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Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer

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My morning gets off to its usual start. I wake up. Masturbate. Eat some bacon and eggs. Drink a cup of heavily creamed and sugared coffee. Have a frank discussion with my father about his testicles… And so goes another day in the over-sexed, drunk, occasionally well-intentioned, occasionally Catholic teenage life of Hank Fitzpatrick. His young adulthood has its dark moments My morning gets off to its usual start. I wake up. Masturbate. Eat some bacon and eggs. Drink a cup of heavily creamed and sugared coffee. Have a frank discussion with my father about his testicles… And so goes another day in the over-sexed, drunk, occasionally well-intentioned, occasionally Catholic teenage life of Hank Fitzpatrick. His young adulthood has its dark moments, but it isn’t dark. It has its tragedies, but it isn’t tragic. Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer speaks to those nostalgic readers young and old who can quote John Hughes films, recite Guns N’ Roses lyrics, and are still pissed off that Freaks and Geeks got cancelled. These readers want to see the homecoming king fall flat on his face, implode in spectacular fashion, dust himself off, and then do it all over again. And if somewhere along the way they’re reminded of the redemptive power of a belly dancer’s love—well, that’s okay too.


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My morning gets off to its usual start. I wake up. Masturbate. Eat some bacon and eggs. Drink a cup of heavily creamed and sugared coffee. Have a frank discussion with my father about his testicles… And so goes another day in the over-sexed, drunk, occasionally well-intentioned, occasionally Catholic teenage life of Hank Fitzpatrick. His young adulthood has its dark moments My morning gets off to its usual start. I wake up. Masturbate. Eat some bacon and eggs. Drink a cup of heavily creamed and sugared coffee. Have a frank discussion with my father about his testicles… And so goes another day in the over-sexed, drunk, occasionally well-intentioned, occasionally Catholic teenage life of Hank Fitzpatrick. His young adulthood has its dark moments, but it isn’t dark. It has its tragedies, but it isn’t tragic. Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer speaks to those nostalgic readers young and old who can quote John Hughes films, recite Guns N’ Roses lyrics, and are still pissed off that Freaks and Geeks got cancelled. These readers want to see the homecoming king fall flat on his face, implode in spectacular fashion, dust himself off, and then do it all over again. And if somewhere along the way they’re reminded of the redemptive power of a belly dancer’s love—well, that’s okay too.

30 review for Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sandi Layne

    The opening paragraph made me smile, blunt and maybe even crude as it was, and I had to share it with my husband. From there on, Brian Sweany had me hooked. Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer is a story about a boy—Hank Fitzpatrick—becoming a man. That sounds so...basic, somehow, for a story that hit me the way this one did. From an obnoxious, rude teenager mouthing off to his dad (while admittedly provoked, in a way) to a man who weathers a few of life's storms by the end, Hank grew up and his na The opening paragraph made me smile, blunt and maybe even crude as it was, and I had to share it with my husband. From there on, Brian Sweany had me hooked. Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer is a story about a boy—Hank Fitzpatrick—becoming a man. That sounds so...basic, somehow, for a story that hit me the way this one did. From an obnoxious, rude teenager mouthing off to his dad (while admittedly provoked, in a way) to a man who weathers a few of life's storms by the end, Hank grew up and his narrative voice did, too. Even if his coping mechanisms made me want to shake him along the way. I might have, too, but he would have thrown up on me. And he probably wouldn't have remembered. The characterization of Hank—Fitzy to his friends—was extremely real. The way his family is presented, with all their flaws and strengths and family rituals over the years, resonated with me. The parade of girls was contrasted with the constance of his friends (and, of course, with the friend that was a girl ... but I'll let you read it on your own) in way that I appreciated but that didn't hit me in the face. I liked that. I am five years older than Hank Fitzpatrick and I found my memories of my comparative years to be both amusing and shocking at how different my world turned compared to his. Still, by the end, I felt like I understood him. I think that anyone who has been young and hormonal, who has experimented with different life experiences and who is honest with themselves will enjoy Hank Fitzpatrick and recognize his narrative and feel for him as the story progresses. He made me laugh at three in the morning. He made me cry shortly after dawn. And, like him, I was totally blindsided at least once in the course of his story. I'm absolutely wanting to read the sequel because I want to find out what path he follows as an adult. I received this ARC from TWCS in exchange for my review. I have a few questions for the author and I hope he'll be answering them...so check my website on 4/24/13.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sydney Logan

