“A Million Miles” is “Almost Famous” for anyone who ever posted a blurry mirror selfie on Myspace.
It’s 1999, and to recent high school graduate Maddy Traeger, music is everything. While her parents want her to go to college, she’s spending her time promoting shows, self-publishing music ‘zines and even running her own small indie label, putting out music by her sort-of-crush Kieran. Maddy is a very driven character, and if you’ve ever been passionate about anything (like let’s say… books?) you’ll find it easy to relate to her.
After successfully putting on a show for up and coming band Crimson + Clover, Maddy is invited to join the band on the road, managing their tour with Jimmy Eat World. She accepts, and soon discovers that life on the road is anything but easy. There are copious amounts of booze and bandmates that can’t handle it. There are shady promoters looking to underpay your band. And sometimes you’re required to deal with the wounds left on a bandmate by a pissed off pimp.
So yeah, life on the road can be tough, but that doesn’t mean the journey isn’t rewarding.
”A Million Miles” was written by Amy Fleisher Madden, the real life founder of Fiddler Records, the label that introduced the world to A New Found Glory and Dashboard Confessional at the turn of the millennium.
While “A Million Miles” is her first book, it’s very self-assured, likely because she’s drawing from personal experience. There’s an authenticity here that is so sorely lacking in most YA fiction dealing with music, especially when portraying the life of women on the road, with Maddy having to prove herself all over again with every new promotor.
“I’m learning that a vagina will always be an occupational hazard in the music business.”
What we end up with is a coming of age story that stays grounded and never gets too mopey or too faux philosophical. Plus Madden mentions the greatness that is Jimmy Eat World’s “Clarity.” If you like “Clarity,” chances are, I like you.
And I have to admit, I was happy that Vegas was portrayed as a cool place for bands to play, because it totally is. More bands play Vegas, please!
‘A Million Miles’ is available from amillionmilesbook.com.
“Punk rock book club” banner by Andy at Empire13.