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Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker - Review

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

I got a copy of this on Netgalley, so thank you to Little Brown for the chance to read and review this book. I was provided with an electronic copy of this book to read, but was not otherwise compensated for this review. All thought and opinions are my own. Who Put This Song On? is published today.

It is a novel loosely based on the diaries and experiences of author Morgan Parker. There's more explanation at the back about which parts did happen and which parts didn't, which I liked reading afterwards, although while I was reading I accepted that it was either all true or all fiction. It's a strange crossover and while some parts of it read like memoir, there's definitely novelised sections too.

Morgan is seventeen years old at the beginning of the book, and school is about to start again. She is seeing a therapist, Susan, because over the summer of 2008 she had a bit of an episode and is suffering from anxiety and depression. She is trying her best to feel better, but she's kind of finding it difficult at school. She is one of the only black kids in her Christian school, and one of the only Democrats. Barack Obama is about to be elected, but the white kids at her school don't know anything about black history beyond Rosa Parks.

She has three friends - Meg, who sometimes seems to just wilfully misunderstand Megan, James, who is working out his sexuality, and Kelly, who is technically a virgin. She meets David at an art class she is taking, and the two of them start to bond over music. Morgan loves music - she's into sad indie and emo - and I loved all the references in the book because it was a lot of bands that I like too. I also appreciate a good mix CD or tape!

I was a lot older than Morgan in 2008 but I felt it very deeply anyway. I was a depressed teenager so I really felt Morgan's torment there. I liked how she talked about the intersection of being black and being depressed. I liked how none of her friends got it. I'm giving this four out of five - cute little book.

Oh and I think the cover is really pretty too!


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