Band in the Wind
Review Excerpts (Full Reviews Below)
“This book is almost that perfect blend of music, nostalgia, a coming-of-age story...and tragedy! It really does have a bit of everything. Highly entertaining.” – ONLINE BOOK CLUB REVIEW #1 - 4/4 stars
“This is a deeply moving, suspenseful, and yet mesmerizing book. Give this book a try, it will grab your attention and suck you in from page one.” ONLINE BOOK CLUB REVIEW #2 – 4/4 stars
“This book was so well written, it felt like my grandfather was telling me his life’s story and I had tears in my eyes on several occasions.” –ONLINE BOOK CLUB REVIEW - #3 – 4/4 Stars
This story showcases the author's talent as a successful writer. He shows his ability to create characters, and storylines that are the page turning types. You know the feeling you get when you can’t wait to see what happens next? That, for me, is well delivered in this book. In my evaluation, this work by Rostron is an exceptional one. - ONLINE BOOK CLUB REVIEW #4
This tale told by Rostron succeeds…massively. It is a story told with dollops of nitty and gritty but also some blasts and burns that will thrill you as powerfully as…well…as a power chord. A giant power chord, amped up with emotions, friendship, cruelty, hate, revenge and love. - James J. Spina (contributor to Rolling Stone, Hit Parader, Creem, and Mojo) Amazon 5/5Stars
“Rostron’s beautifully-crafted sentences, as well as his mastery of plot, characterization, and structure, help make this book a must read for book-lovers hoping to experience the lost, yet somehow lingering, days of 1960s American culture."
Michael L. Burduck, - Professor of English - Tennessee Tech University
This novel really rocks! Rostron brilliantly evokes the time (The 60s), the place (Cambria Heights, Queens, NY) and most importantly the music. Most novels about Rock'n'Roll are filled with clichés that just ring hollow, but this book just gets it right. The author really knows his music and really knows how to use it to set the tone. – DSPIN - formerly of MTV_Amazon 5/5________________________________________________________________________________
Full Reviews . . .
Review by James J. Spina
This tale told by Rostron succeeds…massively. It is a story told with dollops of nitty and gritty but also some blasts and burns that will thrill you as powerfully as…well…as a power chord. A giant power chord, amped up with emotions, friendship, cruelty, hate, revenge, and love. Real love for the music and the muses that make the music what it is: Rock music and the role it plays in the lives of a cast of oh-so-real characters and a storyteller that has me gasping for an encore. This is a novel that soundtracks the life and lives of what it means to be in a band for life…and…death. - James J. Spina (contributor to Rolling Stone, Hit Parader, Creem, and Mojo)
Review by Michael L. Burduck
"Readers won’t have to be from Queens, NY or have played in rock bands to appreciate this magnificent novel. Rostron’s beautifully-crafted sentences, as well as his mastery of plot, characterization, and structure, help make this book a must read for book-lovers hoping to experience the lost, yet somehow lingering, days of 1960s American culture."
Michael L. Burduck, - Professor of English - Tennessee Tech University
Review by D-Spin
This novel really rocks! Rostron brilliantly evokes the time (The 60s), the place (Cambria Heights, Queens, NY) and most importantly the music. Most novels about Rock'n'Roll are filled with clichés that just ring hollow, but this book just gets it right. The author really knows his music and really knows how to use it to set the tone. – DSPIN - formerly of MTV
ONLINE BOOK CLUB - Review #1
“Those were the best days of my life.' They really were. And just like the words in the Bryan Adams' song 'The Summer of '69,' I did buy my first six-string at a five-and-dime, and I did play it until my fingers bled. And we did have a band, and we did try real hard...However, that's where my story diverges from the song...Unlike the characters in the song, my Jimmy didn't quit, and my Joey didn't get married. In my life, they died. In fact, except for me, they all died. And I have never told the story before."
This is the compelling introduction to the novel Band in the Wind by William John Rostron, a tale surrounding the recovered journal of Johnny Cippitelli ("Johnny Cipp"), one of five young members of Those Born Free, a band out of Cambria Heights in Queens, New York. Johnny's journal, discovered after being washed up on a beach in 1990, details the story of the band he played in with four other young musicians in the late 1960s. With Jimmy McAvoy ("Jimmy Mac") on drums and vocals, Giovanni DeAngelis ("Gio") on rhythm guitar and vocals, Rocco Brackowski ("Bracko") on lead guitar and vocals, Joseph Tinley ("Tinman") on keyboard, and Johnny on bass, they possessed the talent, the will, and the work ethic to go far. Cambria Heights was rife with gangs, violence, and racism. A tough place to grow up, the boys saw music as their only way out to a better life and were willing to give it everything to get there. Alas, they never made it...