    I should preface this review by saying I didn't expect to like this book. Not because it isn't a good book, but because the summary made it sound like it would be a novel filled with teenage-boy crude humor, (think American Pie) which usually isn't my cup of tea. I write sweet love stories, so generally, that's what I like to read. But I needed a break from my own writing and wanted to read something completely different from my norm, so I chose Brian's book, and I am so, so glad I did. I really I should preface this review by saying I didn't expect to like this book. Not because it isn't a good book, but because the summary made it sound like it would be a novel filled with teenage-boy crude humor, (think American Pie) which usually isn't my cup of tea. I write sweet love stories, so generally, that's what I like to read. But I needed a break from my own writing and wanted to read something completely different from my norm, so I chose Brian's book, and I am so, so glad I did. I really don't need to summarize the story here. The book blurb does that perfectly. And yes, it really is filled with teenage-boy crude humor, but it's also full of life lessons. We watch as Hank experiments (with girls, sex, drugs, and booze) and we see Hank deal with grief and despair (I won't spoil it). It's truly a coming of age story, written from the point of view of a young man just trying to find his place in the world. He hooked me from the first page. If that wasn't enough, the 80s music references had me so immersed in the story that I had to dig out my "I Love the 80s" playlist on iTunes. I laughed until I cried, and then I really cried. I can't wait to read the sequel.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    My morning gets off to its usual start. I wake up. Masturbate. Eat some bacon and eggs. Drink a cup of heavily creamed and sugared coffee. Have a frank discussion with my father about his testicles… This book hooked me from the very first paragraph, quoted above, and didn't release me from its clutches until a few days after I finished. Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer is a teenage boy's coming of age story, set in the late 80s and early 90s. Hank Fitzpatrick is a typical teenager grow My morning gets off to its usual start. I wake up. Masturbate. Eat some bacon and eggs. Drink a cup of heavily creamed and sugared coffee. Have a frank discussion with my father about his testicles… This book hooked me from the very first paragraph, quoted above, and didn't release me from its clutches until a few days after I finished. Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer is a teenage boy's coming of age story, set in the late 80s and early 90s. Hank Fitzpatrick is a typical teenager growing up in that time period, including the parties, alcohol, weed and sex on the brain 24/7. The book reads almost like an autobiography - unashamedly blunt and realistic. Hank's voice sounds real. The problems and obstacles he faces sound real. His friends, male and female - they all sounded real. Brian Sweany held nothing back when he wrote this book, and thus delivers a story that bowled me over. Through Hank's eyes, the reader gets to follow him through teenage love, teenage sex, heartbreak, pain and loss and new love, all while watching Hank slowly grow up before our eyes and become a man. Hank's journey made me laugh and made me cry. And much like Hank, the surprise revelation toward the end was completely out of left field. Just like Hank, I never saw it coming. The scenes in the book often reminded me of my own youth, and I reminisced for a while after hitting the last page. The writing is crisp, precise, and often to the point blunt. There's no purple prose, no lovey-dovey swoony language to be found. It's gritty in parts. The book's appeal is in those gritty scenes. In the drunken boys, high off their asses. In the fumbles in the dark, having sex for the first time. In the death of a parent. In the difficult decisions. In the pain and loss. In the revelation that what you believed to be true isn't true after all. In finally seeing that what you really need has been there all along. Because all of it felt real. I beg you to give this book a try. Brian Sweany delivers a stunning debut novel that completely blew me away. I received a free ARC from the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Beyond the Squee

