Read How Soon Is Never? by Marc Spitz Online


There is a light and it never goes out . . . or is there?Welcome to the big Reagan ’80s, where ketchup is a vegetable and the Cold War looms large and chilly. If like Joe Green you were coming of age during this boom era, your main concerns include one or more of the following: a rainbow assortment of Polo shirts worn with the collar flipped up, K-Swiss tennis shoes, a newThere is a light and it never goes out . . . or is there?Welcome to the big Reagan ’80s, where ketchup is a vegetable and the Cold War looms large and chilly. If like Joe Green you were coming of age during this boom era, your main concerns include one or more of the following: a rainbow assortment of Polo shirts worn with the collar flipped up, K-Swiss tennis shoes, a new cable channel called MTV, and Top 40 radio. Stuck in the suburban haze of Long Island, New York, Joe Green knows there has got to be more to life. However, salvation is on the way, in the form of a quiffed-up quartet from Manchester, England, who take over the airways of a local radio station. Hearing the Smiths for the first time jerks Joe awake: Morrissey’s wry and witty lyrics speak to him, and Johnny Marr’s driven guitar chords get under his skin. He destroys his Phil Collins cassettes, pomades his hair into New Wave submission, studies up on his Oscar Wilde, and falls in love. He even shows up for dinner on time. That is, until his favorite band breaks up and then breaks his heart.Fast-forward some fifteen years. Joe Green is making a living as a rock journalist, still recovering from a wicked post-college smack addiction and slumming with youngsters who ironically “appreciate” the seminal ’80s music that once gave his life meaning. It’s too late to go home, or is it? What if Joe Green can get the Smiths back together? What if reuniting the long-broken-up band can reverse the passage of time and bring back the magic of youth? What if it helps him win the heart of the woman he loves?How Soon Is Never? is an acerbic, ingenious look at Reagan-era adolescence, the power of hearing a record that changes your life, and the dangers of nostalgia. Be prepared to see a bit of yourself in Joe Green....

Title : How Soon Is Never?
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780609810408
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

How Soon Is Never? Reviews

  • Laura
    2019-03-28 19:09

    Light and funny, but with a strong yearning underneath. Why aren't there more books about the Smiths?

  • Lori
    2019-04-08 00:06

    How Soon is Never? is primarily fan fiction for Smithophiles. It posits the ultimate dream for us: The Smiths reunited once again. Wouldn't anyone who ever gelled their hair into a perfect quiff, wrapped strings of faux beads around their paisley clad necks or rejected meat as murder move hell or high tide to make that happen if they could?I liked this book...not because it was a great book...but because it was not much of a stretch to put myself and the friends of my youth into the story. An egotistical way to view a book. But, if you are going to read a coming-of-age story it never hurts that the character coming of age is obsessed with the same things you were when you were making that rite of passage.I wouldn't quite say that I have encyclopedic knowledge of The Smiths. However, I can quote yards of Smiths lyrics to this day. Two fond memories repeatedly occurred to me as I read How Soon Is Never?: Seeing The Smiths perform after the release of The Queen is Dead in around 1987 and being amazingly seated front and center. It felt like I could reach out and grab Mozzer and his stage presence really was amazing. And having a rambling and slightly inebriated conversation with a good friend one evening when I was about 19, which tested our theory that you could apply a Smiths lyric to just about any life situation. Reading this book reminded me that there are plenty of other people out there with similar memories of a time, a place, a scene and a seminal band and that these memories can still resonate after two decades have passed. And at least one person thought to put it into a book. There is a light that never goes out...

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-27 02:51

    This is sort of like readable crack for someone like me...a coming of age novel whose main character is about my age (maybe 5-8 years younger) and obsessed with music in general and the Smiths in particular. As he goes off to Bennington (!!), a guidance counselor warns him, "Stay away from the cocaine." Spitz observes. "I did stay away from the cocaine. It was the heroin that was a problem." I don't expect this book to teach me anything or to improve my life in any way, but it's pretty damned fun. I bought it used, partly because there was a long, very touching inscription in the front, that quoted a Smiths song. (And the woman it was dedicated to apparently had no problem trading it in for a few bucks...wonder what the story there was?)

  • Josiah Blevins
    2019-04-12 18:59

    This book might be close to YA fiction, but its subject matter is close to my heart. I believe that the first 2/3 of the book are an autobiography of the author. While he does talk about the Smiths a lot, it's really his own account of growing up in the shadow of New York City and the development of his music obsession. I loved Marc Spitz' writing for Spin as I was growing up, and this book is really made in his image. RIP Marc

  • Laura Obscura
    2019-04-16 22:05

    This book seemed awesome, as I'm a Smiths fan. But the end is a total WTF. Waste of time. The interviews with various band members are kind of worth it. Unless you're not a Smiths fan. Then just walk away now.

