Monday, May 23, 2011

33 Days: Touring In A Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream.

Bill See
Lulu (2011)
ISBN 9780557758814
Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views

I wasn't really expecting much from "33 Days" because the band, Divine Weeks, didn't exactly set the world on fire, so how exciting could a story about their road trip be? However, that view changed when I realized one very important thing: This isn't the story of a big-name band with a huge record deal, and it's not meant to be. Within the pages of this book are the hearts and souls of some young men who dared to follow their dreams and the author does a great job of bringing us along for the ride.


Bill See is our doorway into the adventure these five young men embark on, and his first-person account helps reveal these dreamers for who they really are. Divine Weeks is heading out on a road trip for their first tour and emotions are riding high as they leave their local comfort zone for the very first time. They'll entertain hundreds, see new parts of the world, and learn more about each other, and life in general, as they set out to create their future. Through the author's eyes, we'll get to experience the fear and excitement of passing that first mile marker, feel the joy of total strangers that enjoy the music we create, and we'll see how the bonds of friendship change when you're stuck in a van with the same people for a little over a month.


Bill's band isn't going the indie route because they stink, but because Bill has a dream of following in the footsteps of other independent labels. He believes that hooking up with a major label would be selling out and giving up on the artistic side of the venture, but performing on stage with a stripper pole and depending on the kindness of strangers for a place to sleep isn't everyone's cup of tea, and one person's big dreams could cause problems along the way.

In addition to different aspirations, the road trip reveals the pressures that hinder almost everyone at some point in life. Do you follow your dream or take the safe and traditional route of college? Please the family or please yourself? We all face these decisions, and See does a good job of using that common ground to make us care about his fellow road warriors. By the end of the book, we've seen a few people change and make decisions based on their new over-the-road education and we understand them because we took the trip with them.


If you've been in a band or taken a spur-of-the-moment road trip to chase a dream, then "33 Days" might bring back some fond memories, but the descriptive locales and colorful characters will make this an enjoyable read for anyone, even if you've never toured in a van, slept on a floor, or chased a dream.

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