There are two types of book I love above all else – historical fiction and books that involve music. You tell me a story is about music in the 1970s? I’m immediately sold! I loved this story, as I knew I would.
Author: Sarah Priscus
Genres: Historical Fiction, Music
There’s something I need to let you all know before anything else – Goodreads says Groupies is “perfect for fans of Daisy Jones & The Six, Mary Jane, and The Final Revival of Opal & Nev” – and I’m going to stop you right there and break it down for you.
Daisy Jones & The Six is about band life in the 1960s/1970s and their breakup. Groupies is literally about girls who are groupies – who try and sneak backstage so they can sleep with the band and become the bands ‘muse’. Daisy Jones is not like Groupies.
Mary Jane is set in the 1970s about a 14-year-old girl who is a nanny to a little girl in the household of a psychiatrist who is spending the summer treating a rockstar to kick his drug addiction. She is not a groupie, she is not trying to sleep with any band or become anyones muse.
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is told in flashbacks from the present and in the 1970s about a rock and roll group, possibly reuniting in the present, and a reporter is telling their story. This also features a young Black woman trying to make it in music in the 70s. There are no groupies (that I remember) in this story, nor is that the focus.
Sure, all these stories take place in the same era and are about music, but these three comparisons are false. I am here to tell you Groupies is perfect for fans of the movie Almost Famous. Almost Famous is about groupie culture, which is what this book is about. Please make that comparison instead. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
Now that I got that off my chest, we can start the review!
I love the movie Almost Famous and this book gave me similar vibes, but it is not the same story.
Faun decides to move from Massachusetts to Los Angeles to live with her high school best friend Josie and join the music scene out there. Faun is a photographer and wants to take her photography to the next level. Josie is the girlfriend of the famous Cal Holiday of the band Holiday Sun, a band Faun has always loved and would die to meet – and Josie can arrange that.
She soon works her way backstage at Holiday Sun shows and becomes important to the band – they all love having their photos taken, after all. She goes to all their shows, she goes to all their parties, she immerses herself completely in the groupie lifestyle. Through it all, she’s never without her handy polaroid camera around her neck, always snapping away and catching things that might be better off not seen on film. Faun soon sees it isn’t all glamour as she thought and there are dark sides and addictions abound.
Parts of this were predictable (we all know the 1970s was an era that not everyone made it out of alive) but as a die hard music fan myself, I loved reading Groupies and seeing a glimpse into this (fictional) world! I also thought some parts dragged on longer than necessary and felt repetitive, but then again, that’s what groupie culture is. I found myself always eager to read more though and really enjoyed this story. The ending felt a little open-ended for me, but it also felt fitting.
I really enjoyed this as an audiobook – I thought the narrator did a great job between Faun and all the various character voices, she made it really believable! I don’t think you’d be missing out if you didn’t listen to this though. I’m actually thinking there might be polaroid photos in the physical book – I haven’t picked up a copy yet but the narrator describes, “Photo 1: —, Photo 2: —” at the end of each chapter, so I’m guessing there are polaroids. I will update this once I know for sure!
If you’re a diehard fan of music, if you would do anything for the band you love, this book is for you. Groupie culture isn’t the same in the 2000’s as it was in the 1970’s, but if you know where to look, it’s still around to an extent. If you liked Almost Famous or historical fiction music stories – give this one a try. It was an entertaining read!