Remember last week, when we had the best time reading Dave Holmes’s amazing review of The Book of Henry? (And if you haven’t read that, you must.) I am very pleased that today, we’re giving away three copies of his memoir, Party of One, which just came out in paperback, and which was one of NPR’s best books of 2016.
Dave Holmes has spent his life on the periphery, nose pressed hopefully against the glass, wanting just one thing: to get inside. Growing up, he was the artsy son in the sporty family. At his all-boys high school and Catholic college, he was the closeted gay kid surrounded by crush-worthy straight guys. And in his twenties, in the middle of a disastrous career in advertising, he accidentally became an MTV VJ overnight when he finished second, naturally, in the Wanna Be a VJ contest, opening the door to fame, fortune, and celebrity—you know, almost.
In Party of One, Holmes tells the hilariously painful and painfully hilarious tales—in the vein of Rob Sheffield, Andy Cohen, and Paul Feig—of an outsider desperate to get in, of a misfit constantly changing shape, of a music geek who finally learns to accept himself. Structured around a mix of hits and deep cuts from the last four decades—from Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” to LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge” and Bleachers’ “I Wanna Get Better”—and punctuated with interludes like “So You’ve Had Your Heart Broken in the 1990s: A Playlist” and “Notes on (Jesse) Camp,” this book is for anyone who’s ever felt like a square peg, especially those who have found their place in the world around a band, an album, or a song. It’s a laugh-out-loud funny, deeply nostalgic story about never fitting in, never giving up, and letting good music guide the way.
I just got my own copy, and have been reading it all weekend — I love Holmes’s writing, and the book is really funny.
THE TASK: I’m going to (as always) pick the winners at random, but we need to keep it fun. Because so much of this book centers around music, please comment and tell us the most painful or noteworthy or totally random earworm you’ve ever had. Myself: I once had Bust a Move in my head for like three weeks straight. I have to say, it wasn’t that bad. It’s a very good song.
THE RULES: All entries must be posted in the comments of this post by 9 p.m. Pacific time on Friday. FYI, if this is the first time you’ve commented here, the system will automatically kick you into comment moderation, but don’t worry, I will rescue you. (Prizing courtesy of the publisher. Open to residents of the United States only. Thank you!)