    Hank Fitzpatrick’s life is what you might expect from a man-child stumbling his way through and beyond adolescence in the late 1980s in small town Indiana: hypersexual, drunk, stoned, prone to fits of spontaneous masturbation, occasionally Catholic, and accidentally well-intentioned. His life is in perpetual conflict as he confuses sex for love, heartache for passion, desperation for honesty, and abuse for affection. Caught in the crossfire of raging hormones, bad decisions and family tragedy, Ha Hank Fitzpatrick’s life is what you might expect from a man-child stumbling his way through and beyond adolescence in the late 1980s in small town Indiana: hypersexual, drunk, stoned, prone to fits of spontaneous masturbation, occasionally Catholic, and accidentally well-intentioned. His life is in perpetual conflict as he confuses sex for love, heartache for passion, desperation for honesty, and abuse for affection. Caught in the crossfire of raging hormones, bad decisions and family tragedy, Hank is just a boy not yet ready to be a man. And like many boys growing up, Hank is desperate to impress his father. The impossibly perfect patriarch of the family, John Fitzpatrick decides at age forty-two he wants to have a vasectomy reversal. Is Hank ready to be a brother again at age seventeen? What about his mother’s narcotics and gimlet-soaked uterus? A child will come of this, but not without consequences. Laura is Hank’s first true love. From their stolen nights together as high-school sweethearts to their final encounter as twentysomething adults, they never figure out how to stop hurting one another. Beth, the girl who loves Hank unconditionally, can only wait for so long before longing turns to regret. But everything will be okay as long as Hank’s best friend Hatch is there to help him exorcise his demons with a half-gallon of bourbon and a bottle of cough syrup. Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer is more than just a tribute to the last uninhibited pre-9/11, pre-Facebook generation. It’s a comedy. It’s a tragedy. It’s a love story. It’s a subversive yet empathetic, warts-and-all portrait rooted in real-life that kids will read behind their parents’ backs. And if somewhere along the way we can all share in the redemptive power of a belly dancer’s love…well, that’s okay, too. This is Brian Sweany’s debut novel, and what a debut it is! The story is hard to define in many ways. There is drama, tragedy, lots of humor, and even a bit of romance, too. The book at its heart, however, is a coming of age tale. The reader is swept back to high school in the late 1980s, into the life of Hank Fitzpatrick as he transitions from boy to man. Hank is a fascinating character, seemingly superficial at first, and yet he soon reveals himself to be very complex. I found myself simultaneously wanting to smack him and hug him. He’s infuriating, yet endearing. Definitely a charmer to the nth degree, and yet at the same time, he’s capable of the stupidest things. Sound like a teenager you know? In the end, though, you can’t help but love the guy. One of the things that struck me the most about this story is how real the characters feel, flaws and all. The family dynamic is so realistically portrayed you feel a part of it. You know these people—you’ve lived with them, worked with them, gone to school with them. I happen to be Hank’s age, and I also grew up in a small Midwestern town, so this was a wonderful bit of nostalgia for me. The book is filled with pop culture references that made me want to dig through the boxes in the basement for my old mix tapes. I also enjoyed seeing “the other side” lived—Hank was a jock, I was the band geek. At one point, I called a friend and said, “So the popular kids spent weekends drinking and playing canasta? Really?” Love it! I can’t recommend this book enough. I laughed with Hank, winced at his antics a few times, and wept with him. Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer is an amazing story, filled with twist and turns, joys and sorrows. This one will stay with me for a long time, and I can’t wait for the sequel, Making Out With Blowfish, which according to the author’s website is tentatively scheduled for release in early 2014. **In a bid for full disclosure, I must tell you that I was the copy editor for this novel. However, this is my full and honest opinion. This review was written of my own volition and was not solicited in any way by either the author or the publisher. This coming of age tale gets FIVE BOOKMARKS from me!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Sweany is a brilliant story-teller that makes it impossible to put down this over-sexed but powerhouse of a story. Male coming-of-age stories are far down on my list of favorite reading experiences as I lean toward Book Club, literary fiction, history, or science. But, book whore that I am, if a book crosses my palm I will start it. In this case, it was more curiosity than luck as I felt drawn to read this e-book by someone whose writing I have always found engaging in other venues. The first pa Sweany is a brilliant story-teller that makes it impossible to put down this over-sexed but powerhouse of a story. Male coming-of-age stories are far down on my list of favorite reading experiences as I lean toward Book Club, literary fiction, history, or science. But, book whore that I am, if a book crosses my palm I will start it. In this case, it was more curiosity than luck as I felt drawn to read this e-book by someone whose writing I have always found engaging in other venues. The first page nearly had me turning off the kindle, but Sweany's amazing story-telling and wit kept me clicking late into the evening. As the book progressed there were moments of Vonnegut and Hunter Thompson that emerged from the kindle screen. His protagonist is that guy every teen male wanted to be, getting the hot girls, the booze, drugs, and attention. Yet, beneath that cocksure attitude and bravado is a touching and achingly needy lost-boy. This fifty-year old mom was playing emotional tennis, "What an ass!" " How can he cope?" Prepare to read this unique, ambitious novel in one-sitting and muddle through the slightly lengthy beginning freshman year as the remainder is worth the wait. A young writer to watch. This usually skeptical reviewer has great faith that this is one debut novelist to put on your watch list.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathie (katmom)

