The Love Song of Jonny Valentine: A Novel

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine: A Novel

3.8 6
by Teddy Wayne
     
 

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One of the most critically acclaimed books of the year, Whiting Award-winner Teddy Wayne’s second novel is “more than a scabrous sendup of American celebrity culture; it’s also a poignant portrait of one young artist’s coming of age” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)—and an enduring yet timely portrait of the American

Overview

One of the most critically acclaimed books of the year, Whiting Award-winner Teddy Wayne’s second novel is “more than a scabrous sendup of American celebrity culture; it’s also a poignant portrait of one young artist’s coming of age” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)—and an enduring yet timely portrait of the American dream gone awry.

In his rave on the cover of The New York Times Book Review, Jess Walter praised Wayne’s writing for its “feats of unlikely virtuosity” and the boy at its center as “a being of true longing and depth, and…a devastating weapon of cultural criticism…You’d have to be made of triple platinum not to ache for Jonny Valentine.”

With “assured prose and captivating storytelling” (Oprah.com’s Book of the Week), The Love Song of Jonny Valentine also showcases “one of the most complicated portrayals of the mother-son relationship since Room” (BookPage). Touring the country in a desperate attempt to save a career he’s not sure he even wants, Jonny is both driven by his mother’s ambition and haunted by his father’s absence, constantly searching for a familiar face among the crowds. Utterly convincing, whip-smart, yet endearingly vulnerable, with an “unforgettable” voice (Publishers Weekly, starred review), the eleven-year-old pop megastar sounds “like Holden Caulfield Jr. adrift in Access Hollywood hell” (Rolling Stone).

Called “a showstopper” (The Boston Globe), “hugely entertaining” (The Washington Post), “heartbreakingly convincing” (People), “buoyant, smart, searing” (Entertainment Weekly), and “touching and unexpectedly suspenseful” (The Wall Street Journal), this extraordinary novel has been widely embraced as a literary masterpiece and the rare “satire with a heart” (Library Journal, starred review).

