Review: Gray by Pete Wentz

Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz pens a beautiful novel with help from MTV’s James Montgomery. Rating: 4/5

*This is book #7/28 for my 2014 book challenge. You can take a look at the reading challenge here.

Imagine you are on a tour bus, the miles whistling away beneath you as you sleep. Tomorrow you will wake up in downtown Somewhere. It doesn’t matter. All the skylines look the same. Time is only marked by events. The world is on a first-name basis with you.

But you…you barely even know yourself. There are those who give in completely to the idea of what it means to be famous. And those who can’t ever seem to leave the past behind. Life is a deep and contemplative story stuck on repeat—love, loss, self-destruction, self-discovery.

Let’s start with how beautifully written Gray was. Now, I’m not sure how much help Pete Wentz received from James Montgomery, but this reads so much like Pete, which made it really unsurprising just how lovely it truly was. The book is fiction, loosely based of Pete’s life and his rise to fame with Fall Out Boy, but for the most part the events (or timeline, perhaps) are fictitious. Gray reads differently than most novels. It’s almost like a verse, or even a writing style of its own. I was patient with it in ways that I wouldn’t be patient with other books, (yes I initially only picked this up because Pete wrote it) but this gets the rating it does because of that writing style.

I almost rated this a three. While the writing was breathtakingly beautiful, there was no real plot. As a reader, I am bored by stories that don’t go anywhere, and I can’t get into obsessive love, everything that made Gray what it was. So many other reviews are quick to say the same thing as me. There’s no plot, the characters love was boring, blah blah blah. But as I was finishing the book I realized just how wrong I was. That just was the point. The love seemed to go in circles because the characters were going in circles. They kept going back to each other, repeating their same mistakes in more twisted ways than the last.

The end of the book is actually where the beginning picks up. He tells the story from finish to start, and that, friends, is a plot. It’s a cautionary tale if I’ve ever seen one. Look at the mistakes I made, look how it ended, watch this self-destruct. Learn from my mistakes since I can’t learn from them myself. There has also been a complaint that there is no character development, but I beg to differ. On one hand, this is a story of someone battling themselves and addiction/depression. To say there is no development is over simplifying, because there is no winner in that battle. However, at first Pete (I assume the main character is actually Pete. I don’t think we ever learned for sure) looked at his journey and didn’t care to remember places or faces or events. They all mushed together, they all just happened. But at the end he was remembering cities. Remembering which path they took to get to Chicago. And I think that’s a sign of just how far he had came. What’s so great about Gray is it gives the reader an opportunity to read into it what they want. What I took from the story might be completely different from another person.

As a warning, issues like addiction, suicidal thoughts, death, and depression are all frequent topics of the story and could be triggering to some readers.

Rating: 4 book review

If you’re interested in reading my GoodReads updates from this book you can do so here. I must say, they’re quite entertaining. It will tell you exactly what I was thinking on certain pages.

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