(original read: 4/30/11) Maybe it was that I'd read a whole slew of mediocre (and a couple complete shit) books in the last few weeks. Maybe it came at just the right time to knock me off my feet, but regardless of the reason, I absolutely loved this book.Do you ever read a book and you can just feel it? Deep in your bones, right to your heart, you feel it in every part of your body. That's how I felt for the majority of this book. Like I couldn't absorb it fast enough. It was funny, heartbreaking, thought provoking, angering, at times a little far fetched (but last I checked this was fiction, so I'm a-ok with that), but in the end it was all those things thrown together that made this a book that will soon be going on my bookshelf. (For those that don't know, I'm a book whore, but I'm a library book whore. I own very few, because I re-read very few. This will be a re-reader.)The story is told in three different perspectives, which sounds a little tedious, but I actually enjoyed the way the author did this. We hear from the MC, Eliza, for the majority of the book. However, we also get glimpses at Paul (Paul...I swoon) via his voice recorder, recapping events. And finally, we get a third voice (told in 3rd person) of a character that gets tossed in the mix.This book revolves mostly around music (writing, singing, playing, the industry, Damn the Man, Save the Empire type stuff), so if it's something you're passionate about, this might just be your cup of tea. The characters in this had me head over heels from the beginning. Eliza is easy to relate to, Paul is easy to foam at the mouth over, and Loring is...well, I was torn for a lot of this book - let's leave it at that.What this book boils down to is finding yourself, opening yourself up to new possibilities, and facing your fears. While this one was great on the initial read, I predict it will be even better on the re-read.***ETA 1/4/2013***I was right in my prediction. This was stunning on the re-read. And because I actually took time to highlight passages this time around, I'm going to share some of my favorites: Did I mention how much I wanted to kiss her? I wanted to kiss her lips and her eyelids and the curve in what I'm going to call “the transition area” where her hip flows into her waist. And my desire wasn't just confined to my dick. She made my whole goddamn body taut, like some invisible energy force was pulling me up by the skin.***Lying next to Eliza, I had the feeling I'd just found something I didn't even know I'd lost.***“Warning: if you insult my heterosexual eminence one more time, I'm going to have to throw you down in the middle of the street and prove myself.”***“Is this okay?” he said.I didn't know if he was referring to his hands, his dancing, or the ultraviolet warmth his body was emitting, but I nodded, moved in closer, and within seconds I let myself slip into a world where there were no sharp edges, where everything was curved and smooth and seamless, like Paul's voice as he hummed Van Morrison in my ear. I felt like I was being zapped between the legs with a stun gun.***Eliza has the sky in her eyes and I've always wanted to touch the goddamn sky.***The music defied classification. If I had been writing a review of the show, I would have labeled it progressive, guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll. But the guitars made sounds guitars didn't always make. Symphonic sounds. Sacred sounds. The music dug in so deep you didn't hear it so much as feel it, reminding me of a dream I used to have when I was a kid, where I would be standing on a street corner, I would jump into the air, flap my arms, and soar up into the sky.That's the only way I could describe the music.It was the sonic equivalent of flight.And then there was the voice. I'd never heard anyone sing like Paul Hudson. Even Doug Blackman, master storyteller, whose passion and pain could be heard in every holy word he uttered, only wished for a voice like Paul's—a voice that swept up and down the scale and was, at times, filled with deep, lush, apocalyptic emotion, and at other times was a burning falsetto of hope and love and seemed too big to come from his throat, lungs, or diaphragm.From his soul, I decided.***After licking his neck, I wanted to dive into his throat and slide down his esophagus and swim around inside his hands while he strummed.***“See that?” Paul said. “Ten goddamn seconds.”“I don't get it.”“You didn't even have to hear the whole song, just a few lines, and you still got chills and that swirly, happy-sad feeling in your gut, didn't you?”“So?”“So?” he huffed. “That's the difference between the real stuff and the crap. I know which one you are and you know which one I am.” He flipped over and buried his head in his pillow. “That's all the proof you need. Wake me up in an hour.”***“Bottom line, Eliza— you're my home and my family, and I don't want to lose you. I could lose everything else, and as long as I still had you and a guitar I know I'd be all right. Do you get what I'm saying?”***I wanted to freeze the moment. Freeze it and jump inside of it and stay there until it melted into the warm, swishy liquid of happy memories.***I was looking for someplace to store all the things I was feeling—the friction, the contradictions, the unmerciful truth—but my heart, my soul, my eyes and ears and even my toes were locking their doors. They wouldn't let me in. For safety reasons. I had no choice but to throw the feelings away.***“Break my heart? Is that what you just said? I have news for you; you didn't break my heart. My heart's fine. My heart's in the best shape of its life. You know what you did to me? You took an AK-47 and blew my soul open."***It's pretty simple, really, when you think about it: We all start out as little fishes in our daddy's pants, and we all end up a Thanksgiving feast for the worms, and in the meantime we have to find a couple good reasons to give a fuck.I've got my girl and my guitar, and for me that's enough.