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Jonny Valentine is a talented tween singing sensation, much like Justin Bieber. This often scathing satire of manufactured celebrity follows the travails of the 11-year-old singer who is both its beneficiary and its victim. The novel centers on an eventful national tour that finds him embroiled in a fake romance for publicity purposes with a young female pop star, making an awkward visit to his hometown of St. Louis, generating bad publicity over a misadventure with the indie rock band opening his concerts, garnering more bad publicity after his mother/manager's cocaine overdose, and finally in a concert at Madison Square Garden where he reconnects with his long-estranged father. VERDICT Narrated by the young singing sensation himself, the novel rides on the appealing combination of Jonny's innocence and wisdom beyond his years. This is ultimately a satire with a heart, capturing the sadness, longing, and confusion beneath the celebrity veneer as Johnny tries to make sense of the confusing adult world around him and be loved in a way that has nothing to do with star-struck fans. A top-of-the-charts tale.—Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib., North Andover, MA
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
As he did in his critically acclaimed debut novel, Kapitoil…Mr. Wayne seems intent on satirizing the absurdities of late-stage capitalism. In this case he sends up America's obsession with celebrity and the insatiable, implacable fame machine that eats up artists and dreams, lacquers the talented and untalented alike with glitz, and spits out merchandise and publicity in a never-ending cycle of commodification…What makes Mr. Wayne's portraits of Jonny, his mother and the tour staff so persuasive—and affecting, in the end—is his refusal to sentimentalize them, combined with his assiduous avoidance of easy stereotypes…Mr. Wayne depicts Jonny as a complicated, searching boy, by turns innocent and sophisticated beyond his years, eager to please and deeply resentful, devoted to his unusual talent and aware of both its rewards and its costs. This is what makes The Love Song more than a scabrous sendup of American celebrity culture; it's also a poignant portrait of one young artist's coming of age.
The New York Times Book Review - Jess Walter
Poor Jonny Valentine, the über-talented Bieberesque hero of Teddy Wayne's new novel…Onto these thin, prepubescent shoulders, the very funny Wayne has heaped the full weight of our obnoxious, vacuous, fame-sodden culture. It speaks well of both Jonny and his creator that the result is this good, a moving, entertaining novel that is both poignant and pointed—a sweet, sad skewering of the celebrity industry…in the end it's the voice that pulls you into this novel. Embodying a character who might otherwise be easy to dismiss, Wayne has crafted a funny, affecting tour of our cultural wasteland.
The Washington Post - Steve Donoghue
Fans of Wayne's sharp debut novel, Kapitoil, which won the Whiting Award, will delight in his signature deadpan wit here…There's greater complexity and warmth in this new book, though. Wayne gets in well-aimed jabs at the big business of contemporary stadium-rock, but at its heart The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is about a boy in a desperate hurry to grow up. We aren't even vaguely tempted to snicker.
Publishers Weekly
A coming-of-age tale with a modern context, this sharply written novel from the Whiting Writers’ Award-winning author of Kapitoil pulls back the curtain on the 21st-century fame machine. Not unlike a certain fever-inducing pop star, ‘tween sensation Jonny Valentine went from YouTube to Madison Square Garden with bubblegum hits like “Guys vs. Girls” and “U R Kewt.” Now each decision on his national tour is choreographed for mass appeal, from what team to feature on his baseball hat, to the femme pop star with whom his label stages a date. Along for the ride is his mom Jane, micromanaging his image, scheduling weekly weigh-ins, and generally fending off normalcy to keep a good thing going. But through an intimate first-person characterization masterfully executed by Wayne, we see fame through Jonny’s complicated point of view. Beneath the rote catechism of his overmanaged career (“Jane says we’re in the business of making fat girls feel like they’re pretty for a few hours”) are the wholehearted yearnings of a conflicted 11-year-old: his obsession with getting a successful erection, a desire to be like his musical idols, and most of all a quest to reconnect with his father. The smart skewering of the media, both highbrow and low, is wickedly on target. And a mock New Yorker article is a memorable literary lampoon. But the real accomplishment is the unforgettable voice of Jonny. If this impressive novel, both entertaining and tragically insightful, were a song, it would have a Michael Jackson beat with Morrissey lyrics. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Feb.)
The National (UAE)
"Laid out in a surprisingly poignant mix of cynicism and innocence, Wayne intertwines both Jonny and Jonathan's voices into a sublime plot, making it an unconventional coming-of-age story that digs beneath the glossy veneer of mainstream pop."
BookPage
"Hilarious and heartbreaking...An original, poignant and captivating coming-of-age story...a breathtakingly fresh novel about the dark side of show business.
From the Publisher
"Sad-funny, sometimes cutting...more than a scabrous sendup of American celebrity culture; it’s also a poignant portrait of one young artist’s coming of age."

"Heartbreakingly convincing...Hate Bieber? Wayne's touching portrait might change your mind."

"Surprisingly moving...heartbreaking...A mix of pre-adolescent angst and industry cynicism that makes him sound like Holden Caulfield Jr. adrift in Access Hollywood hell."

“Deft and delightful . . . touching (and unexpectedly suspenseful) . . . so frank and engaging . . . A sweeter, softer-edged satire of the pop-culture carnival.”

"'The Love Song of Jonny Valentine' is a fun, highly diverting read.…Wayne generates considerable sympathy for the 11-year-old kid trapped at the center of the churning entertainment machine….This is a portrait of the artist as a young brand.”

"It would be easy to simply satirize the life and times of an 11-year-old pop star. But while Wayne does riff on America's obsessions with youth, celebrity and weight, among other things, he chooses to take his hero seriously….If Justin Bieber provides the book's cultural context, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" gives it its soul…. [An] entertaining novel about the pop-celebrity-Internet air we all breathe, even if we don't want to inhale."

"The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” is a showstopper….The book’s greatest triumph — and there are many — is Jonny’s voice, which falls somewhere between bright-eyed kid and jaded industry veteran (of course, he is both)….In addition to an exquisite rendering of Jonny’s growing awareness, the novel provides other delights [and] plenty of genuinely affecting moments. As Jonny realizes he has the money and power of an island nation, he feels the disappointments of his life more keenly and asserts himself in ways that aren’t anywhere near family friendly; we discover he is a flawed child in addition to an exploited one and empathize with him because of it. In the end, “The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” is a serious book that is way more fun than the life of a child star."