  • Julie Stout
    2019-04-03 23:53

    If you love Morrissey, like I do, this book is incredible. It's like uniting with a devotee of Morrissey that gets him on the religious/sacred level that you do. I'm going to have to eat this one up again soon!

  • jtabz
    2019-03-30 01:43

    I thought I was going to hate Spitz--er, the narrator who coincidentally bears a more than uncanny resemblance to Spitz--but his candor and honest self-evaluation make him transcend the Whiny Gen Xer trap. (See "Chuck Klosterman.")

  • kathleen
    2019-04-17 00:01

    a boys-eye-view of what life is like as someone who has their entire world turning on a musical axis. well, with several sides of illegal substances and heartbreak added in....

  • Drew
    2019-04-23 23:42

    I heard Spitz died last month. Mark Maron repeated an interview he did with Spitz back in 2013 as a tribute. Ordered this book--a book that has long eluded me--to accompany me on a trip to the Caribbean. These are my thoughts:As a sucker for a coming-of-age story, it was hard not to love the first half, which mainly chronicles Mean Joe Green's spoiled, Anglophile existence in 1980's Long Island. Spitz is obviously fictionalizing himself to an excessive degree, but that is by no means a criticism. Joe is a lovable asshole who routinely spazzes out on those he claims to love. When Joe grows up about halfway through the book, we find a bratty adult version who is still 16 in his mind. The rock journalist persona he creates validates his shitty behavior in dark New York bars where he drinks himself blind and fucks college aged hipsters, attempting to fill a void his parents attributed to greatly. Then, comes Miki. Miki is a co-journalist/pseudo girlfriend to Joe. Joe dangerously obsesses over Miki. Miki has a boyfriend. Joe is sad. This theme cyclones around for a few whirls before the book ends. All the while they are attempting to reunite Joe's favorite band since 1985, The Smits? Never heard of em.

  • Michael Hanchett
    2019-04-19 19:44

    Good book. As a non Smiths fan I still enjoyed it, the writing was very good. It was not my typical fare and my only complaint was more personal. It was difficult to feel much sympathy for a main character I clearly did not identify with and whose life was just a series of poor choices. He was so obviously unhappy because he chose unhappiness. He was never very likable and was not really someone you even want to know. I didn't want the love interest to end up with him for her own sake.

  • Semi
    2019-04-16 01:47

    Smiths und Coming of age-Story. Willy Russell hat das mit seinem Fliegenfänger unerreichbar gut hinbekommen, aber How soon is never (so der Originaltitel) ist ebenfalls durchaus gelungen. Liest sich leicht, die Hauptfiguren sind zumindest somewhat relatable, und naja, die Idee einer Smiths-Reunion hat wohl jede*r Fan schon gehabt. Fanfiction, quasi.

  • Dannielle Insalaco
    2019-03-31 23:59

    Recommended by my son. Very good but felt really old when the main character freaks out over turning 30.

