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Book Review: Rock Bottom AT The Renaissance by Mike Henneberger

Title: Rock Bottom At The Renaissance ( An emo kids journey through falling in and out of love in and with New York City )

Author: Mike Henneberger

Publishing: Berger Media

Good Reads Summary:

New York City is an easy place to romanticize. Artists, writers, musicians, and their books, TV shows, films, and songs have been doing it for more than a century. I am not one of those writers, and this is not one of those books.

New York City is also an easy place for a hopeless romantic to just become…hopeless–especially when you’re a music-obsessed nerd who grew up on pop-punk, emo, and John Cusack movies. Add some major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, A.D.D., and all the prescriptions and other poisons pumping through your veins, and hopeless pretty much becomes your default setting.

This book is about winning and losing–written, literally, as a big winner who never felt more like a loser. It’s about how mental illness is funny that way, but also not funny at all. But more than anything, it’s about fighting through mental struggles every day to create something that gets you to the next one. And it’s about the music that kept me alive, the artists who were often my only friends, and words–mine and theirs–that gave me hope.

Teri’s Review:

In his new book, Rock Bottom At The Renaissance Mike Henneberger has given us what he calls a mixtape memoir of his memories tied to different songs. Each chapter is a song title, and interspaced between his writing are lyrics that give us a look into how the songs play into the memory. Songs by Bayside, Dangerous Summer, and my favorite, Mayday Parade ( That was such a sad chapter ) all make appearances.

The book takes place over a weekend in the Renaissance Hotel in Times Square in New York City, where he has locked himself in supposedly to write. He has armed himself with a bottle of Scotch, a bottle of Adderall, a bottle of Xanax, and a bottle of Ambien.

He starts by giving us a short backstory of his childhood in Texas, then moves on to him moving to New York City. A lot of the book involves The Girl, or several girls, who are also in New York City, the ones he thinks he might be falling in love with, he admits he falls in love way too easily, but you will have to read the book yourself to see if he gets the girl… I’m leaving all that out.

He tries to make sense of his life, his emotions, and his addictions during that weekend, and at times I felt I was right there with him, listening as he was personally telling me his story, his writing is honest and raw, and I enjoyed the personal feeling I got from it.

It is also a story of how at times drug use and mental health collide, from writing a “ just in case “ suicide note because your drug use is heavy and you really want to live; to taking pills to help cope with the feeling of loneness only to find they just seem to amp up the feelings.  It is an important look at mental health, something that needs to be looked at in a real way, but during all the drugs, the looking for a girl, the attempts to settle himself so you can accomplish his writing, Henneberger never loses his sense of humor, Keeping the book on the light side.

People tell me all the time that a certain song reminds them of this or it reminds them of him or her. There are even album compilations out now where some of our favorite artists do covers of songs that they felt helped saved their lives. Often when I put on an album it instantly transports me back to a certain time in my life, sometimes I enjoy the send back and others I would rather forget. That is one of the things I took from this book, and I got it fairly early on, that music, and the bands that give us music are important in our lives, they help shape our memories, either good or bad, and sometimes their words are so imporant in our lives, they may just save it.

About Teri (2994 Articles)
You can usually find me traveling, queuing, or at barricade for a band. I am most likely doing all three things in a day. If I'm not at a concert you can also find me digging through crates for that coveted black disc of vinyl.

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