Author: Garine B. Isassi
Published: April 2016, She Writes Press
Format: Paperback, 273 pages
It is the spring of 1989 in New York City when Jill Dodge, a post-punk rocker from Texas, finally gets her big promotion at Mega Big Records. She is thrust into a race to find a gritty, urban rapper before the Gangsta trend passes their label by. As Jill and her mostly middle-class coworkers search for the next big rap star, they fluctuate between alliances and rivalries, tripping over the stereotypes of race, class, and musical genre. They work to promote their current roster of acts as well as the new rap artist they sign to a contract. It turns out, he may not be what they expected. Full of original lyrics and wit, "Start With the Backbeat" is a compelling examination of the nuances of class, race, and culture in America which are sometimes ridiculously serious."
What readers are saying...
“Start with the Backbeat is the touching story of one idealistic young woman’s journey into the music industry when it was at its multiplatinum peak. Holding onto those ideals is a challenge, but Garine Isassi’s clear, smart, good-hearted storytelling is itself a blow against easy cynicism. She reveals a sharp eye for how quickly greed and self-interest can displace a love of music—and an equally sharp understanding of how a dedicated person’s daily principled decisions can make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s a tale that’s both poignant and uplifting.” —Anthony DeCurtis, Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone magazine
“Told with an insider’s ear for dialogue and setting . . . Start with the Backbeat is a fresh, interesting look at a little-known slice of the music industry.” —Sarah Pekkanen, best-sellling author of The Opposite of Me and Catching Air
“Music, friends, family, love, and a career anyone would envy! It’s 1989 and Jill Dodge is working her way up the ladder at a NYC music label. Her quirky friends and diverse co-workers saunter in and out of Jill’s life as she attempts to create a world that’s artistic but also pays the bills. Insight into the glamorous world of music as rap was coming on scene provides a backdrop that is unique and dynamic as we watch Jill move past post-college angst and insecurity. A fun read that brought a smile to my face and got my feet tapping as I went on Jill’s journey to fulfillment.” —Kathleen Shoop, bestselling author of Love and Other Subjects
“A joy ride through the heyday of the eighties rap craze with a heroine you can’t help but root for, Start With the Backbeat is smart, stylish, and fun from beginning to end.” —Kamy Wicoff, author of Wishful Thinking
“Fast-paced and entertaining, Start with the Backbeat is about a young woman’s search for love and success in the exciting but sometimes cutthroat music industry. It’s a fun and heartwarming―a genuine pleasure to read. Like your favorite tune, you’ll find yourself humming it for days.” —Andee Reilly, author of Satisfaction
“Garinè B. Isassi’s funny, tender, and smart novel, Start with the Backbeat, is one of the few books that give us a woman’s point of view of the music industry and an ethnically diverse range of characters. Set in the late ’80s, it tells the story of Jill Dodge, who, after several years as a temp in the Admin Pit (think, ‘armpit’) of Mega Big Records, is promoted to a staff position. The brisk pace and breezy style keep the reader turning pages as Jill struggles to maintain authenticity in the face of clueless execs, romantic snafus, and a wannabe rapper. Isassi skewers the racism and sexism at the core of the industry with a light touch while evoking the deep love of music that drives each of her delightfully unique characters.” —Céline Keating, author of Layla and Play for Me
Start With the Backbeat: A Musical Novel by Garine B. Isassi is one of BookSparks "It's Raining Books" reading selection picks.
Follow the #itsrainingbooks hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other 4 books!