Title: Wonderland by Stacey D’Erasmo
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 256 pages
Book Rating: C
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Anna Brundage is a rock star. She is tall and sexy, with a powerhouse voice and an unforgettable mane of red hair. She came out of nowhere, an immediate indie sensation. And then, life happened.
Anna went down as fast as she went up, and then walked off the scene for seven years. Without a record deal or clamoring fans, she sells a piece of her famous father’s art to finance just one more album and a European comeback tour.
Anna is forty-four. This may be her last chance to cement her place in the life she chose, the life she struggled for, the life she’s not sure she can sustain. She falls back easily into the ways of the road—sex with strangers, the search for the perfect moment onstage. To see Anna perform is something—watch her find the note, the electric connection with the audience, the transcendence when it all comes together and the music seems to fill the world.
A riveting look at the life of a musician, Wonderland is a moving inquiry into the life of a woman on an unconventional path, wondering what happens next and what her passions might have cost her, seeking a version of herself she might recognize. It takes us deep into a world many of us have spent hours imagining and wishing ourselves into—now we have a bit of that wish come true.
Stacey D’Erasmo’s Wonderland is an authentic portrayal of a rock star’s comeback tour. Seven years ago, Anna Brundage’s career and love affair crashed and burned. In the interim, she has married, divorced and lived a rather mundane life, but she decides to give her musical career one last shot.
Beginning right before the first stop in Anna’s European tour, Wonderland is a little confusing as it meanders back and forth between past and present. Glimpses into her childhood highlight her unconventional and somewhat eclectic upbringing. Details of her past love affair with a married man expose the highs and lows of their failed relationship and her ongoing heartache over their breakup. Brief mention of her marriage and divorce lead to unexpected introspection. A tragic loss hints at a troubled relationship. All of the revelations play out alongside the current tour stops, one night stands and sometimes tense moments between Anna and her band mates.
While these various bits and pieces are interesting, they do not give enough information about events or characters to form a complete picture of Anna or her life. The transitions between past and present are disjointed. The characters are likable but lack dimension.
While lacking in some areas, Wonderland is definitely a hit when it comes to the rock star atmosphere. The nerves, the tension and the exhaustion of tour are keenly felt as is Anna’s uncertainty about her future. Stacey D’Erasmo ends the novel on hopeful note, but like the rest of the story, it is frustratingly ambiguous.