    This book is avaliable TODAY! GOODNESS Gracious! This book makes me want to lock up my three daughters to keep them safe from teenage boys! That's because Brian Sweany writes what it is to BE a teenage boy. GOOD GOLLY! I'd be thinking: ALL Hank thinks about is SEX! And then Mr. Sweany would make me cry. Then I'd be rooting for Hank. Then I'd want to slap him again. Yes, Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer has it all. And he left me wanting to know how Hank's life turns out. That's a good thing. Thank yo This book is avaliable TODAY! GOODNESS Gracious! This book makes me want to lock up my three daughters to keep them safe from teenage boys! That's because Brian Sweany writes what it is to BE a teenage boy. GOOD GOLLY! I'd be thinking: ALL Hank thinks about is SEX! And then Mr. Sweany would make me cry. Then I'd be rooting for Hank. Then I'd want to slap him again. Yes, Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer has it all. And he left me wanting to know how Hank's life turns out. That's a good thing. Thank you, TWCS, for the opportunity to read this book. Should mention that I also read it while proofreading it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Yeah, the title. I hear what you're saying, and I had a similar reaction. Huh? That was the best they could do? The thing is, it works. Everything in this book works. Welcome to the 1980s, complete with occasional cultural references, and the life of Hank Fitzpatrick. As Hank tells us his story, he takes us back through his life, never flinching from the ugly or unseemly. The fun begins with the opening words: My morning gets off to its usual start. I wake up. Masturbate. Eat some bacon and eggs. D Yeah, the title. I hear what you're saying, and I had a similar reaction. Huh? That was the best they could do? The thing is, it works. Everything in this book works. Welcome to the 1980s, complete with occasional cultural references, and the life of Hank Fitzpatrick. As Hank tells us his story, he takes us back through his life, never flinching from the ugly or unseemly. The fun begins with the opening words: My morning gets off to its usual start. I wake up. Masturbate. Eat some bacon and eggs. Drink a cup of heavily creamed and sugared coffee. Have a frank discussion with my father about his testicles … Go ahead. Pretend you didn't laugh. We both know you're lying. Hank takes off from there, recalling a godfather whose legacy is dirty and cruel, a mother whose delight in her family is offset by her reaction to a tragedy, and a father. Oh, a father. Hank's dad is the dad we all want, a man whose devotion to his family is beyond compare, who teaches his son by example and by proclamation, and whose presence in his family's life is vital and dynamic. Hank doesn't so much aspire to be his father, or even to live up to him, as he does to have as much fun as he can. This includes copious amounts of alcohol and sex. In high school, Hank falls in love, and his devotion to this girl is as intense as that he shares with his friends and, yes, family. Hank's coterie of chums does not vary; his boyhood friends are his friends into adulthood. He may all but set up a turnstile into his bedroom, but he's actually a pretty devoted man. The high school girlfriend comes and goes in his life, perhaps because Hank is averse to change. As he says at the start of the book, his days take a predictable turn. He finds comfort in that. But life is about as predictable as a horse race. You absolutely cannot rely on anything except change, and that's where Hank struggles to adapt. He copes by indulging in booze and broads, leaning on his friends for help. Many times while reading this, I wish I had a Hank in my life. He gives as good as he gets, even if there were times I wanted to shake him. He made me laugh and he made me cry, he made me cringe and he made me fist pump with joy. His voyage from boy to man takes him all over the place emotionally, and he takes us right along with him. You will need to fortify yourself with a box of tissues, because there will be times you cry. You also may find yourself gobsmacked with shock at some of the things that happen. But isn't that what happens in life? Read this book. Then come back and thank me for telling you about it. Thanks to NetGalley for the preview. Published on cupcake's book cupboard @VivaAmaRisata

