Author Robyn Schneider includes music in several scenes from her new book, The Beginning of Everything. This inclusion goes a long way towards setting the mood of a scene and giving glimpses into the characters’s personalities. For Jukebooks this week, then, I’ll give you a sneak peek of this excellent book, complete with musical score. Schneider doesn’t mention specific songs so I’ve selected these from the respective artist’s discography.
Seventeen year-old Ezra is enjoying the good life. President of his junior class, handsome, and athletic, Ezra has a beautiful girlfriend and a BMW. It’s the night of another onerous high school party when everything changes. Already weary of the antics of his drunken friends, Ezra discovers his beautiful girlfriend in bed with another guy. In a stupor of pain, Ezra rushes from the party. But as he begins to drive away, a black SUV races through a stop sign, crashes into Ezra’s BMW, and then speeds away.
Ezra is badly injured. He spends the summer between junior and senior year in bed recuperating. He’s lost it all – his sport, his girlfriend, his social status, his car. Ezra obsessively listens to “fantastically depressing old music” by Bob Dylan. To captured Ezra’s mood, here is one of the many raw, gut-wrenching Dylan tunes, Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.
But life isn’t stagnant, and Ezra builds a different life. He rekindles an old friendship, gets involved in other activities, and meets Cassidy. As the two of them sit in Ezra’s car, sharing one of those awkward what-to-say moments, the Shins are playing quietly on the radio.
Here’s their Simple Song, edited for length.
Schneider gives the reader a sense of Ezra’s new friends simply by their taste in music. One telling scene involves Ezra hanging out with this group while they are on the road for a debate competition. One of the guys puts on Beyonce, and “everyone groans.” The popular choice? Bon Iver. So not Beyonce.
Here’s Skinny Love:
There are many books that mention music that characters love, hate, or happen to hear at a party. Let me know your favorites – Jukebooks thrives on suggestions!
-Diane Colson, currently reading The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt, and listening to The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, narrated by Christine Lakin