“It’s not that I don’t love you, and my tears are yet to dry. But you can’t go back and forth forever and we’ve already said goodbye.” Through these words, a young poet unearths his musical soul while severing ties with the woman he loves after her stunning betrayal. Unknowingly, in writing this ballad of liberation, he will soon evolve as one of the fastest rising stars on the pop music landscape. The year is 1991; the place, New York City. Here we meet Johnny Elias, a college student from Brooklyn with boundless adoration for two things in life: timeless popular music, and the heart of a sweet, complicated young woman who is clearly out of his league. Megan Price not only is the object of Johnny’s affection, but also the only daughter of New York’s most powerful PR woman: the indomitable Katherine Price. Projecting that her daughter’s boyfriend will never live up to the family standard, Katherine cleverly perpetrates a series of duplicitous schemes to rid Johnny from her high-class world. But in her callous disregard, she inadvertently sets him on a determined course to his improbable musical destiny - while sending her own daughter spiraling down a path of despair. Poet of the Wrong Generation tells the symmetrical story of a lovable underdog and his meteoric rise to stardom, his humiliating downfall and his unprecedented attempt to reclaim his place as the unlikely musical spokesman for his generation. At the heart of Poet is a tale of star-crossed lovers and their struggle with unforeseen success and disillusionment, in an attempt to rediscover lasting harmony. Uniquely integrating a variety of original song compositions, Poet projects the epic clash between true contentment and the fable of stardom’s rewards; a nostalgic journey through the major events of the 1990s, with a cherished cast of characters and a stunningly unpredictable conclusion. Audio soundtrack of the original music from Poet Of The Wrong Generation can be heard on the author website, LonnieOstrow.com.
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Johnny's relationship with the girl he considers his true love, Meg, is the catalyst for much of what happens in the story. As irony would have it, without her domineering mother and Meg's penchant for giving in to her mother's wishes despite the knowledge that it is entirely the wrong choice, Johnny becomes the musical star of his generation. The fact that Katherine Price feels she had a hand in this leads to much of the conflict in the novel, as she feels his limited and inconsequential upbringing are not nearly good enough for her well-bred and upstanding daughter. Johnny's indomitable nature help him move past the agony of losing Meg, as he pours his heart and soul into the lyrics that make up his bestselling, chart-topping hits. However, he never truly feels as though he has gotten over Meg, and she feels the same, despite getting into a relationship with another man, basically at her mother's behest.
Katherine Price may mean well in her own self-serving way, but that is just what it is - self-serving. She never takes into account Meg's feelings about losing Johnny to her (Katherine's) own selfish whims, and even when Katherine tries to make it right, her own pride and ego keep her far away from taking the high road. It is not only Katherine's determination to keep them apart that keeps the plot progressing, as Johnny and Meg find themselves in different places in their lives no matter when they try to reconnect - even as friends.
Even though parts of the novel were interesting and furthered the storyline, much of the writing seemed unnecessary, providing details about the lives of the characters that added more length than substance to the characters and their respective issues and dilemmas. The plot was interesting overall, and the twists and turns believable, but the length often overshadowed enjoyment of the story, as the novel seemed to take forever to read in its entirety.
'Poet of the Wrong Generation' teaches that nothing can ever be taken for granted, as everything has the potential for change, from stability, to relationships, to career, and so much more. Life is a constant struggle, and Lonnie Ostrow proves this time and again as Johnny, Meg, their friends, and their family all work to make their lives better while struggling to hold on to the comforts of the past.