Five Flavors of Dumb


Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John


Piper isn’t impressed by Dumb’s over the top antics. Sure they may have won the battle of the bands, but they didn’t win over Piper.

Even though Piper cannot hear their raucous music, she knows this much: they need to get their act together. And when she tells them exactly that, front man Will takes it as a challenge. If she can turn them into an honest to goodness band with a paying gig, that she can have the honor of managing them.

The only good thing about taking this challenge is the fact that, if she is their manager, she has to be cut in on their royalties. She needs the money, especially after her parents drained her college fund of her baby sister’s cochlear implants. Hesitant, she accepts the challenge realizing this may be her ticket out of Seattle.

Getting a paying gig isn’t the challenge. Turns out being Dumb’s manager is the real challenge. Will Piper rise to the occasion and realize that rock and roll isn’t about the paycheck, but rather the passion? Or will she burn out before she gets the chance to shine?

Five Flavors of Dumb, written by author Antony John, is more than just a contemporary book about a band. It’s a book about finding one’s self in the midst of everyone else’s preconceived notions of who you are.

Dumb may be rock starts on the rise, but author John’s writing  is the real rock star.  John’s strong words and even stronger description bring this book to life. Reading, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the action, in the emotions, and the lives of the characters.

In terms of characters, each were interesting, complex, and above all things, honest. John’s characters of multi-layered creatures who, when you peel back their superficial layers, are the kinds of characters that readers will easily identify with.  Beyond that, they are the kinds of characters that readers will view more as friends rather than fictional characters they will only meet between the covers of the book.

Main character Piper is one for the books. She is smart, determined, and does not let her being deaf stand in her way of managing a rock band. Full of great qualities that readers will root for, Piper is the poster child of underdog. In true form, she rises to the occasion, and by the books end, she’s, not only self-assured (she has the pink hair to prove it) but she’s proving every preconceived notion that anyone has every thought about her wrong.

Five Flavors of Dumb really should have been a five-star book for me. After all, it had everything I would want in a book – great characters, a solid plot, and it’s chock full of Nirvana references – but there was one very big, very important aspect of the book that knocked a star off of my rating. Piper’s parents, especially her father.

Reading, I constantly felt as if they undermined  her, not just as their daughter, but as a human being. They often treated her like an outsider because of her disability, and beyond that a hinderance they couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to at times. This really, really bothered me. And it’s little consolation that they started to right their wrongs by the end, but it still wasn’t enough to add that star back to the rating.

Push come to shove, I really did enjoy John’s Five Flavors of Dumb.  What I enjoyed most, besides the musical aspect, was the books message: no one and nothing can hold you back. Only you have the ability to do that. And I think that, if you give Dumb a chance, you too will enjoy it!

(Cover image from GoodReads)