Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jeffrey Baer, A crescendo to the soul for this reader.

A Song Apart

By Jeffrey Baer

A Book Review by Ginger Dawn Harman

Have you ever felt like a total outsider? In A Song Apart, Jeffrey Baer provides readers with a glimpse inside the tough exterior of an insensitive music industry including the unpopular choices and a bit of romance. Kevin Derow is different compared to other college students. While wearing teen sensation Shannon Kistler‘s rock band shirt, Kevin finds himself in the most awkward position as she drives by and embarrasses him.  Fate would have them meet again where Shannon gives Kevin her phone number. Yet, the new couple have many obstacles both personal and from those who support each of them. A Song Apart is a novel of redemption and having the chutzpah” to change.

Jeffrey Baer has extraordinary talent with character development. In A Song Apart the reader is not weighed down with too much back story. Simultaneously, the author writes convincing characters. This made the novel’s pace enjoyable and gave a clear understanding of each character’s social, economic, religious, and family history. For example, Kevin’s membership at the Jewish Society introduces the reader to Kevin’s social circle and establishes the external conflict that he must resolve with his friends Avi, Yaakov, and Menachem.  

Jeffrey Baer lives in Coney Island with his  girlfriend Karen, whom he has known for 22 years. In addition to writing fiction, he composes songs using software. Jefferey enjoys old school R&B as well as 70s pop. He also sings and plays guitar, bass and drums.

With attention to details, the author continues to use his character development as a bridge to the misinterpreted behavior of Kevin and Shannon.  By comparatively displaying Shannon’s choice to stretch her body in sensual poses on the subway car, the misinterpretation of her actions by paparazzi and Paul Spungen, provide the reader with much foreshadowing as to the results of the uncovered payola scheme.

A Song Apart is written from a first-person narrative. An emotional tone is present several times in the novel as the topic of Autism and Asperger's syndrome become part of the topic. Particularly, I was tremendously touched as Kevin speaks with young Sam when he wrote, “Did Shannon make me different? I immediately thought of possibly having Asperger’s Syndrome, but I couldn’t discuss it with someone who didn’t understand his own condition.

 “Oh-no, I don’t think so. People don’t make each other that way, it just happens, you know?” 

This is a very emotional and powerful connection Jeffrey Baer has with his book. The author admittedly uses his own diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome as his muse in A Song Apart. My favorite quote in the novel is 

 “love doesn’t follow any rules, it just happens. And when it does, we have to be thankful because it may never ‘just happen’ again.”  

It is this raw natural ability and special insight that Jeffrey Baer gifts the reader that makes his novel, A Song Apart a perfect read for ages 15 to 99. A Song Apart has my highest recommendation for debuting author Jeffrey Baer, It is a crescendo to the soul for this reader.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeffrey Baer and invite you to listen.


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