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    I wasn’t expecting much to happen when I started this book. After reading the description I thought it wasn’t my type, but I give it a try and I don’t regret it. Hank Fitzpatrick is a troubled kid who had a tough childhood, so he manages to get through that by throwing a tantrum at everybody. Since he was five he has been molested by his godfather Mitch, (who happened to be his father's best friend), but he doesn't let anyone know. At first I was annoyed with Hank, because he was so out of place I wasn’t expecting much to happen when I started this book. After reading the description I thought it wasn’t my type, but I give it a try and I don’t regret it. Hank Fitzpatrick is a troubled kid who had a tough childhood, so he manages to get through that by throwing a tantrum at everybody. Since he was five he has been molested by his godfather Mitch, (who happened to be his father's best friend), but he doesn't let anyone know. At first I was annoyed with Hank, because he was so out of place, so rude with his parents and he was acting like a wild teenager. So not my crowd... but he grew on me bit by bit. I was excited to learn more about late 80's, the period when my parents were also young and restless, so I could imagine them better. I'm sure they weren't as rebel as Hank, because they had to support themselves and go to school, but I want to believe they had fun and enjoyed their youth at the same time. Brian Sweany did a good job in the way he created the story, he understood very well his main character and we, as readers, were able connect with him after we found out his background and the reason of his behaving. My mood changed many times, I was sad and terrified of what was happening, I was angry, or full of hope. From my perspective “Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer” has it all: action, drama and romance. I was happy to see Hank becoming a man, a grown-up who is capable of taking care of himself and able to decide what he really want from his life. He is now ready to take responsibility of his past actions and to handle them well. It is true he has done a lot of mistakes, but it was the only way he could evolve into a great person like his father John. His death was an important factor for him to become stronger, we can call it a necessary evil, but I was hurt when it happened. Then I saw that I made a connection with these characters, more than I was expecting. I cherished Laura and Hank's relationship, the kind we all had into our lives at some time, the one that brought us happiness, as well as hard times, but in the end my favorite was Beth, the girl who was always there when Hank needed someone close. And what can I say about Hatch - he is the perfect best friend we all wish to have. All in all, I really liked this book, it was a gulp of fresh air for me and a model of how the reality we all try to escape from can make a good story. I gave it only 4 butterflies out of 5, because I got lost a few times in the details of the sports, since I'm not familiar with it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Kane

