Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
“You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not.”
I’ve started and deleted my attempts at writing this review over 5 times now.
TSWSYL was just such a powerful book for me, I’m not really sure how to review it.
My social life in school has always been okay. (YES, I’m still in school.) I’ve never been considered popular or unpopular. I’ve always been somewhere in the middle. I have a group of friends who are amazing, and I’ve never gotten bullied, or even teased. Yet somehow, I constantly feel alone.
TSWSYL was such an accurate portrayal of feeling lonely, and different altogether. Ultimately, I believe it’s something we can all relate to.
Elise Dembowski is just the extreme for a lot of people. She’s like the definition of unpopular. She literally has no friends, (at least in the beginning). However, one night that changes. She stumbles across a nightclub, and meets Vicky and Pippa, two friends who are willing to accept Elise for who she really is, and Char; the DJ.
There were a lot of things I loved about this book. But I have to say the one thing that really stood out to me, was that the author doesn’t use a romantic relationship to ‘save’ Elise. Char, the kind-of-love-interest, changes Elise for the better, but not in the typical sense. They don’t fall in love and then everything becomes rainbows and unicorns. In fact I wouldn’t even go as far as to say they fall in love. There’s a popular quote I see a lot, “Some people come into your life as blessings, others come into your life as lessons.” Char was a lesson in Elise’s life. He gave her a love for DJ-ing, which was something that Elise could tether herself to.
More importantly though, her love for DJ-ing/music in general, brought her friends who truly made Elise realize the beauty of life, and what it is to be happy.
That said I did have one issue with the book, that being Elise. She was a very judgmental person, and it felt so hypocritical to read about. She complains about being judged, yet judges others.
But, all in all, This Song Will Save Your Life was a poignant and heartfelt book, one that teaches you to be yourself, and shows you there’s a lot in life worth living for. It’s a story that shows the power of friendship, and the power of music. One, I’m sure, has and will save a lot of lives.
“You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not. True, things don’t stay the same forever: couches are replaced, boys leave, you discover a song, your body becomes forever scarred. And with each of these moments you change and change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions– but always at last it returns to you, like a dancer on the floor. Because throughout it all, you are still, always, you: beautiful and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn’t that – just you – enough.”