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Kissing Bowie by Joan Taylor

Kissing Bowie (edition 2013)

by Joan Taylor

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2416633,977 (3.3)1
Title:Kissing Bowie
Authors:Joan Taylor
Info:Seventh Rainbow Publishing (2013), Digital
Collections:Your library

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Kissing Bowie by Joan Taylor



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Famous photographer, Samantha Newell, returns to London in 2013 after a thirty year absence. She is there because her work is being shown at a gallery. She is asked a question about her work which leads to her documenting her life in London during the 1980's and why she left. In the form of a diary and using vivid detail, the author places the reader in the London of the 1980's. Samantha has come to London to reunite with her friend, Laura. Laura is charismatic and men are easily attracted to her, but she is obsessed with David Bowie. Joan Taylor's novel, kissing Bowie, follows the effect of the obsession on all those involved in Laura's life. Samantha recognizes Laura is not well. However, Samantha is not well, either, and is conflicted as to how to help her friend. She begins to question if she even wants to. Her decisions haunt her.
This is a well written story that takes the reader into minds of the characters. The novel examines the depths of friendship and all that comes with it. I found the book to be engrossing and interesting.
I received this book free of charge through LibraryThing Early Reviewers and I give this review of my own free will. ( )
  SAMANTHA100 | Dec 31, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
kissing Bowie is a strong effort with a unique structure and pacing. The lives of two young women intersect as they travel to the UK from New Zealand and attempt to find themselves. Samantha, the narrator tells their story through memories and reflections in a diary. It makes use of her adult-self's photographs to set the tone of the action and express her feelings in the past. Laura, Sam's friend, has an obsession with David Bowie that controls both girls' lives. The book tracks where that obsession takes the young women as they forge friendships, relationships, and identities. An abrupt but fitting ending wraps the book up nicely.

The writing is fun though I agree with another reviewer that the memories are incredibly lucid for one recalling the events of 30 years prior. I did enjoy the photograph journal format of the book. While the book is based on Samantha's point of view there are multiple story arcs and developments, some of which dead-end and others that distract from the main story. There are, however, so arcs that essential to understanding the ending and Taylor does a good job of weaving all of them together considering. The ending will not be for everyone as the degree of closure is not to all readers' tastes.

This was an entertaining book that hints at good things to come from Joan Taylor. ( )
  loafhunter13 | Oct 23, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In the style of a memoir, kissing Bowie is a tale through the recorded memories of internationally famous New Zealand photographer Samantha Newel, He artistic thing is placing holes in strategic spots on her photos, and the book begins with a young fan asking her about this at a London exposition. What follows is a long confessional that takes us back more than 30 years, to a London where David Bowie was at the height of his musical popularity. Samantha follows her friend Laura to London where they live a rather austere life. Laura, however, has a problem -- her obsession with all things Bowie has become delusional, and it is affecting her life and happiness.

The obsession is preventing Laura from having normal relations with friends or potential mates. Stuart, a graduate student, wants to help but is shut out -- he tries to get to her via Samantha, who has a fatal attraction for Stuart herself. This leads to bad decisions by all as Laura's psychosis deepens, and mysterious notes by a stalker add to the mystery. Other guys involved in her life become suspects -- Chris, the paparazzo stalking Lady Di, Mike, the American acquaintance from a hostel they shared; Billy, a creepy dude who allegedly went to Paris at just the same time Laura went to New York on a expense-paid trip to see Bowie perform in Elephant Man; and finally Rupert, Sam and Laura's landlord and husband of their boss at a coffee shop. As the plot develops, a strong case is made against each one of these. Sam, meanwhile, is torn between loyalty toward her friend and pursuing her love, Stuart (who Laura believes is the culprit).

Samantha's memoir ends when Laura goes to New York and simply vanishes. The rest of the book happens occurs in 2013, where Sam unexpectedly gets closure that eluded her all these years. The ending makes perfect sense, and is yet unexpected.

Samantha's recollections, even with her detailed diary from the day, are little too lucid for being 30 years old. But as it hearkens back to my "coming of age" time -- in fact, a reference was made to Bowie performing Elephant Man in Chicago -- I saw one of those performances. The musical references were all familiar, and my own recollections of the time fit well with this story. ( )
  JeffV | Oct 19, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As much as I wanted to love this book, I didn't. I liked it quite a bit. The story is of two roommates with their own psychological issues to deal with, but one commanding all of the other's time and mental power. Laura is obsessed with David Bowie and her life revolves around a fantasy she has created. This leaves her roommate Sam constantly walking on eggshells. The story takes a really long time to develop and meanders about. When Sam has finally had enough, Laura comes between her and a guys she loves. If the first half of the book moved as quickly as the last half, it would have been more interesting. During the whole book I thought the main plotline was Laura's obsession with David Bowie. About 3/4 of the way through Sam just takes off. End of everything. The book ends with her and Stuart reuniting. What happened to Laura? She was found dead? There needs to be a better wrap up. By the end of the book it was just a love story between Stuart and Sam. There needed to be more. ( )
  ShelliM | Oct 5, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Her use of language and first person cynicism is great fun. This story has narrative drive. I enjoy that there are lots of multi-syllable words and references to art appreciation.
  jaelquinn | Oct 1, 2013 |
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