  • Bookish Jen
    2019-03-26 22:44

    There are music fans, and then there are music fans. And in Marc Spitz’s engrossing novel How Soon is Never one such music fan is Joe Green, a music journalist who has been obsessed with the British band the Smiths since high school.Working as a music journalist for the magazine Headphones) Joe joins forces with his co-worker, Miki, to reunite the Smiths whose break up he never quite got over. He does this not just because he’s a huge fan of the seminal band, but to also give his life meaning. And maybe, just maybe, Joe will get closer to Miki, who he has fallen for big time.The book begins in the 1980s. Joe is a teen-ager growing up on Long Island. His parents’ marriage busted up ages ago, and Joe is feeling alienated at his private school. He finds solace hanging out with the other outsiders in the school’s art room and listening to the alternative radio station WLIR. Needing to believe in anything, Joe is soon drawn to the Smiths whose moody and melancholic music matches Joe’s moody and melancholic adolescence. Lead singer Morrisey’s pain is Joe’s pain.The Smiths become Joe’s sole reason for existing, making him new friends and expanding his horizons. Joe often finds himself in Manhattan, perusing record stores and clubs, and finally getting to see the Smiths in concert, which not surprisingly, is a highlight of Joe’s existence. But sadly, all good things come to an end. The Smiths break up, and the friendships Joe made in school don’t survive past graduation.Now it’s years after high school and Joe is about to turn 30. After kicking a horrible smack habit, and wandering through life, Joe has carved out a niche at Headphones. And he has never quite gotten over the Smiths breaking up. It’s at Headphones where Joe meets Miki, the editor’s assistant. Not only do Joe and Miki share the same birthday, they are also huge fans of the Smiths. How cool would it be if they could get the Smiths back together even if it was for just one gig?Headphones’ editor is very intrigued by this idea, and gives Joe and Miki the green light to pursue this venture. Of course, this is not going to be easy. There is a lot of bad blood among the members of the Smiths and a lot of legal baggage. But Joe and Miki are not to be deterred. And they begin their musical journey with Joe handling the interviews and Miki handling the logistics of getting them from point A to point B.Our fearless duo is able to finagle interviews with Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke and Johnny Marr. Joe gets each one of them to say “yes” on record, they would reunite the Smiths if possible. And Mike, Andy and Johnny also do a bit of flirting with Miki, which rattles Joe a wee bit.But it is former Smiths’ lead singer who evades Joe and Miki, and Joe begins to wonder if reuniting the Smiths is even worth it if he can’t have Miki. And as the story culminates outside of Morrisey’s gated house in LA, Joe spills his guts to Miki claiming his love for her and his desire to spend his life with her.Joe may not get the girl, but he might finally get some hard-won maturity. Later Joe claims, “I couldn’t even enjoy a Smiths reunion, Miki. I can’t even enjoy the songs anymore. It used to remind me too much of the band breaking up. Now it reminds me too much of you. There’s too much pain there! Those songs…they’re fucking ruined! And that’s why the Smiths don’t reunite. That’s why they can’t reunite! That’s why they shouldn’t fucking reunite! That’s why we can’t fucking unite! There’s too much pain here now!”How Soon is Never is one of those books that grabs and pretty much doesn’t let you go ‘til you read the last sentence. You probably don’t have to be a huge Smiths fan to relate to Joe, but it does help. After I finished How Soon is Never I dusted off my old Smiths’ tapes, and listened to them over and over again. Yep, so many years later, their music still holds up.Any Gen X-ers will relate to the spot-on 80s references. I thought using song titles and lyrics as chapter titles was a clever touch. And I have to admit I laughed (and cringed) when one of Joe’s high school chums got absolutely indignant when he found out the popular kids in school had discovered the Smiths, “Do not do that,” he (John) screamed, shaking the guy. “They are not for you! You fuckers already took U2!”Most of all How Soon is Never captures how music gets us through the difficult times both as an adolescent and as an adult, and gives our lives meaning even when things don’t quite according to plan.Published at The Book Self:

  • John Marr
    2019-04-17 03:05

    Would have given it one more star if it had been 100 pages shorter. Great title, though

  • Al Young
    2019-04-13 20:43

    I never planned on reading this book, because if anyone is going to get paid for writing Smiths fanfiction, it's going to be me. Still, I heard good things about it, and found it for next to nothing in a Cedar Rapids used bookstore.For starters, it's a very readable book. Spitz isn't laugh out loud funny as David Sedaris, have unexpected plot twists like Irvine Welsh, or flat out weird like Mark Leyner. It is a quick read though, and all but the very end of the book is a page-turner.For those who grew up a bit on the weird side, you will probably relate to Spitz, and when he writes about unrequited love, it generally reads true. I wasn't lucky enough to live in driving distance of New York or have a cool radio station that played New Wave 24 hours a day (my story is closer to Kurdt in Aberdeen), but there's a lot to relate to.That said, it's a flawed book, starting with the premise - will getting the Smiths back together help him win the woman he loves. The book is obviously aimed at Smiths obsessives, and I suspect they account for about 80% of this book's sales, if not more. Spitz may be a fan, but there's not anything here that couldn't be written about any band.For an obsessive, the protagonist seems pretty willing to turn in The Queen is Dead for Appetite for Destruction. He goes from Strangeways to Your Arsenal (with a quick reference to Kill Uncle). No Viva Hate? No "November Spawned a Monster" or "Last of the Famous International Playboys"? I realize that sounds petty, but if you plan on profiting from the pockets of Smiths obsessives, you better be sure you pay off.A major flaw in the book is that it stays fiction, though it reads as fact (both writer and narrator are writers for Alternative music magazines who share names with 70s sports stars). Spitz presumes to know how the individual Smiths would react, and puts words in their mouths and makes them characters in the books. Now, I've read interviews and could probably presume to know. Still, it seems dishonest.The last point is that the character isn't always likable. Sure, I knew he would likely be a hipster d-bag, but he's also pretty much an a-hole, too. We all have our awkward teen moments, but story 'hero' Joe Green can be a bit too self-centered to cheer for.Overall, you could do worse for a summer read, but it probably got more attention because of the subject matter than anything.

