Book Review: The Frontman by Ron Bahar

Brief synopsis:  Ron is a 17-year old Jewish-Israeli growing up in Nebraska during the 1980s. Split between following his fami...

Brief synopsis: Ron is a 17-year old Jewish-Israeli growing up in Nebraska during the 1980s. Split between following his family's beliefs and his own dreams (doctor or musician?) during the last few months of high school through the first few years of college, this is Ron's coming-of-age story with a Spotify soundtrack included.

This was one of the weirdest concepts of a book I've ever read. The author named the main character after himself and many of the characters were named after his real-life friends or family members, however, the book was considered a book of fiction. Throughout the entirety of The Frontman, I wasn't sure what was fact or fiction. I guess a lot of the deeper things the main character (Ron) was going through were angsts the real-life Ron had growing up, and some of the more on-the-surface things may have been real, too, like his friend Bennie and his band. Either way, I felt like I was reading like a really fun memoir.

Like a book I read last summer, The Best of Adam Sharp (which I really didn't like), this book also included a personalized Spotify playlist to accompany the novel, which I've included below. But this book, unlike Adam Sharp, was a fairly fun and relatable read. I loved learning more about Judaism and Israeli culture, which I don't know very much about.

Ron's character is very smart, and I loved reading his transition from shy boy with uncontrollable nervous IBS to front and center performer.

What I didn't like about this novel is the obvious gender roles and the complete disrespect for the choices of women. I was unhappy with the outcome of this book, and felt the story fell pretty flat. I would have loved to hear more about Ron's personal journey to becoming who he is, as opposed to the story being conformed completely around relationships. I would say this book would be a great for fans of John Green's Paper Towns, which I had similar feelings about. I also never really understood the point of the prologue.

The playlist is really very good though, so check it out below.

This is really one of those novels that I wouldn't necessarily recommend, but I also wouldn't turn people away from reading. I'm still pretty bummed about the obvious gender roles though.

I received this novel free in exchange for a review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

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