Party of One (★★★☆☆)

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Dave Holmes  *  Crown Archetype  *  June 28, 2016  *  304 Pages

Advanced Reader Copy provided through Amazon Vine.

I grew up watching Dave Holmes, Carson Daley, and, yes, crazy Jesse Camp on MTV in the 90s. My little sister and I would come home from school and immediately flip on the TV to watch TRL (even though our parents specifically told us not to). Every song that Holmes mentions in this book, every artist he refers to, I am not only familiar with, but I also have some sort of emotional attachment to (good or bad). In other words, this book was basically written for me! I AM the target audience. Party of One should be my jam!

But, weirdly, it just isn’t. God, this book bored me. Even though there was the potential for something really good here, most of these stories fall flat. Holmes stays so light and chipper about everything that it’s hard to connect with him–which is weird, because he does touch on some intense personal topics. He talks about struggling to fit in for most of his life, but he never really expands on that. He even talks about struggling to be gay in a family that does not approve of homosexuality, but even those moments–which should have been heartfelt and emotionally gripping (I mean, really, how can they NOT be?)–were just kind of meh.

There’s something about the way he talks about the experiences from his past. He speaks the words and strings the thoughts together…but he never really SAYS anything–at least not anything that feels meaningful. Throughout the whole book, I could tell there were places emotionally that he wasn’t willing to go. Like it was more important that he come across as a carefree, jokey, nothing-phases-me! sort of guy. I don’t know. It just struck me as inauthentic.

But I should add that there were some good moments, too. Like other reviewers, I really liked the brief Interlude sections peppered throughout. Those sections were funny and entertaining, a little bit more honest. And they helped break up the longer chapters.

Still, overall, Party of One–and I really hate to say this!–is a disappointment. It just didn’t live up to my expectations. And while it was kinda fun to take a walk down memory lane, I can’t help but wish I had been walking with a more engaging companion.

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