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Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me – Martin Millar

Ha! I just realized that this is both another Soft Skull Press book (like Jamestown) and another Strand dollar book (like Jamestown), but this is where the similarities end. This book was enjoyable.

I recently read another Millar book and this one was also good, but very different.

Glasgow, Scotland, 1972. To the utter astonishment of the narrator, Martin Millar, and his friends in the Scottish boondocks—Glasgow seeming to them pretty much as out of the way and provincial as it could get, and hardly likely to attract a band that elsewhere filled stadiums—Led Zeppelin, the mighty Lords of Asgard, are coming to Glasgow.

Martin and his equally nerdy best friend Greg have overactive imaginations. When they aren’t fighting the monstrous hordes of Xotha, they are competing for the attentions of Suzy. But she’s not likely to ditch Zed, the hippest boy in the school, for the likes of them, is she? Overhead, a Zeppelin approaches. Its passengers, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Hank Williams, think it’s worth leaving heaven to see the greatest rock band in the world. Even the fairies are fans.

Meanwhile, twenty years later, Martin is trying to keep body and soul together in London, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, pretending to judge a literary competition and telling his friend, depressed single mother Manx, about the of his new book Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me, realizing what a stupid boy he was to have been chasing Suzy, when the sweet if rather plain girl Cherry is besotted with him.

Still, with Plant and Page on the way, anything can happen. Suzy may break your heart, but Led Zeppelin will never let you down…

I don’t know if I would have liked this book as much if I didn’t already love Led Zeppelin because it kind of meandered and didn’t really have a point. I think maybe for me it was just a great backdrop for my own memories of the world’s greatest rock band.  Zep was long over a good 10 years before I was born, but for me, Led Zeppelin will always be associated with intense love, lust, heartbreak and magic. And I think that unless you hate them (which I don’t really understand, but accept), everyone has the same kind of connection to the band. Except for “Stairway” which we all claim to hate, but still love (it has its moments).

This is definitely one of those books where you need a soundtrack and where I regretted never joining the digital music revolution. And as soon as Frank leaves the house I will put on my albums and rock out.

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