The book also included historical background about Cambria Heights in Queens, New York, where Johnny and his friends grew up. I got a real sense of the issues of their adolescence, such as teen gangs and the racial division of the time. Blacks and whites lived in separate neighbourhoods and the penalties for encroaching into the other's territory were often severe. Some of the gang violence and the beatings administered to those of different skin colour were horrific.
Rostron featured entries from Johnny's journal, which were conversational and candid. I really felt like I was journeying through life with a young Johnny as he and his friends formed their band and dealt with the issues in their lives. I felt the emotional connection Johnny had to the music, especially when someone put their heart and soul into playing a particular song. Each journal entry started with a song title from that era, which tied in thematically with that part of the story. Soon, I found myself swept up in the excitement as these young men found each other and their musical dreams started to come together.
Johnny Cipp's journal included some great foreshadowing of the tragedy to come while giving no spoilers about what it might be. This hook, which made me select this book in the first place, kept me reading all the way through the story. Though morbid, I just had to know what happened to these talented musicians to end their lives so young. In the end, as I suspected, Band in the Wind was an incredibly hard and gut-wrenching story to read, moving and powerful. I found the ending sad and emotionally draining, which I believe is the greatest mark of success for a story like this. Bringing your readers to the brink of tears is a true test of great character development, and Rostron succeeded admirably. Knowing these boys as well as I did by the end, I found it really tough to read about their deaths.
I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys coming-of-age stories about young people following their dreams against the odds, but I believe music lovers will definitely get something extra out of it, as I did.
ONLINE BOOK CLUB - Review #2
This is an epic, coming of age, fictional tale of 5 guys who form a band together in the era of the 1960’s in Queens NY. It is creative storytelling that is set in a rock and roll environment. This story is brought to life through journal entries that were made by the main character, Johnny Cippitelli, back in the 60s. However in 1990, many years later, the journal resurfaces when it washes up on a beach. The allure of the experiences recorded in that journal will draw the reader in from the beginning to the end, as it did for me.
The time period for the setting of this story, the 1960s, brings with it the truthful history of the negative issues faced at that time. This era in our nation’s history had immense racial strife and violence. This unrest extended not only throughout America, but also in the local neighborhoods as well. Rostron skillfully intertwines this chaotic time period with the family histories, and experiences of the 5 multi-dimensional characters in this book. He adds musical references of the 1960s and correlates them with the entries in the journal. The combination of these elements provides an emotional roller coaster for the reader, or it did for me. The characters are not only believable but likeable and relatable. And, because of that, when I reached the end of this book I was emotionally drained. This positively reflects on Rostron and his ability to master the art of storytelling. I felt as though I experienced firsthand, the highs and lows, the stable times and the moments of upheaval for the characters in this book. In fact, what I liked most and disliked most is essentially the same with this book. The portrayal of these characters was so precise and accurate, which I liked, but at the same time, I can say I disliked in some ways as well. The euphoric feelings are great, of course, However, the feelings you experience when a relatable character meets an unfortunate ending, for example, are usually the ones that you do not like to process in real life, or most people don’t, myself included.
On a positive note,in regard to Rostron, this story showcases his talents as a successful writer. He shows his ability to create characters, and storylines that are the page turning types. You know the feeling you get when you can’t wait to see what happens next? That,for me, is well delivered in this book. In my evaluation, this work by Rostron is an exceptional one.
Going forward, this book will appeal to an audience who enjoys coming of age stories, as well as, perhaps music lovers, and especially the music of the 1960s . It does not contain adult graphic scenes but does include an occasional use of profanity. The first instance being on page 8 with the word "sh*t". I did not notice typographical errors, incorrect spellings, or any other grammatical issues. In my opinion the book appears as being well edited. Overall, I found the book to be entertaining, thought provoking, and overall a powerful story to read. I will gladly recommend this book, and as such, would give a rating of 3 out of 4
ONLINE BOOK CLUB - Review #3
"A coming of age - A coming together - A coming of tragedy ... and all they cared about was Music." The description of Band In The Wind by William John Rostron points out the basics of the book. It is "a coming of age" book in that it follows five members of the band, Those Born Free, as they grow up in Cambria Heights in Queens, New York. It's "a coming together" book in that it leads us through the ways the band members find each other through their love of music. It's "a coming of tragedy" book in that it delves us into each member's personal tragedies, the tragedies of the band, and cultivates in an ultimate tragedy.