"Heartbreaking and amusing...more than anything, Jonny reminded me of Jack, the 5-year-old captive narrator of Emma Donoghue's Room. Like Room, this novel takes a sordid tabloid situation and illuminates it with a child's voice so real you want to climb inside the book and rescue him."

"Through Wayne’s assured prose and captivating storytelling, we see Jonny as one large cog in the entertainment machine—who, despite how talented he may be, knows he may soon be replaced by a younger model."

"A buoyant, smart, searing portrait of our culture's obsession with young pop stars."

New York Times Book Review (cover review and Editors' Choice) - Jess Walter
"It speaks well of both Jonny and his creator that the result is this good, a moving, entertaining novel that is both poignant and pointed — a sweet, sad skewering of the celebrity industry...his satirist's eye is impeccable...so limpidly does Wayne imitate the voice of a preteen celebrity, he risks making it look easy...to create out of that entitled adolescent voice a being of true longing and depth, and then to make him such a devastating weapon of cultural criticism — these are feats of unlikely virtuosity, like covering Jimi Hendrix on a ukulele...Embodying a character who might otherwise be easy to dismiss, Wayne has crafted a funny, affecting tour of our cultural wasteland...you’d have to be made of triple platinum not to ache for Jonny Valentine."
BookPageFiction Top Pick
"Think an imagined life of a star like Bieber...but so much better; moving and hilarious and typical of Wayne.” (The Atlantic Wire)

"Provocative and bittersweet…Jonny is such an engaging, sympathetic character that his voice carries the novel...A very funny novel when itisn'tso sad, and vice versa."

Kirkus (starred review)

"Hilarious and heartbreaking...An original, poignant and captivating coming-of-age story...a breathtakingly fresh novel about the dark side of show business."

Ben Fountain
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine takes us deep into the dark arts and even darker heart of mass-market celebrity, twenty-first-century version. In the near-pubescent hitmaker of the title, Teddy Wayne delivers a wild ride through the upper echelons of the entertainment machine as it ingests human beings at one end and spews out dollars at the other. Jonny’s like all the rest of us, he wants to love and be loved, and as this brilliant novel shows, that’s a dangerous way to be when you’re inside the machine.”
Charles Bock
“I’d wanted to go slowly and read The Love Song of Jonny Valentine over the course of a week or two, but once Jonny’s voice got into my head, I was hooked, and kept picking it back up, and so I ended up on the last page, reading that final, amazing sentence, at like three in the morning. This novel is a serious accomplishment....America as we know it, with laughs on every page, but also a book that doesn’t take one cheap shot....And at the swirling core, you have an eleven-year-old boy trapped by his fame and trying to figure out how to move through the world, and who wants nothing more than to find his father. This is a book with a runaway narrative engine, tremendous ambitions, and an even bigger heart. I do not lie when I tell you: Teddy Wayne is as good a young writer as we have.”
Amber Dermont
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is a novel of ferocious wit and surprising poignancy. Teddy Wayne has written a pitch-perfect anthem for our surreal American Dream, a power ballad for the twenty-first-century unhappy family, an epic ode to the fleeting glory of fame....Adored by his fans, enslaved by the music industry, Jonny Valentine navigates the high-stakes game of celebrity while secretly longing for the love of his missing dad. And we, in turn, long for him to hold on to his soulful spirit, his baby chub, his cri de coeur, his "major vulnerabilities." A deeply entertaining novel with humor and heart to spare.”
Aryn Kyle
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is a novel of ferocious wit and surprising poignancy. Teddy Wayne has written a pitch-perfect anthem for our surreal American Dream, a power ballad for the twenty-first-century unhappy family, an epic ode to the fleeting glory of fame....Adored by his fans, enslaved by the music industry, Jonny Valentine navigates the high-stakes game of celebrity while secretly longing for the love of his missing dad. And we, in turn, long for him to hold on to his soulful spirit, his baby chub, his cri de coeur, his "major vulnerabilities." A deeply entertaining novel with humor and heart to spare.” (Amber Dermont, New York Times bestselling author of The Starboard Sea)