    Review Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer (ISBN 978-1-61213-151-1) Author: Brian Sweany Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House Review by Daniel Kane Brian Sweany’s Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer (ISBN 978-1-61213-151-1) is a vastly entertaining hybrid of autobiography and fiction. Sweany’s literary alter ego, Hank Fitzpatrick, is a teenager with an unmentionable secret: He was the victim of sexual abuse until he was 10, the victim of a trusted friend of the family. Exotic Music, with its Review Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer (ISBN 978-1-61213-151-1) Author: Brian Sweany Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House Review by Daniel Kane Brian Sweany’s Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer (ISBN 978-1-61213-151-1) is a vastly entertaining hybrid of autobiography and fiction. Sweany’s literary alter ego, Hank Fitzpatrick, is a teenager with an unmentionable secret: He was the victim of sexual abuse until he was 10, the victim of a trusted friend of the family. Exotic Music, with its numerous bite-sized chapters, is a compelling page-turner. The reader, including this reader, might burn the midnight oil thinking, “Just one more chapter…” Sweany writes with a fresh voice that expertly captures the awkward transition of the adolescent male into adulthood. Thankfully, my own transition was not nearly as troubled or self-destructive. I give honorable mentions to Chapters 3 and 16. Chapter 3 offers dialogue between Hank and his sister that really captures the silliness of young teenagers. It also vividly captures the repressed and expressed rage of a sexual abuse victim who faces his abuser. Chapter 16 will likely entertain anyone still licking wounds from a childhood involuntarily stuffed with religion. While I will never dismiss the solid value of faith-based missions to help the hungry and less fortunate, the utter blasphemy of Chapter 16 had me grinning from ear to ear! Sweany isn’t telling exactly how much of himself he put into Hank. I’m not asking. However, you’ll be in for a thrilling ride that comes close to the borderline of insanity: I invite you to meet Hank and his family and friends. I highly recommend this debut novel.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    I'm on the fence with this story, would rate it 3.5 if I could. Certainly interesting but I really couldn't believe that parents wouldn't be more involved in such voracious excessive drinking - even back in the day of the 80's. Our male protagonist's mom who is a school counsellor has virtually no comment on his shenanigans which I also found hard to believe. Got annoyed by the endless description of the songs, bands, card games, football games, etc but that could be because this was written by a I'm on the fence with this story, would rate it 3.5 if I could. Certainly interesting but I really couldn't believe that parents wouldn't be more involved in such voracious excessive drinking - even back in the day of the 80's. Our male protagonist's mom who is a school counsellor has virtually no comment on his shenanigans which I also found hard to believe. Got annoyed by the endless description of the songs, bands, card games, football games, etc but that could be because this was written by a guy. But thought how he deals with girls/women in his relationships through high school and college was pretty accurate. Liked how he dealt with a couple of pretty horrific events in his life, thought they were more true-to-life than romanticized and I mean romanticized by way of the writing style and how a teen-age/college boy might deal with those situations. All in all a good read, I didn't want to put it down, or on the DNF shelf. All those annoyances that come from poor grammar were absent (word and punctuation misuse, etc.) And, all the other basic English writing skills were clearly evident, which in this day and age is frankly refreshing!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michela Walters

    3 1/2 stars This book was getting all the rave reviews from my friends on Goodreads, so I asked and was granted an ARC from NetGalley to read it. (For an honest reviews) Unfortunately for me, the book was just average. I enjoyed that the story was told from a teenage/young adult male's POV, but the plot felt so scattered, I had a hard time trying to figure out what the point of it all was. The writing was quite good, but it felt rambly and all over the map. The story is a coming of age tale about H 3 1/2 stars This book was getting all the rave reviews from my friends on Goodreads, so I asked and was granted an ARC from NetGalley to read it. (For an honest reviews) Unfortunately for me, the book was just average. I enjoyed that the story was told from a teenage/young adult male's POV, but the plot felt so scattered, I had a hard time trying to figure out what the point of it all was. The writing was quite good, but it felt rambly and all over the map. The story is a coming of age tale about Hank Fitzpatrick, an often drunk, stoned and oversexed teenager living in the midwest in the 1980s. I enjoyed the sentimentality of the story, reminding me of a lot of things I liked and didn't from that era, but at times it too felt thrown in for the sake of throwing in an 80's reference. I also knew there was a big jaw dropping moment somewhere in the book, but honestly when I got to it, it wasn't really a huge OMG moment for me. Overall a decent read, especially if you are looking for a realistic teenage male's point of view. I'll likely give Brian Sweany another try because perhaps it was content and not the storyteller that I had a problem with.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Peyton Sloane

