Book Review: Gypsies Stole My Tequila

gypsies

Punk, aging, and the Devil

If Robert Johnson were a punk, there is no doubt that he still would have sold his soul to the devil back on that infamous day at a Mississippi crossroads. But instead of selling his soul for musical ability, he would have hocked it for the ability to never grow up into responsible adulthood. Joe Blood and his wasted band mates in Blood Blister weren’t that smart, instead making a pact with the devil that they would jump off a cliff if they were responsible adults not playing music at age 40, getting nothing in return. Twenty years later, the devil is living in Joe’s calendar, taunting him as he counts down to his 40th birthday, waiting to collect his dues. That’s one plotline.

Joe’s old bassist, Vin, achieved financial success after Blood Blister’s demise. He keeps top-of-the-line basses as home décor and provided his son and his stoner friends the best instruments money can buy. But money can’t buy drive and Vin gets fed up with the kids using the studio to do nothing but smoke pot and play their instruments separately (when at all), so he challenges Joe to make something out of these miscreants, telling him that he needs to be creating music.  Sold on the idea, this other plot line becomes a sort of Bad News Bears with expensive equipment. Through hard-ass torture, he is able to mold these three into actual musicians, with him leading the way as the front man.

The two plots never really connect, which was a bit odd. One plotline is a down-to-earth, make the most of your second chance story, while the other is a very outlandish scenario that really makes the reader leave all realism at the door. I was interested in both parts. They transitioned into each other well, although I had trouble making the connection between the two. I found interest in both plotlines, though I sometimes wished that they were two separate stories, each going further in detail.

This is a story that appeals to different age groups. It would be an interesting study to compare interpretations from a group of 18-year-olds versus a group of 40-year-olds since these are the age groups consciously featured in this story. The contrast between age and youth is prominent throughout this piece of fiction. Like in real life, the youth think their elders don’t know what in the hell they are talking about, until they are proven wrong. Age and experience wins out over youthful naivety, and Joe Blood ends up getting the last laugh in the end, while Gypsies Stole My Tequila (the horrible name that the young ones decided on) played a dream show, opening for Naphula.

At 134 pages, Gypsies Stole My Tequila is a quick read that is funny, entertaining and thought-provoking. While the two plotlines were different as can be, it never hindered my enjoyment of the book. I got used to those differences pretty quickly, eagerly awaiting the outcome in both.  Adrienne Jones is a strong writer, with a knack for putting together great sentences. While I’ve seen plots similar to this, Jones has a great and unique way of telling the story.

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