Songs in the Key of My Life: A Memoir
Recalling Nick Hornby's Songbook and Rob Sheffield's more recent Love is a Mix Tape, Lafargue's memoir chronicles life events major and minor through the prism of the music he loves and hates. Lefargue found the genesis for his book while struggling through the aftermath of a failed engagement, during which he discovered Stevie Wonder's breakthrough double album, Songs in the Key of Life. Beginning with the miraculous turnaround that album inspired, the professor and Brooklyn resident recounts, among other amusing anecdotes, his mother's mad crush on mid-1980s sensation Billy Ocean; his own impressions and imitations of Michael Jackson, ""who danced like Fred Astaire, sang like Jackie Wilson, had the suave good looks of a young Sam Cooke, and dressed like Liberace""; and the link between Stanley Kubrick's film Full Metal Jacket and 2 Live Crew's ""obscene, misogynist, and offensive"" album As Nasty as They Wanna Be. The book's biggest weakness may be Lefargue's lack of credentials; without rock critic Sheffield's reputation or Hornby's fan base, readers may wonder why they should care about one man's taste in music. Lafargue may not provide that reason, but he does have a sincere, honest voice and a story that any pop music fan is sure to nod along with.