  • Neil Dewhurst
    2019-04-17 18:53

    Amid some neat, sweet, observations, there's a long coming of age tale that takes up the first half of the book, and which, the music thread aside, I felt distant from, followed by a coming to terms tale and a realisation, a truth Joe finds for himself, which almost saves the day, and while it was fun to read imagined interviews with the band members (based on real interviews by Spitz or others, I wonder?), ultimately the book disappoint.There are highlights: as an avid R.E.M fan I couldn't help but smile at that band's brief appearance, and as an avid, rabid, music lover I've experienced the thrill of listening to something utterly amazing for the first time, time after time. As for getting the band together? Oh, I fully second that emotion - I wasn't fortunate ever to see The Smiths play, but I've seen Morrissey quite a few times, a good enough proxy. Several bands I fell in love with years ago have since reformed and toured, not always successfully, but a part of me will always wish I could have seen, could still see a band like The Smiths in their majestic prime. It's not going to happen, but that doesn't stop the likes of me and Joe Green from dreaming.But while it's a nice dream, the way it develops in How Soon is Never? wasn't anything like as satisfying as the Smiths albums I was listening to while reading the book. If only I could have warmed to Joe a little more, maybe I'd have warmed to the book likewise.

  • Jim
    2019-04-26 18:47

    Yes, this is a book for Smiths fans, and I love their music especially the guitar sounds created by Johnny Marr.The book is also a coming of age book, a geeky high school kid becomes a lonely thirty year old. It has some attractive romance elements. But at its core this is a book that is passionate about rock and roll music, and that's why I liked it.And, although the book focuses on the Smiths, it has this to say about the Clash:"The ice age is coming, the sun zooming in, meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin..."This was confirmation of my fears. This wasn't Dionne Warwick asking the way to San Jose. Or Paul McCartney wondering why you said goodbye when he said hello. This was some guy - who was, I surmised, as I scanned the sleeve, named the Clash - blowing away my mother's fuzzy logic about the impossibility of "a nuclear error." I stared at the cover. An angry man was smashing his bass guitar on the floor of a concert stage.What the fuck is really going on in the world? I wondered. Why are they telling me not to prepare for destruction? This is the sound of destruction and it's pretty fucking convincing.I knew instantly that this guy - this thing called Clash - was right, and my mother was wrong...

  • Manuel Batsching
    2019-03-28 23:09

    This is the autobiographical story of a New York based ex-heroin-addicted, alcoholic, chain-smoking rock critic, who suffers from the fact, that he is heading towards retirement age (30). In a long retrospective he explains how the music of The Smiths played an important part in his coming of age and his whole life ever since. Finally he and his smith-loving soul-mate, a girl, he fell in love with hopelessly try to convince the band to reunite.I loved to read this novel not only because I feel the pain of being dangerously close to my own 30s, but also I am a big fan of The Smiths and 80s post-punk and new wave myself and there are plenty of references to bands and songs from this time and genre in the book.

  • Chris Freeman
    2019-03-30 00:54

    This book is a combination coming-of-age high school story and dealing with turning 30 story. It could kind of be two books, actually, although the two time periods of the main charcter's life are tied together.It's a fine story, but there isn't much to it beyond what's printed on the page. The author spells out pretty much everything the main character is going through and if you've read any coming-of-age stories or come of age yourself, it's easy to get ahead of what's going on in the book.But it's still a fun read, true to life as far as basic human nature, and very rock n roll... The story involves the members of the Smiths and I think every other sentence is a Smiths reference.

  • Clive Young
    2019-03-29 22:07

    Once you make it through the first 40 pages--a full-blast onslaught of depressing, occasionally gross material with no humor at all--the book sparks to life and becomes a fairly fun 'chick lit for guys' (something I bet the hero of the book would probably refer to as 'dick lit'). You don't have to be a die-hard Smiths fan (I only ever owned two albums, and don't know them backwards and forwards), but it'll definitely help. A while back, I read Joe Pernice's Smiths-based novella in the 33 1/3 book series, and while they're both about troubled suburban Northeast U.S. teenage boys in the 80s going to private schools, I'll give this the slight edge, as it shows what the kid grew up into.