“In Jonny Valentine, Teddy Wayne has created a vivid and achingly authentic portrait of an adolescent prodigy trying to make sense of a world from which he’s been kept mostly separate. Wry, witty, and genuinely moving, this is a novel that delves into the private longings of a public figure, exposing the sometimes dark and often ridiculous inner workings of a life in show business. The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is absorbing and beautifully written—and also a ton of fun to read.”

New York Times bestselling author of The God of An Aryn Kyle
“In Jonny Valentine, Teddy Wayne has created a vivid and achingly authentic portrait of an adolescent prodigy trying to make sense of a world from which he’s been kept mostly separate. Wry, witty, and genuinely moving, this is a novel that delves into the private longings of a public figure, exposing the sometimes dark and often ridiculous inner workings of a life in show business. The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is absorbing and beautifully written—and also a ton of fun to read.”
Interview
“At once brilliantly funny and beautifully writtenThe Love Song of Jonny Valentine is a novel of many distinctions…Consistently engaging and lively.…Wayne never sacrifices the reader’s sympathies. Jonny is a victim of popular culture, and we wince for him throughout brilliantly awkward set-pieces: a choreographed “homecoming” where he completely fails to communicate with a former best friend, an ill-fated trip to a nightclub with his mischievous support act and an appearance on a Letterman-esque show that channels David Foster Wallace.…If there is any justice in the world, with The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, Wayne will have penned a chart-busting hit.” (New York Daily News)

“Harrowing, hilarious…It's less a coming-of-age story than a price-of-this-age story, where self-promotion is the equivalent of self-preservation. In The Love Song of Jonny Valentine Wayne manages to negotiate a character so original, so multitextured, and teetering so precariously between innocence and emptiness, the result is a stunning achievement in literary zeitgeist."

People
"Surprisingly moving...heartbreaking...A mix of pre-adolescent angst and industry cynicism that makes him sound like Holden Caulfield Jr. adrift in Access Hollywood hell." (Rolling Stone)

"Heartbreakingly convincing...Hate Bieber? Wayne's touching portrait might change your mind."

Tampa Bay Times
"A fiery, sometimes funny...critique of the exploitation of children at the hands of the rapacious music industry." (London Review of Books)

"Switchblade-keen satirist Teddy Wayne. . .delves into the twisted world of celebrity culture with delicious, detailed insight. It's as if People magazine were written by Kurt Vonnegut, smart and fun and fanged... there are also great swaths of heart and pain and genuine compassion."

People Magazine
"Surprisingly moving...heartbreaking...A mix of pre-adolescent angst and industry cynicism that makes him sound like Holden Caulfield Jr. adrift in Access Hollywood hell." (Rolling Stone) "Heartbreakingly convincing...Hate Bieber? Wayne's touching portrait might change your mind."
Fiction Top Pick - Booklist
"Think an imagined life of a star like Bieber...but so much better; moving and hilarious and typical of Wayne.” (The Atlantic Wire)"Provocative and bittersweet…Jonny is such an engaging, sympathetic character that his voice carries the novel...A very funny novel when it isn't so sad, and vice versa." — Kirkus (starred review)"Hilarious and heartbreaking...An original, poignant and captivating coming-of-age story...a breathtakingly fresh novel about the dark side of show business."
Helen Schulman
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine takes us deep into the dark arts and even darker heart of mass-market celebrity, twenty-first-century version. In the near-pubescent hitmaker of the title, Teddy Wayne delivers a wild ride through the upper echelons of the entertainment machine as it ingests human beings at one end and spews out dollars at the other. Jonny’s like all the rest of us, he wants to love and be loved, and as this brilliant novel shows, that’s a dangerous way to be when you’re inside the machine.” (Ben Fountain, New York Times bestselling author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk)

