“Save Me, Kurt Cobain”: Book Review

While browsing through the “New Releases” YA list on Goodreads, I discovered the book Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer. I instantly decided to buy it because just the title sounded that great.

I was not disappointed with this book, considering I read it in less than two days.

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Save Me, Kurt Cobain is about a teenage girl named Nico. She lives with her father, Verne, after her mother disappeared when she was four. Nico still holds out hope that her mother is out there, and seeks comfort through Nirvana’s music. As the book develops, she finds out her mother went to Nirvana concerts and met Kurt Cobain, and believes Cobain might be her real father. On a trip back from Seattle, she sees someone on the ferry that looks exactly like Cobain. And that’s where the story really develops.

First of all, the writing was fantastic. As I read it, I could really feel Nico’s emotions and understand what was going on. It didn’t feel like she was too juvenile or too old in her thoughts, but more as someone who’s been through a lot and is wise in her 15 years of age. It was sad, but beautiful at the same time. The writing is always what wins me over.

I initially decided to read this book because I’ve always been interested in Kurt Cobain. I like Nirvana, I’ve watched the doc Montage of Heck and I read Heavier than Heaven (which was actually mentioned in the book!) for independent reading in a high school class.  The nice part about this book is that Manzer doesn’t put Cobain on a pedestal. In real life, people tend to depict Cobain as some savior and god-like in regards to his music and cryptic thoughts. Personally, I believe Cobain was someone with a troubled mind who created music people could relate to. Manzer writes about Cobain in this way, showing how he was a normal person who helped others, like Nico. As a reader, you don’t need to be a die-hard Nirvana fan to read this. You can know nothing about Cobain, because Manzer does include facts about him throughout the novel as well as song titles for the chapter titles and information about the band.

While reading, I found myself intrigued the whole time and was absolutely dreading the ending. I was on edge and had no desire to finish it. I was desperate to find out if Nico’s mother was still alive and if Cobain really was alive and her father. Maybe I’m biased because I don’t like book endings, but I was a little disappointed in this ending. I didn’t want it to end, so that may have been why. It may have been that of the multiple subplots throughout the book, I wish one had ended differently (I’m being vague because of spoilers). I never tend to like book, movie or TV endings anyways because I don’t want them to finish, so that’s my opinion. However, I can’t deny that Manzer did have an ending for every subplot and wrapped it all up, so I wasn’t wondering about what happened at the end.

For music lovers, this book is a must. It depicts how much of an impact music can make on others, how one song, album or artist can change your entire life. Music is the comfort some people need to feel okay again, which is what happened to Nico, and me, and millions of others around the world. There’s this one line on page 23 that just makes sense to anyone who’s felt this way about music before: “The music filled all the cracks in my brain, at least for a time.” 

If you like music, beautiful writing, conflicting emotions, and suspense, read this book. I’m serious. You’re going to love it. Oh, and listen to a few Nirvana songs while you’re at it, especially “Sliver.”

Save Me, Kurt Cobain: 4.7/5

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