  • Sissy
    2019-04-03 23:48

    I could read about the moment a person discovers the music that changed their life any day. It was an easy read, but brought me back to moments of discovery in my own life. While it didn't offer any new views on how music can make a person feel, it was a coming of age story, but not a typical one. A coming of adult age, I suppose. The book, while wrapped in punk and new age nostalgia is a story about turning 30 and the realization that a person, whether a friend or a lover, cannot fix all the things that are wrong. It flows nicely, doesn't take it self too seriously. Wasn't the most amazing book, but was comforting.

  • Rebecca
    2019-04-11 01:52

    I wanted to love this book. I really did but I just did not. I could not get past the horrible cliche of the main character. When the story takes us back in time to when Joe was a teenager and discovers music for the first time I felt a twinge of love. I remember that feeling of having everything relate to music, dictate who you could be friends with and spends hours on end listening to the radio in hopes of hearing that newly released single. Music was my everything just at had been with Joe. I related, completely and was loving the book. But then like a bad break up, the author went back to his bad cliche of a character and I was heart broken.

  • Johnny
    2019-04-03 02:49

    Marc Spitz has succeeded in basically telling my life story. From the suburban nerd turned punk turned new-waver to the 30-something NYC semi-sleaze picking up girls who weren't even born when the first Smith's LP was released. It's like he's reading my mind. Though not stated, this is obviously an autobiographical novel. Filled with details that only someone who came of age in the 80's could describe with such intricacy and emotion. This book made me both miss those innocent 1980's days of high school and thank god they are long behind me. Overall this is about the love of music and the effect it has on the true believer. Nice work, Marc.

  • Stephanie
    2019-04-13 02:02

    Morrissey: "Nun ich versuche allen Sachen, die über die Smiths geschrieben werden, aus dem Weg zu gehen, weil ich annehme, dass sie mich dramatisch erregen werden. Ich habe Leute, die es für mich gelesen haben"."Also jetzt: Daumen hoch oder Daumen runter?"Morrissey: "Ich sag dir's nicht. Du willst doch nur gelobt werden!"Ich (als eine von ihnen, die es für ihn gelesen haben): "Die ganze Geschichte war vom Anfang traurig, emotionell, lustig, aufregend, deprimierend. Das Ende gleicht das Ganze aber nicht aus. What can make good of the bad that's been done? ".

  • Gerry LaFemina
    2019-04-20 23:01

    so much more satisfying than Spitz's Too Much Too Late, this book feels complete--the narrator's an honest, self-conscious music journalist who has constantly tried to run away from his life, even in the task he's set himself up with, reuniting the Smiths. (Having never been a Smiths fan--I know I know many of you 40 somethings are saying "How is that possible!?!?"--this premise seems amusing to me and gives the novel a fantasy appeal). The narrator is so candid, so vulnerable, so real, I wanted to keep reading.

  • Rolo de la France
    2019-03-30 23:45

    por un tiempo a principios de los 00's leia la revista SPIN, y este libro junto a Sex, drugs and cocopuffs siempre eran anunciados y siempre tuve la curiocidad. En el 2010 o 11 decidi comprarlo y leerlo. Para mi, The Smiths, son como una religion asi que este libro me gusto mucho.Por sierto de que en el 2012 se lo preste a una chava (Vane) y nunca me lo devolvio. Talves fue el precio de los placeres, talvez solo falta de educacion, igual una copia nueva ahora lo reemplasa en mi librero. El original es el que tenia mis historietas de Londres =/

  • Kaitlin
    2019-04-07 18:43

    Being are ardent Smiths fan (most people hit that phase at some point?) and reading Marc Spitz constantly in Spin, especially the article where he interviewed himself, I waited -- pins and needs, bated breath -- for this book to come out. All that I could muster after this surprisingly long read was 'meh'.There were good parts, there were not so good parts. I doubt anything, really, could have lived up to my expectation and excitement.

  • John Moon
    2019-04-22 20:53

    When I first read this book at 24 I thought, "Wow, I may very well end up like this guy."Having reread it at 32, I am glad I didn't.Well written with a wonderful sense of self deprecation. Any fan of The Smiths has longed for the idea of their reunion at least once. Please, please, please read.

  • Jillita
    2019-04-07 01:48

    I'm not ashamed to admit my history with The Smiths and this fictional story takes one fellow fan's obsession to the next level as he tracks down the members of the band to talk them into reuniting one last time. Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll follow in kind. Delivers a good does of nostalgia for those of us still living in 1986.

  • Dee Capybara
    2019-03-27 23:09

    If you love the Smiths and 80's music references then you will love this book, but let me just emphasize if you do not like Morrissey then do not read this book because this is a story about one man's love, hetero love, for an amazing artist of Kroon. Also if you can relate 2 once being an angst outsider that loved music in your teens and had a rebellious edge... this book may be for you...