Saturday, February 11, 2023

Everything is Just Beginning by Erin Bartels

 



Although stories about song writing and legends in the music industry don't normally interest me, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Erin Bartels novel, Everything is Just Beginning. I really appreciated the absence of profanity and promiscuity. The plot didn't need that extra "noise" to detract from the story itself.

Michael, an aspiring song writer, was recently kicked out of the band he'd been part of. He is crashing at his Uncle Mike's place but it's no kind of home. His uncle is fighting demons and family has never been that important to him. He conveniently lives in a trailer near music producer, Dusty Wheeler's home. Young Michael is hoping for a way to show some of his songs to Dusty--Michael knows that's his one shot at making it in the music business. 

So when an invitation to a summer party comes for his uncle, Michael decides he'll go instead (since they have the same name). He meets Dusty's daughter, Natalie, and they strike up a friendship and discover that they both have hurdles they are facing in their life. As Dusty, his wife Deb, and their daughter welcome Michael into their orbit, he begins to experience what a really family feels like. 

As Michael and Natalie face their individual trials, they discover that there is beauty even in the hardest lessons and that some dreams are worth fighting for. I loved the unpretentious representation of Dusty and Deb and the love they have for one another. They embody grace and patience and dispense nuggets of life wisdom to Michael. They help give him the foundation he needs to face the future--whatever that may hold.

I highly recommend this book. It sensitively portrays difficult topics of gambling and alcohol addictions, absent fathers, physical disability and terminal illness. Above all it shines a beautiful light on friendship, family, and never giving up on the people you love. I hope the author considers a sequel because these characters are lodged in my heart and I want to know the next chapter in each of their lives.  

 Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Everything is Just Beginning from NetGalley for the purpose of review; no other compensation was received.



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