Review of Charm City Rocks: A Love Story by Matthew Norman
Charm City Rocks is sweet, interesting, and layered. I loved this story about relationships, complications, famous/everyday person romance, and a love of music that binds.
Billy Perkins is a music teacher living above a record store in Baltimore called Charm City Rocks with his beloved teen son Caleb. He's content co-parenting with his ex-partner Robyn, who is remarried.
Margot Hammer, on the other hand, is miserable. The former drummer of the popular band Burnt Flowers is, decades later, a recluse living in New York City.
When a documentary shines a light on Margot again, Billy's longtime crush on the musician is renewed. Caleb cooks up a scheme to get Margot to perform at Charm City Rocks so his dad, who Caleb thinks is lonely, can finally meet Margot and, if all goes as planned, hopefully forge a connection.
I was in love with Charm City Rocks--the Baltimore love, the embracing of the beauty in an everyday life and in straightforward affection, the heartbreak of missed chances, and the soaring hearts who find renewed belief in true love.
The everyday-person/famous-person love is a favorite trope of mine, and Norman adds emotional complexities to each of the main characters' situations so that their ups and downs feel appealingly realistic.
There's no false-feeling angst or drummed-up (see what I did there?) drama in Charm City Rocks. The relationships are messy and wonderful, the characters are interesting, and I was captivated by the focus on making music as an escape, an outlet, or a compulsion.
This is a perfect light-fiction read that's fun and funny, but never silly.
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I received a prepublication edition of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Dell.