Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time

Rob Sheffield, Author
Rob Sheffield, Author . Crown $22.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4000-8302-2
Reviewed on: 12/18/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Paperback - 226 pages - 978-0-7499-2875-9
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-7499-5142-9
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-3352-5
Open Ebook - 114 pages - 978-0-307-35157-9
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-4000-8303-9
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-3652-8
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A celebratory eulogy for life in "the decade of Nirvana," rock critic Sheffield's captivating memoir uses 22 "mix tapes" to describe his being "tangled up" in the "noisy, juicy, sparkly life" of his wife, Renee, from the time they met in 1989 to her sudden death from a pulmonary embolism in 1997. Each chapter begins with song titles from the couple's myriad mixes—"Tapes for making out, tapes for dancing, tapes for falling asleep"—and uses them to describe a beautiful love story: "a real cool hell-raising Appalachian punk-rock girl" meeting in graduate school a "hermit wolfboy, scared of life, hiding in my room with my records," and how they built a tender relationship on the music they loved, from the Meat Puppets to Hank Williams. Their bond as soul mates makes his reaction to her death deeply moving: "I had no voice to talk with because she was my whole language." But Sheffield's wonderful, often hilarious and lovingly detailed stories about their early romance and their later domestic life show how they created their own personal "mix tape" of life in the same way a music mix tape "steals moments from all over the musical cosmos and splices them into a whole new groove." (Jan.)

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