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Book Review: October Song: A Memoir of Music and the Journey of Time

October Song: A Memoir of Music and the Journey of Time. David W. Berner. Roundfire Books, April 28, 2017, Trade Paperback, 192 pages. 

Reviewed by Michelle Burwell.

Too often we grip so steadfastly to expectations that we miss what is right in front of us. But in October Song: A Memoir of Music and the Journey of Time, author David W. Berner explores how profound and beautiful life can be when we let go of those expectations.

Berner takes readers on a veritable journey, a 500-mile road trip, during which he realizes he is never too old to chase his dreams and yet, sometimes the dreams chased are just a small part of a much bigger picture.

At 57, life for Berner was not what he had expected it to be, and in many ways, it was better. He had recently fallen in love with Leslie, a woman who would open his mind and force him out of his comfort zone. He was consistently writing music again and after submitting to a national song writing competition on a whim, Berner is named a finalist. The catch? He has to perform his song at Rapunzel’s, a music venue with historic music roots in Lovingston, VA.

While Berner is hesitant, Leslie convinces him to go and turn it into an adventure. As the couple drives 500 miles for Berner to play his three-minute song on stage, the trip becomes less about the ultimate dream, that single moment, and more about the journey along the way.

Leslie and David meet old friends, explore the country, and fill the trip with music from their past. The road trip becomes one of those few moments of extreme clarity in life, where something like a nostalgic song can bring what truly matters into sharp focus.

October Song is a beautifully written memoir about love, adventure, and change. It is especially powerful for readers who may be questioning their purpose, confining themselves to some sort of time limit, or limiting themselves by holding on to expectations.


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