Growing up in a small rural West Virginian town, Rob had never experienced anything like punk music before. But once he and his twin brother Nat heard Pennywise for the first time in their cousin Anthony's basement, they were hooked. They knew this was it, this was what they were going to do with their lives. Music became everything; they bought instruments, formed a band, and began slowly turning their dream into a reality. They covered songs from their favorite punk bands, they started writing their own music, they played any gigs they could find -- they even made it onto Warped Tour. Everything seemed to be finally falling into place for Rob and his band. And then Rob got sick. And the dream was put on hold.
I didn't just read this book, I felt it. Die Young with Me is the raw, powerful true story of punk rocker Rob Rufus's battle with cancer; but it's about more than that. This is a story of heartbreak and determination, but it's also a story of overcoming, of fighting against the odds, of following your passion, of following that one thing that keeps you going.
My mother passed her love of reading down to me, but she also passed down her love of music, which is why this was such a perfect book for us to share. I related so much to the author and his connection with music. His love for it was clear on every page, and it's something I'm all too familiar with and something I absolutely loved. The connection he felt to music and the bands that made it, the feeling it gave him, how it gave him something to relate to and somewhere to belong? That hit me on such a deep level. And how Rob felt meeting one of his favorite bands was identical to the way I felt when I met mine. I loved reading from the perspective of someone who gets music, who appreciates it and loves it the way I do, which is what made me feel so connected to this story from the first chapter to the very last line (which was my favorite line of the book and one I wish I could include here).
I definitely recommend Die Young with Me to any music lovers, but I think this story has an important message that applies to everyone. Whether it's music or something else, we all have dreams of some kind, and they're all worth holding onto and fighting for.
Mckenzie sums up my feelings perfectly in her review and I loved this book just as much as she did, but I especially loved how we both related to the story and the author in different ways. I can recall with perfect clarity my very first visit to my town’s only record store. There was nothing like it. I had found my people. The way he describes his experience in his own small town, its only record store, and what music meant to him… what it did for him? Rob Rufus took me back – he gave me total recall on my trip down memory lane. There was no such thing as digital music, and going into that store will forever trump buying music to put on an iPhone. And the way this author tells a story… wow. I felt like we were having a conversation. Like I was curled up in my favorite chair listening to his life story – which is exactly what was happening. And the emotion. I laughed hard, and I cried hard, but I would barely start the crying before he had me laughing again. I raged with him, bled with him, and breathed with him. His storytelling is so genuine, so raw, that I could not help but consume word after word. I recommend this story to absolutely everyone: the fighters, the survivors, and music lovers everywhere.
We received a copy of this book in exchange for our honest reviews.