Songs Only You Know: A Memoir

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Songs Only You Know: A Memoir

by Sean Madigan Hoen

Soho Press | March 10, 2015 | Trade Paperback

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Eighteen-year-old Sean Madigan Hoen was struggling to keep his involvement in the city’s hardcore punk scene a secret from his family. Then he learned that his father, too, had a second life—as a crack addict. 
 
Songs Only You Know begins in the ''90s and spans a decade during which the family fights to hold itself together. Sean’s father cycles from rehab to binge, his heartsick sister spirals into depression, and his mother works to spare what can be spared. Meanwhile, Sean seeks salvation in a community of eccentrics and outsiders, making music Spin magazine once referred to as “an art-core mindfuck.” But the closer Sean comes to realizing his musical dream, the further he drifts from his family and himself.
 
By turns heartbreaking and mordantly funny, Songs Only You Know is a fierce, compassionate rendering of the chaos and misadventure of a young man’s life.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 384 pages, 7.89 × 5.13 × 0.99 in

Published: March 10, 2015

Publisher: Soho Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1616955333

ISBN - 13: 9781616955335

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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– More About This Product –

Songs Only You Know: A Memoir

by Sean Madigan Hoen

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 384 pages, 7.89 × 5.13 × 0.99 in

Published: March 10, 2015

Publisher: Soho Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1616955333

ISBN - 13: 9781616955335

Read from the Book

The aluminum bat leaned against the garage wall, next to a rake and a hoe and four bicycles with flat tires and rusty chains.…             I didn’t think it over, just grabbed the thing by its handle and kept walking, out the back door and down the driveway, cutting onto the sidewalk, all the while possessed by a harsh internal music. Tonight’s was midtempo and repetitive, a minor key blaring silently and in time with each footfall­­. Just about anywhere, anytime, there’d be a song in mind, and I never tired of moving notes, shifting the rhythms, sliding one chord into the next. I’d do this at work, at family dinners, while listening to my girlfriend Lauren on the phone—no one suspected the storm of guitars happening in my thoughts. As a kid sitting in church pews I’d written my earliest songs, reinventing the solemn melodies of the Catholic mass as dramatic rock epics of mayhem and destruction. They’d always sounded best in the low ranges, and the one I was hearing tonight was no exception. I saw the bass tones waving out to drench whatever was before me: houses and parked cars, the roadside mailboxes lining the street. Twelve-something a.m. The kind of boiler-hot Michigan night we got once or so a year.              After a couple blocks, as if surrendering to the trance, I veered curbward and cocked my e
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From the Publisher

Eighteen-year-old Sean Madigan Hoen was struggling to keep his involvement in the city’s hardcore punk scene a secret from his family. Then he learned that his father, too, had a second life—as a crack addict. 
 
Songs Only You Know begins in the ''90s and spans a decade during which the family fights to hold itself together. Sean’s father cycles from rehab to binge, his heartsick sister spirals into depression, and his mother works to spare what can be spared. Meanwhile, Sean seeks salvation in a community of eccentrics and outsiders, making music Spin magazine once referred to as “an art-core mindfuck.” But the closer Sean comes to realizing his musical dream, the further he drifts from his family and himself.
 
By turns heartbreaking and mordantly funny, Songs Only You Know is a fierce, compassionate rendering of the chaos and misadventure of a young man’s life.


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Sean Madigan Hoen was raised in Dearborn, Michigan and spent his young adulthood touring and recording in several Detroit-based music groups, including Thoughts of Ionesco, The Holy Fire and Leaving Rouge. His fiction has appeared in numerous publications, including BOMB Magazine, where he was awarded the 2011 Fiction Award. He has taught creative writing at Columbia University and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Songs Only You Know: A Memoir is his first book.

Editorial Reviews

A Rolling Stone  Best Book of 2014 A Flavorwire Must-Read Book A Minnesota Public Radio Best Book "[ Songs Only You Know is a] gritty, gripping punk-rock memoir . . . nuanced and poetic. It''s funny at times, always brutally honest; a half-healed bruise, tender and multi-colored. Few books convey the fever-pitch intensity of youth with such vividness and so little glamorization, or as deeply explore the heartbreaking complexity of family—both those we''re born into and the ones we choose." —Rolling Stone "Unsettling and riveting . . . Prompts us to reflect on our own demons, and how we''ve tried to—and perhaps succeeded in—exorcising them. The grit and guts of Songs Only You Know  goad us into this introspection and stir anticipation for his next book." —Time Out New York "A Kerouac-like saga fueled with energy and ecstasy. [Hoen] chronicles the small audience clubs and cities through an alcohol- and drug-addled haze. Don’t be fooled that this might be strictly a wild ride about the punk music scene because it certainly isn’t . . . Ultimately, it is the honesty and passion with which he writes that overwhelms the reader." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Eschewing rock ’n’ roll memoir stereotypes, Songs doesn’t glorify sex and drugs, instead exploring the harder parts of romance and addiction . . . the reader is exposed to every inch of Hoen’s struggle with keeping his family together through near-insu
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