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Gray (Book Review)

February 27, 2013 | Posted by Gina Bortolussi
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Gray (Book Review)  

Pete Wentz’s first novel, written with help from writer James Montgomery, Gray reads like a long Fall Out Boy song, cynical and heartbreaking, but somehow cathartic for the audience. There are even a handful of lines in the book that are just tweaked Wentz lyrics that I recognize from some of the band’s songs. If you’re a Fall Out Boy fan you will love these hidden gems, if not, you’ll probably find them unnecessary, maybe even annoying at times.

Gray, which came out last week, centers around a musician, the book’s narrator with no name, who struggles with his band’s rise to fame and turbulent and complicated relationship with his ex who he refers to only as “Her” throughout the book.

The emotions are there, and it is obvious that Wentz knows how to string a sentence together. He is the master of writing biting one-liners, the zingers that really drive his points home. The book itself doesn’t have a very complicated plot, but that’s okay. Wentz’s writing is strong enough to support the story.

The book flashbacks to fighting and getting too drunk at bars, but eventually it unfurls into a story about anxieties and pride and what those things can do to a relationship. I closed the book satisfied. I bought the story. I understood why the narrator’s motives and actions, some given to me by Wentz and some I was allowed to decide for myself because I knew this character by the last page.

The narrator lacks any kind of empathy. At one point he references The Wizard of Oz, recalling the famous scene when the tornado comes and lifts up the house that lands on the Wicked Witch of the East and kills her. He uses what he calls “the buzz” right before the tornado hits as a metaphor for the beginning of the end of his relationship with Her. If this story were anything like The Wizard of Oz, he would surely be playing the Tin Man with no heart.

Wentz hasn’t shied away from his honest and dark writing style. At one point his angry main character tells the reader that he wants to shoot the creators of Facebook and later admits that he probably should be back on his medicine because he’s feeling low. The first confession is plain scary while the other is brave, two words that could be used to describe Gray.


The 411: Fall Out Boy's Bassist and lyricist, Pete Wentz has written his first novel. Gray is a story about dealing with relationships, fame, and being away from everything that you know. Wentz writes a truthful and honest portrayal of what sacrifices have to be made along the way to stardom.
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Final Score:  8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

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Gina Bortolussi

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