“I’d wanted to go slowly and read The Love Song of Jonny Valentine over the course of a week or two, but once Jonny’s voice got into my head, I was hooked, and kept picking it back up, and so I ended up on the last page, reading that final, amazing sentence, at like three in the morning. This novel is a serious accomplishment....America as we know it, with laughs on every page, but also a book that doesn’t take one cheap shot....And at the swirling core, you have an eleven-year-old boy trapped by his fame and trying to figure out how to move through the world, and who wants nothing more than to find his father. This is a book with a runaway narrative engine, tremendous ambitions, and an even bigger heart. I do not lie when I tell you: Teddy Wayne is as good a young writer as we have.” (Charles Bock, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Children)

“What is most searing about Teddy Wayne’s splendid new novel is not his trenchant social criticism, nor the itchy, unsettling way that he makes tragedy entertaining, but that in the bubble of celebrity which comprises little Jonny Valentine’s whole world, at times the only differences between the savvy, drug-taking, lonely adults and the savvy, drug-taking, lonely kid himself are his outsized talent, and their avarice plus wrinkles.”

BookPage Fiction Top Pick
"Think an imagined life of a star like Bieber...but so much better; moving and hilarious and typical of Wayne.” (The Atlantic Wire)

"Provocative and bittersweet…Jonny is such an engaging, sympathetic character that his voice carries the novel...A very funny novel when it isn't so sad, and vice versa."
Kirkus (starred review)

"Hilarious and heartbreaking...An original, poignant and captivating coming-of-age story...a breathtakingly fresh novel about the dark side of show business."

Rolling Stone
"Surprisingly moving...heartbreaking...A mix of pre-adolescent angst and industry cynicism that makes him sound like Holden Caulfield Jr. adrift in Access Hollywood hell."
Wall Street Journal
“Deft and delightful . . . touching (and unexpectedly suspenseful) . . . so frank and engaging . . . A sweeter, softer-edged satire of the pop-culture carnival.”
San Francisco Chronicle
"'The Love Song of Jonny Valentine' is a fun, highly diverting read.…Wayne generates considerable sympathy for the 11-year-old kid trapped at the center of the churning entertainment machine….This is a portrait of the artist as a young brand.”
Boston Globe
"The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” is a showstopper….The book’s greatest triumph — and there are many — is Jonny’s voice, which falls somewhere between bright-eyed kid and jaded industry veteran (of course, he is both)….In addition to an exquisite rendering of Jonny’s growing awareness, the novel provides other delights [and] plenty of genuinely affecting moments. As Jonny realizes he has the money and power of an island nation, he feels the disappointments of his life more keenly and asserts himself in ways that aren’t anywhere near family friendly; we discover he is a flawed child in addition to an exploited one and empathize with him because of it. In the end, “The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” is a serious book that is way more fun than the life of a child star."
Book of the Week Oprah.com
"Through Wayne’s assured prose and captivating storytelling, we see Jonny as one large cog in the entertainment machine—who, despite how talented he may be, knows he may soon be replaced by a younger model."
Details
"The best—and only—tween-pop novel you'll ever read. The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, the second novel from rising star Teddy Wayne, depicts the world of prepackaged pop through the eyes of a precocious 11-year-old tween idol (think Justin Bieber by way of Holden Caulfield)."
The Atlantic Wire
"Think an imagined life of a star like Bieber...but so much better; moving and hilarious and typical of Wayne.”
Entertainment Weekly
"A buoyant, smart, searing portrait of our culture's obsession with young pop stars."
Oprah.com
"Through Wayne’s assured prose and captivating storytelling, we see Jonny as one large cog in the entertainment machine—who, despite how talented he may be, knows he may soon be replaced by a younger model."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Deft and delightful . . . touching (and unexpectedly suspenseful) . . . so frank and engaging . . . A sweeter, softer-edged satire of the pop-culture carnival.” (Wall Street Journal)

"'The Love Song of Jonny Valentine' is a fun, highly diverting read.…Wayne generates considerable sympathy for the 11-year-old kid trapped at the center of the churning entertainment machine….This is a portrait of the artist as a young brand.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

"It would be easy to simply satirize the life and times of an 11-year-old pop star. But while Wayne does riff on America's obsessions with youth, celebrity and weight, among other things, he chooses to take his hero seriously….If Justin Bieber provides the book's cultural context, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" gives it its soul…. [An] entertaining novel about the pop-celebrity-Internet air we all breathe, even if we don't want to inhale."