This book opens with the journal of Johnny Cippitelli (Johnny Cipp) washing ashore on a beach. This journal tells of his life and the band member's lives as they grow up in Cambria Heights in Queens, NY during the '50s and '60s. This was a time of racial violence and Mafia influence. Both of which are outlined throughout the book. The journal introduces us to each band member and their life. There is Jimmy McAvoy (Jimmy Mac) on the drums and vocals. His path in life was supposed to be the family business of running his family's candy store. Giovanni DeAngelis (Gio) on rhythm guitar and vocals. He is Johnny's best friend and loyal to his family. Rocco Brackowski (Bracko) on lead guitar and vocals. Bracko's life is paved with domestic abuse. Joseph Tinley, Jr. (Tinman) on keyboard. He was trying to get out from under his father's pressure for him to succeed in doing classical music. Johnny Cippitelli (Johnny Cipp) on bass. It's his words that we are reading as the story unfolds. It's his influence that centers the story. Maria, Johnny Cipp's girlfriend, also plays a part in the story. She is the influence as to why he makes the decisions that he does.
Rostron does a great job of putting us in the time and place of Johnny's life. The description of Cambria Heights made me feel as if I was there at that time. It also sets the stage as to how much of an impact the environment in which they live has on their lives. Rostron also delves us into the intimate lives of each member. He uses music to tie all of this together by titling each journal entry with a song of the time.
I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. I liked most that the book incorporated the voice of Johnny as well as a neutral descriptive voice intertwined between the journal entries. I can't say that I disliked anything about the book. Rosten hooked me from the first page and kept my interest with the hinting of an ultimate tragedy throughout. I had to keep reading to find out what that tragedy was. I also deeply cared about each band member and Johnny enough so that I had to find out how their lives turned out.
Rostron used the music of the times to tie in each journal entry. This was an ingenious concept and will appeal to any music lover. He takes us down a trip in the band's lives with music leading the way.
There were some punctuation and spelling issues, such as "passed" for "past", but they aren't worth mentioning as they are the ambiance of journal writing. Find me a journal that is 100% error-free. Without the minor errors, it wouldn't have felt like a journal.
This book appealed to me for several reasons. The music spoke to me. The music fit in with the scheme of the time. The way it was written, in journal form, appealed to me the most. I like feeling that I am in a character's mind.
This is a deeply moving, suspenseful, and yet mesmerizing book. I would recommend it to anyone who grew up in the '50s and '60s, who grew up in New York, and anyone who likes music. It will also appeal to anyone who likes to immerse themselves into the private life of a character. The book may not appeal to the younger generation unless they are familiar with the times and/or like music. Of course, with the descriptiveness of the book, they may become immersed into the time even if it is unfamiliar to them. Give this book a try, it will grab your attention and suck you in from page one.
ONLINE BOOK CLUB - Review #4
Band in the Wind, written by William John Rostron, is about a teenager who is full of hopes and dreams living under difficult circumstances. It is dated in the 1950s, 1960s where people had to deal with poverty, World War, racism, gangs, etc. This book describes a young teenager’s life, how life’s circumstances sometimes made things seem helpless and sometimes hopeful.
Johnny Cipp, the main character in this book, comes from a hard working good family. Even though he tries to stay clear from trouble, sometimes trouble cannot be avoided. Life is just funny that way. Grabbing his chance and fighting through tragedies, he almost reaches his goal. What he wants most is to succeed so he can get out of town and marry his teenage sweetheart. Johnny and his friends, who each have their own reasons for wanting a new chance in life, create a band. After a lot of effort, frustration, disappointments they finally get their chance. He and his friends manage to get an opportunity to reach their goals through their music. However, one day, the unfairness of life, violence and revenge knock on their doors as well. How does Jonny deal with that? You have to read it and find out for yourself.
This book was so well written, it felt like my grandfather was telling me his life’s story and I had tears in my eyes on several occasions. It was descriptive and that gave a very clear sense of the era. While reading this book I was swept away into the world of the 50s and 60s. I could picture the characters, the scenery and feel their emotions. Their agony and desires. Their fear and bravery.
It is a very well written book and professionally edited. There are a few swear words included but nothing that I found offensive. A few scenes of violence are included, so if that’s not your thing, give this book a miss. The story takes us back and forth in time and it’s done in such a way that you can easily follow. There are entries of Jonny’s diary and each sector has a song dedicated to it which I found was a very smart touch that added personality to this book.
I give this book a 4 out of 4 because it was well written, well developed story line and no errors. I really liked how real this story felt. There was nothing I disliked about this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes reading real life stories. I shall leave you with a quote from the book that sums up the essence of Band in the Wind. "In reality, even when those things were bad, they were good. It was the world that I lived in that wasn’t good…"