beaten him to the finish line when it comes to being such overbearing assholes that he becomes the underdog by default.
I like the author’s breezy style and sense of humor. Plus, I’m going to steal some of his punchlines, heh. But like too many lad-lit stories, this one has me thinking that I would rather slash my wrists and pour concentrated hydrochloric acid on the wounds than to be stuck in an elevator for even one minute with the pathetic wastes-of-oxygen Marcus, Dermot, and Paul.
Sorry, Mr Amos, I really like your style, but this one is really not my thing. It’s not you, it’s me.