Newsday
"The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” is a showstopper….The book’s greatest triumph — and there are many — is Jonny’s voice, which falls somewhere between bright-eyed kid and jaded industry veteran (of course, he is both)….In addition to an exquisite rendering of Jonny’s growing awareness, the novel provides other delights [and] plenty of genuinely affecting moments. As Jonny realizes he has the money and power of an island nation, he feels the disappointments of his life more keenly and asserts himself in ways that aren’t anywhere near family friendly; we discover he is a flawed child in addition to an exploited one and empathize with him because of it. In the end, “The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” is a serious book that is way more fun than the life of a child star." (Boston Globe)

"Heartbreaking and amusing...more than anything, Jonny reminded me of Jack, the 5-year-old captive narrator of Emma Donoghue's Room. Like Room, this novel takes a sordid tabloid situation and illuminates it with a child's voice so real you want to climb inside the book and rescue him."

New York Daily News
“At once brilliantly funny and beautifully written…The Love Song of Jonny Valentine is a novel of many distinctions…Consistently engaging and lively.…Wayne never sacrifices the reader’s sympathies. Jonny is a victim of popular culture, and we wince for him throughout brilliantly awkward set-pieces: a choreographed “homecoming” where he completely fails to communicate with a former best friend, an ill-fated trip to a nightclub with his mischievous support act and an appearance on a Letterman-esque show that channels David Foster Wallace.…If there is any justice in the world, with The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, Wayne will have penned a chart-busting hit.”
BookReporter.com
"The best—and only—tween-pop novel you'll ever read. The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, the second novel from rising star Teddy Wayne, depicts the world of prepackaged pop through the eyes of a precocious 11-year-old tween idol (think Justin Bieber by way of Holden Caulfield)." (Details)

"Wayne brilliantly narrates from the perspective of Jonny's tweenage prison...Reading about Jonny means rooting for him, even though there is a sense that he, like so many real stars who we will never know so well, is already long gone." (Boston Phoenix)

"Few novels with child narrators can truly appeal to adults in a complex way. Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away and, of course, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird are obvious exceptions, and we can add this novel to the list."

Kirkus Reviews
A provocative and bittersweet illumination of celebrity from the perspective of an 11-year-old pop sensation. In his second novel (Kapitoil, 2010), Wayne once again sees American culture through the eyes of an exceptional outsider--in this case, a pre-pubescent pop star managed by his mother and exploited by everyone involved with his life and career. As the novel's narrator, Jonny is a complex character who is both wise beyond his years (in the areas of marketing, merchandising and branding) and more naïve in relating to others his age and the world beyond show business. He seems most at home either onstage or in the video game that becomes a metaphor for his life. And if the novel has a weakness, it's that Wayne seems a little too fond of the telegraphed punch of such symbolism, as when Jonny must write a paper for his tutor about slavery and discovers (surprise!) that much of what he has learned applies to him. Yet, Jonny is such an engaging, sympathetic character that his voice carries the novel, from what he does know ("that was the whole point of becoming a rock star for a lot of guys. I didn't know that when I started out, but once you see seriously ugly bassists backstage with models, you figure it out") to what he doesn't (crucial details about his mother, father, family and career). Rather than turning Jonny into a caricature or a figure of scorn the way some of his critics do ("a cult of personality swirling around a human being who...may not be in possession of...an actual personality"), the novel invites the reader inside Jonny's fishbowl, showing what it takes to gain and sustain what he has and how easily he could lose it. Best of all is his relationship with an artist who made it through this arduous rite of passage, the Timberlake to Jonny's Bieber, who teaches him that "The people with real power are always behind the scenes. Talent gets chewed up and used. Better to be the one chewing." A very funny novel when it isn't so sad, and vice versa.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476705873
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
682,955
File size:
6 MB

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What People are saying about this

The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
"Sad-funny, sometimes cutting...more than a scabrous sendup of American celebrity culture; it’s also a poignant portrait of one young artist’s coming of age.