    I'm on the fence with this story, would rate it 3.5 if I could. Certainly interesting but I really couldn't believe that parents wouldn't be more involved in such voracious excessive drinking - even back in the day of the 80's. Our male protagonist's mom who is a school counsellor has virtually no comment on his shenanigans which I also found hard to believe. Got annoyed by the endless description of the songs, bands, card games, football games, etc but that could be because this was written by a I'm on the fence with this story, would rate it 3.5 if I could. Certainly interesting but I really couldn't believe that parents wouldn't be more involved in such voracious excessive drinking - even back in the day of the 80's. Our male protagonist's mom who is a school counsellor has virtually no comment on his shenanigans which I also found hard to believe. Got annoyed by the endless description of the songs, bands, card games, football games, etc but that could be because this was written by a guy. But thought how he deals with girls/women in his relationships through high school and college was pretty accurate. Liked how he dealt with a couple of pretty horrific events in his life, thought they were more true-to-life than romanticized and I mean romanticized by way of the writing style and how a teen-age/college boy might deal with those situations. All in all a good read, I didn't want to put it down, or on the DNF shelf. All those annoyances that come from poor grammar were absent (word and punctuation misuse, etc.) And, all the other basic English writing skills were clearly evident, which in this day and age is frankly refreshing!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrea (mrsaubergine)

    I started reading this having seen snippets which looked laugh-out-loud funny, but I truly wasn't expecting such a magnificent, heartbreaking story at the core. Yes, I laughed a lot and read out numerous passages to my husband, but somewhere in the middle of the book - after all the 80s hair band references and the puking and self-abuse - it became apparent this was a story about family, and in particular, a father's love. Hank is a fabulous character for all his flaws, and Sweany has made him s I started reading this having seen snippets which looked laugh-out-loud funny, but I truly wasn't expecting such a magnificent, heartbreaking story at the core. Yes, I laughed a lot and read out numerous passages to my husband, but somewhere in the middle of the book - after all the 80s hair band references and the puking and self-abuse - it became apparent this was a story about family, and in particular, a father's love. Hank is a fabulous character for all his flaws, and Sweany has made him so real I feel like I went to school with him. Not that I would have been in his crowd. There are a couple of twists which leave you stunned, but in the end there's a lot of hope that Hank will be all right. I'd like to thank him for making me laugh, reminisce about the 80s, and for introducing the word "ballsmatic" to my vocabulary. Highly recommended.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I really enjoyed this book. I found it fascinating and though the author says it is a book of fiction, I have to believe a lot of it was based on his life. He says it is roughly, but I am curious to what extend it reflects his personal life. I thoroughly enjoyed his writing style and what appears to be candor. Brian Sweany I really enjoyed this book. I found it fascinating and though the author says it is a book of fiction, I have to believe a lot of it was based on his life. He says it is roughly, but I am curious to what extend it reflects his personal life. I thoroughly enjoyed his writing style and what appears to be candor. Brian Sweany

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Darkly funny, emotionally (not to mention sexually) charged, and intimately familiar to anyone who’s ever put off ‘growing up’ for a few years, Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer will – much like Hank’s girlfriend, Laura – either break your heart or save your life. Maybe, probably, inevitably, both. In short, loved it. Two thumbs way, way up.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    I read this just because the book is set in the town in which I grew up. I went to high school with the author's sister. I didn't expect to love the book as much as I did. It was shocking, funny, and creative. I read this just because the book is set in the town in which I grew up. I went to high school with the author's sister. I didn't expect to love the book as much as I did. It was shocking, funny, and creative.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kris Patrick

    I was a little unclear when the setting switched between Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Hank's hypersexual egocentric mindset grated on me but he is lovable nevertheless. I was a little unclear when the setting switched between Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Hank's hypersexual egocentric mindset grated on me but he is lovable nevertheless.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Will read the next one. Loved the humor. Dod tire a bit of the drinking that seemed excessive. Keep up the good work mr sweany! And loved the deducation to your lovey wife. Brought tears to my eyes.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Smith

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michele

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gayanne Ellis

  27. 5 out of 5

    John Johnson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Betty

  29. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Young

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tom

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