Publication Date: March 1, 2015
In Welcome to Groove House by Jill Meniketti, Mike Mays is a rock star that shined brightly and burned out hard. When his daughter kicks him off of her couch, Mike has nowhere to go but to a home for aging rock stars called “The Groove House.” Is he too far gone to ever come back?
The author gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
Author Jill Meniketti is the wife and manager of a rock star. Before looking into the author’s background, I had not heard of her husband Dave Meniketti or his band Y & T. Growing up in a religion that strictly prohibited any music not gospel, my exposure to rock music before the 90s was quite limited. Jill Meniketti certainly gives the impression in her work that she knows the music business. She knows the in and out, the bad and good and is able to bring readers a world of ups and downs that will entertain and baffle. Jill Menketti is a woman deeply engaged in the music industry and one who seems to love it, warts and all.
Though it was clear where this novel was going when Mike headed to The Groove House, the journey was nuanced and entertaining. Mike has a lot of recovery work on his plate when his music career sinks. He has a daughter that hates him, a grandson who knew nothing about him and a group of old cronies that could happily live the rest of their lives never hearing Mike Mays’s name again. Mike has lived the sex, drugs and rock and roll dream. His road to redemption is not a smooth one, and he knows there are a lot of bridges to be rebuilt but if they could be, he has plans — plans involving the Hollywood Bowl. Readers getting to know Mike will completely understand the problems his daughter and contemporaries have with him. Those cheering for a happy ending for Mike will be hard won on the part of the character. He is a pretty horrible human being and one who is as bad to his friends as his enemies.
Menketti’s writing style is elegantly raw. Welcome to Groove House is a professional composed work about a man who knows little of professionalism. There are many twists and turns but all are fitting with the story and there a no wasted moments. Every scene in the book is integral to the plot ensuring the reader is not bogged down with fillers. That Welcome to Groove House is Menketti’s first novel is impressive. She has a restraint born of experience but seems to instinctively go for the home run.
What I enjoyed most about Welcome to Groove House was how real it felt. It was a look into a world that few will ever experience and maybe that limitation is for the good of humanity. Welcome to Groove House is a story of a man who found his way to the bottom but has the spirit to look up and forge a new path using key skills.
I see Welcome to Groove House having a broad interest base. There are people that love memoirs of rock stars, those who are interested in music, the business of making music (and this novel is rife with insight into the biz) and people who just love a good tale of riches to rags. Everyone can find something to love in Jill Menketti’s debut novel.
If you’re interested in hair bands, the 1980s, rock and roll culture or tales of redemption, Welcome to Groove House is the novel for you.
You can read an excerpt and buy Welcome to Groove House by Jill Meniketti on