Book Review – Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer

Exotic Music of the Belly DancerExotic Music of the Belly Dancer by Brian Sweany

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The opening paragraph made me smile, blunt and maybe even crude as it was, and I had to share it with my husband. From there on, Brian Sweany had me hooked.

Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer is a story about a boy—Hank Fitzpatrick—becoming a man. That sounds so…basic, somehow, for a story that hit me the way this one did. From an obnoxious, rude teenager mouthing off to his dad (while admittedly provoked, in a way) to a man who weathers a few of life’s storms by the end, Hank grew up and his narrative voice did, too.

Even if his coping mechanisms made me want to shake him along the way. I might have, too, but he would have thrown up on me. And he probably wouldn’t have remembered.

The characterization of Hank—Fitzy to his friends—was extremely real. The way his family is presented, with all their flaws and strengths and family rituals over the years, resonated with me. The parade of girls was contrasted with the constance of his friends (and, of course, with the friend that was a girl … but I’ll let you read it on your own) in way that I appreciated but that didn’t hit me in the face. I liked that.

I am five years older than Hank Fitzpatrick and I found my memories of my comparative years to be both amusing and shocking at how different my world turned compared to his. Still, by the end, I felt like I understood him. I think that anyone who has been young and hormonal, who has experimented with different life experiences and who is honest with themselves will enjoy Hank Fitzpatrick and recognize his narrative and feel for him as the story progresses.

He made me laugh at three in the morning. He made me cry shortly after dawn. And, like him, I was totally blindsided at least once in the course of his story. I’m absolutely wanting to read the sequel because I want to find out what path he follows as an adult.

I received this ARC from TWCS in exchange for my review. I have a few questions for the author and I hope he’ll be answering them…so check my website on 4/24/13.

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