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Love is a Mix Tape (Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)

Book: Love is a Mix Tape (Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)

Author: Rob Sheffield

Short Summary:
In this memoir, Rob Sheffield uses mix tapes he has made throughout the years to describe the different events and happenings of his life, starting from childhood, leading to the present day. The majority of his story revolves around a woman named Renee who he falls madly in love with. The two marry and live a happy life together until Renee’s sudden death. It was music that brought the two together, and music that Rob sometimes relies on and other times runs from while dealing with his new, unfamiliar role as a widower. Once thought of as one person, “Robin Renee”, Rob alone now uses his words as a tribute for his love for Renee and how music played such a significant role in their life together.

My Thoughts:
If you are a music lover, a mix tape maker, or someone who just appreciates a heartfelt, touching memoir, you will most likely enjoy this book. Rob’s story uses the perfect mix of music, heartfelt moments, and humor to tell the legend of Rob and Renee.If you are a pop culture junkie, you can relate to the music and important events that were taking place as Rob describes the passing years. This book was so packed with true emotion, that tears were most definitely shed while listening to this book. More than anything else, I can say this book was

honest, raw, and real. Rob describes Renee in such vivid and vibrant detail that I felt she was not just some person, but actually one of my friends when I finished the book.

The love between Rob and Renee, although not always perfect, was certainly one to envy. I absolutely loved listening to how they met, the music they shared, and the quirks that made them the couple they were. I also loved the way Rob described the fears he had about taking care of Renee and being a husband, and relating them to the lyrics of bands like Nirvana.  Using lyrics from bands on the mix tapes gave this book a lot of its character.

Moving on after the death of a loved one is often described in memoirs or novels, but Rob does it in the most honest way I’ve ever encountered. His description of being a widower is heartbreaking yet he brings in just the right amount of humor as well to tell the reader about it. There is no false hope or cheesy “life goes on” moments in this book. There is no talk of, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” or other overused cliches. Instead, Rob believes, “what doesn’t kill you makes you more annoying.”  And of course, music, sometimes helpful and other times painful, was always there with him through these dark days.

I listened to the audio version of this book, read by Rob Sheffield himself. Usually, I would not opt to listen to an audio version of a book read by the author, for they are not actors. While their writing ability may be fantastic, their speaking/acting ability may be otherwise. For this book, however, I can’t think of anyone better to be telling the story than Rob, the person who actually lived it. It gave the book an even more intimate tone. It felt to me like I wasn’t just listening to some story on the stereo, but that I was in the same room with Rob, listening to his words.

I highly recommend this book. I think the only thing I could have liked more is if I knew more of the music that was talked about. This book makes me want to go seek those songs out.

My Rating: 4.5/5

My Soundtrack Song for This Book: Mix Tape from Avenue Q

(buy it!)


4 Responses

  1. I haven’t read this book, but having loved and lost in the time of grunge music, I would most certainly agree that, “what doesn’t kill you makes you more annoying.”

    For a more in depth look at that scenario refer to the film ‘High Fidelity,’ based on the novel of same name by Nick Hornby.

    I will probably check out this mix tape book based on this recommendation..thanks.

  2. I’ve been seeing this book reviewed in magazines and was looking forward to seeing it reviewed on a blog and so I am so glad you reviewed it! The title alone spoke to me. I think it sounds so sweet and am glad to know it was so good. Can’t wait to pick up a copy.

  3. […] Love is a Mix Tape (Life and Loss One Song at a Time) by Rob Sheffield (audio version) […]

  4. I loved this book. I read it a few years ago in a single sitting and immediately passed it into my husband’s hands. I’ve been meaning to reread it soon too. I’m so glad you enjoyed it too!

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