Meet the Author

Teddy Wayne, the author of Loner, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, and Kapitoil, is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship as well as a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award, PEN/Bingham Prize, and Dayton Literary Peace Prize. He writes regularly for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. He lives in New York.

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The Love Song of Jonny Valentine: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Call me a crazy teen pop fan, but I loved this book that is completely loosely based on the life of a teen pop star maybe like a certain Justin Bieber.  As I grew up along side the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, I may have a close affection for anything pop and teen!  Jonathan Valentino or Jonny Valentine is a very very young 11 year old singing sensation who through YouTube has gotten a record deal and is in the middle of a tour across the U.S.  The book takes you through the cities of his tour, along the road are quite a few antics with his momager, security, vocal coach, tutor and so many others that impact this teen heartthrob!
MaryGramlich More than 1 year ago
Where do you go when you are too far away from home to return? Jonny Valentine is an eleven-year-old child prodigy with the voice of an angel and a mother who managed to capture his talent and run with it all the way to the bank.  This does not make Jane mother of the year but her ability to tap into a market ripe with cash flow is her brilliance and control her mantra.  There are chefs, bodyguards, and more entourage than Jonny could have ever imagined possible when he started out and still cannot take it all in.  Growing up in the spotlight creates an illusion of grandeur it is hard to keep someone regular when like Jonny they are truly extraordinary.     People come and go in Jonny’s life, some leaving positive impressions while others provide experiences best not repeated.   Jonny must live life in a fish bowl where every move is magnified, and every image reprinted with a caption designed to  suit the moment.  All the while Jonny sings for his fans, serves to satisfy the masses depending on him for an income and searching for real relationships where he can find them.  Jonny also sets out to seek solace from the one man missing in his life, his father.  Chasing memories does not always allow you to make them stay. There is so much in this captivating read that makes you take a deep breath and pause to take it all in and understand the gravity of every decision we make.  The one aspect of this book that is clearly defined is the destruction one can have with a misplaced word or ill-timed comment
jak18 More than 1 year ago
Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be pop stars. Unless perhaps you can be their manager. Jonny Valentine is 11 going on 12. He is in the second year of mega-fame as a tween pop idol. Think Justin Bieber. His single mother, abandoned by his father when he was a toddler, is his manager. For an unreliable narrator, he is pretty savvy, but there are some things an 11-year-old boy just can't figure out. I read the book because of my long and ambivalent relationship with the music business. It's a manual on how pop stars are created and maintained. It also translates those stories we all pretend we don't read in People Magazine and the tabloids into what really goes on when two stars go on a date or end a romantic relationship, get a bad concert review, etc. The book is wildly entertaining even while it breaks your heart every time you remember that Jonny is still shy of his 12th birthday. As we follow him on a multiple city tour and learn how he has to sneak around to even send an email, how lonely he is, how little choice he has over what he eats, and on and on. If you want to maintain your illusions about celebrity in the 21st century, do NOT read this book. I think it belongs in an indestructible box of books we can save and all read after the apocalypse, as we rub our heads and say, "What were we thinking?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GrammyReading More than 1 year ago
initially jonny was not the goal...wanted to read this for the story...young tween makes good in music...the juice, the meat of the matter...but along the way i heard jonny's heart beating...the valentine part. of him that cried out what about me..his fans, the industry, the media, even his mom and eventually his dad...all wanted some payoff...a piece of jonny that only he could give, a part of his creativity, his energy, his soul...eating and playing video games, his only vices until he found others...and witnessed first hand the results of discovering too many vices...yearning for a connection to a past that had not much to do with his future....jonny and his body guard walter...traveling through the tunnels of life and celebrity...cautiously, carefully, sometimes carelessly...but always caring..sometimes caring too much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago