I’m supposed to be better than this. I’m supposed to have a tenure-track job teaching music history to undergrads, writing papers about Bach, and proving to kids like me that you can work your way out of Harlem. I’m not supposed to be following a rock star around the country, fetching his mail, making sure his groupies are of age.
I’m definitely not supposed to be sleeping with said rock star, who claims to be the Greek God Dionysus. At first I thought it was a load of crap. Nik’s fans might think his music captures their hearts—and souls—but I knew better. Until one of Nik’s orgiastic concerts gets out of hand and I don’t know which is worse: that he might be a god after all, or that he has a body count.
Nik doesn’t care what I want or what I should be. He wants to tear down the world I’ve built, warping all I am, until his music is all that’s left of me. I can’t let him do that. I shouldn’t believe in him. I’ve seen what happens to the people who believe in him.
I read The Backup three weeks ago and as I’m still contemplating the book, thinking about what I read, wondering if I understood it as the author intended, that makes it a 5-star read for me. What follows is what I stayed up to write out so I could get my thoughts down on paper because I wasn’t sure how well I would be able to process it after I fell asleep because I was up until the wee hours of the morning finishing the book. It’s a mess of a review, but it still holds true.
I don’t know how to write this review. I’m baffled. I’m confused. I’m not entirely certain that I understand what I read. I’m not sure if my confusion is because much of the music terminology in the beginning was over my head. Or maybe I connected with Anthony better than I realized. Maybe it was a combination of the two.
Frustration. Confusion. Acceptance. Out. I just wanted out.
This book made me think harder than I have in a long time, and for that alone it gets five stars. In the beginning, I scoffed too. I agreed with Anthony’s assessment about the Kool-Aid and that Nik bought into his own hype. I suspect if I were to re-read it right now, even knowing what I know, I still would scoff. That’s because I’m still not sure if I fully understand what I read. I also think that this is a book that will read different every time you pick it up.
I found this to be a very heavy read, but you may not. It’s true that everyone reads a book differently because of their own personal experiences. I think that applies even more to this book. I suspect some readers will dive in, accept Nik at face value, and enjoy the ride. I envy those readers because as I write this I’ve come to understand that I connected with Anthony better than I realized and it makes my head hurt. I might not understand fully what I read, but I enjoyed the journey.
Final note: My references to not understanding have nothing to do with the author’s writing style, but rather the way in which the story unfolded – it left me wondering whose truth was to be believed – but I truly believe that was intentional on the author’s part. The Backup was a fascinating read and one which I will read again.