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Thursday, February 29th, 2024  

Matt Pryor

Red Letter Days

Published by WashedUp Books

Feb 02, 2024 Bookmark and Share

Matt Pryor is the frontman for the band The Get Up Kids, which made a name for itself in the early to mid-aughts at the height of the emo craze. Red Letter Days is his memoir. But not really.

Red Letter Days purports itself to be Pryor’s “debut novel.” It is taken from journal entries from 1990-2000 and is as such more of a tour diary of Pryor’s early band days. The book is a “novel” insomuch as Pryor avoids naming names or providing dates or much context to the journeys he chronicles in the book’s relatively short chapters. The problem is that this conceit does not give Pryor anonymity. Those who pick up Red Letter Days will undoubtedly be fans of Pryor and his bands, and making readers play connect the dots with his story can be frustrating. And yet, taken on its own, if one were able to separate the writer from the writing, Red Letter Days can easily stagnate. One feels like both the casual reader and the Get Up Kids fan would have been happier with a little more meat on the bone, so to speak.

Pryor shares any number of anecdotes herein and his days as a struggling musician desperate to avoid (unsuccessfully, mind you) the “emo” tag may be revelatory for diehard fans. But the book doesn’t seem to transcend in the way that Pryor intends.


Author rating: 5.5/10

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