Book Review: Sex, Drugs & Opera

I mentioned a few days prior that I hadn’t read a novel since my senior year of high school (almost 14 years ago). As hard as it might be to believe I’m not much of a reader, I’m just not. Alas, on a bored whim, and going through a bit of a dry spell with reading (I DO read a lot of philosophy and general nonfiction; just not so many novels) I decided I would give this one a shot. After reading it, I figured it was only fair to give it a rather amateur-ish review.

Written by Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears fame, Sex, Drugs & Opera: There’s Life After Rock ‘n’ Roll tells the story of a semi-retired popstar, Solomon Capri, who seems to have the good life. However, not all is as it seems in his life, with a marriage on the rocks and other home life trouble. Capri frantically scrambled to re-kindle a music career, but not as a pop star, but by returning to his teenage years to try to reinvent himself as an opera singer. Sex, Drugs & Opera tells the story of his trials and tribulations in both his professional and personal lives, with a few very interesting and very unexpected plot twists. I shall not reveal anything in too much detail here as to not spoil it for potential readers, but let’s just say if you like intensity, this book is a must-read.

The pacing of the novel was what I would call medium to fast, or so it seemed. Maybe it was my interest level, but I read this book in about 10 hours total. The print edition being 272 pages long, that’s 27.2 pages per hour, which I’m sure seems slow for many of you avid readers but it felt fast for me, the slower reader. Character development was adequate, substantial enough to get a personality of each character but maybe not too many of the really fine details. The story is told from a first-person perspective through the eyes of the main character Solomon Capri, and some accounts were so vivid that I couldn’t help but wonder if Orzabal was just novelizing his own experiences. A little research showed that some events are loosely based on events in his personal life but not much more. Transition from chapter to chapter was well done, keeping me on my toes just wondering what happens next.

This is very much a book for mature audiences. There are some sex scenes and multiple references of substance abuse (predictable from the title) and quite a lot of strong profanity, as well as some other very adult drama. It’s not so X-rated as to be pornographic, but this is not an appropriate book for a child or young teenager. An older teenager should be able to handle the content reasonably well.

Needless to say I thought this was an excellent book. Is there anything Roland Orzabal can’t do? He really knows how to write a pop song, he’s got pipes for days, he plays multiple instruments, does art and has now proven his writing prowess. A quick and engaging read, Sex Drugs & Opera should make its way into any book enthusiast’s reading list. If you can handle the mature content, you will enjoy this book.

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