Author: M.E. Purtfield
Release date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: trash books
Pages: 160 (I think? Somewhere around there.)
How I got it: For review from author
Breaking Fellini is a novel of No Wave and New York during 1977. Sixteen-year-old Joni Corso loves to play rock guitar, but being in a local cover band just doesn't excite her anymore. She wants to perform originals and join the scene in New York City were Blondie, Patti Smith, and The Ramones found fame. Able to convince her mother to spend some time with her estranged father in Manhattan, Joni jumps at the opportunity to redefine herself and join a band. Amidst a whirlwind of classic rock, drugs, urban recession, and drag queens, Joni meets Phaedra a homeless girl with a mission to destroy rock idols and the mainstream. Joni joins her band No! and starts plays the kind of music she's been craving. The kind of music that out punks Punk. But Dad sees her as something else: a famous rock guitarist with a band on the Top 40 charts, something Joni doesn’t want to be anymore. Now she has to decide which musician she can live with being and for who or risk losing her new life and father she just found.
Breaking Fellini chronicles a young girl's new-found independence and exploration/partial discovery of a completely new style of music (that was also new to me--but not something that sounds very appealing to me). In theory, this book could have been awesome, but I found it to be lacking in several areas.
This book was short. In the author's note after the book was finished, Purtfield said this was purposeful and that it felt like the length was an accurate representation of No Wave music. While I think that was a cool idea, I can't help but feel like it could've been improved by giving more attention to side characters, the descriptions of music, and Joni's father. Instead, the novel focused more on Joni's anger and fear towards and for her father and some people he'd done business with. Personally I feel like this was a mistake as I never fully connected to this story like I wanted to.
Despite the lack of development I zoomed through this novel because of its short length, and I did enjoy Joni as a character. Also bonus points for having a main character that is gay without it being a big deal! Overall, though, there are just so many things I expected and wanted from this book that I never seemed to get and I closed the book a feeling little bitter about that.
Plot: Moved quickly enough but I would've liked it to focus on music a bit more.
Characters: Joni's the only one we really got to know but she was likable.
Ending: Very unsatisfying.
Kid friendly? There's mentions of rape, sex, drugs, a whole lotta swearing.
I'd put this down without hesitation if something else was going on.
Unfortunately, this wasn't the book for me, despite having a few really cool things going for it. That being said, I'm sure others that search for a unique story will find enjoyment in this novel.