“There’s nothing like endless natural beauty to make you realize that life is but a fleeting moment. Where we live, what we do–it’s all temporary compared to something like this. It’s so easy to get caught up in bullshit. Who likes who, who said what, who needs this–whatever this moment is, it’s making me realize that none of it really matters. You just need to be who you want to be and be with people you want to be with. Everything else is just nonsense–details. I am no longer nervous about anything.”
A Million Miles by Amy Fleisher Madden focuses on the world of late 90’s alternative music; the lifestyle of long drives, unwashed clothes, dirty vans, and at times being too close for comfort. Madden began writing her book in 2011. Years before that she started her own record label at just sixteen, and went on her first tour at nineteen. Her unique experiences in the music industry helped her create a story that shows what really happens when five guys bring a girl on tour with them.
At the start of A Million Miles, the main character, Maddy, is given the opportunity to tour manage her favorite band, Crimson + Clover, and immediately takes the opportunity. She’s the kind of girl guys want and girls want to be, but in the most humble way. She owns her own record label (much like Madden did at her age), has put out an album for her best friend, and then begins a new trek as a tour manager. As she and Crimson + Clover journey from the east to the west coast, Maddy is thrown into a whirlwind of touring for weeks at a time. She becomes the ultimate caregiver and daily planner. Every stop they take along the way is a new story and a new experience that is literally one for the books.
Madden writes about the things we wish our favorite bands wrote about, the dirty little secrets that die hard fans would kill to know.
In a lot of ways, A Million Miles is a coming of age story, and it’s so enjoyable. Madden writes about the things we wish our favorite bands wrote about, the dirty little secrets that die hard fans would kill to know. She creates a world of music we wish we could live in and that is the strongest aspect of this insane story.
It doesn’t just focus on the crazy lives of rock stars, but the craziness of being young. Part of growing up is dealing with things we haven’t dealt with before. For most people, that’s bills and taxes. For Maddy, it’s touring and counting merchandise. She gets a different taste of growing up than most people will ever experience. Maddy and Crimson + Clover live the lives people dream about–like staying at the Hard Rock Hotel with your best friends and sneaking your cat in; letting go and living life in the moment, throwing out any form of worry. That makes for an exciting story. The life these characters lead isn’t extravagant. They don’t know when they’re going to wash their clothes next, nor do they remember when they washed their clothes last. They are normal individuals who have extraordinary experiences.
Young Adult (YA) novels are so often about love and dealing with parents, and although A Million Miles has those aspects, they aren’t the main focus. I liked the world Madden created; it’s one we live in but we don’t always get to see. There is literally never a dull moment. From Maddy’s start in Florida, where Crimson + Clover first asked her to go on tour, ’til where the book leaves us in the Badlands of South Dakota, I couldn’t put this story down. Near the beginning, Maddy picks up Needleman (one of the bands members) after a night of bad decisions. From there I knew this would be a book of experiences I wish I was rebellious enough to have. A Million Miles is personal to both the author and the reader and its unique setting gives the story the life that makes a book memorable.
I wish it would’ve been longer. In just 217 pages, expect to be hooked.