A few weeks ago I finished reading Love is a Mix Tape. I intended to write a blog about it then, but something has been stopping me. No, I don’t think it’s Game of Thrones, although it might be. I have been afraid I would be unable to capture the delicate balance of humor and heart present in Rob Sheffield’s writing. You’ve read me gush over him before, after I read Talking to Girls about Duran Duran, which was actually released after Love is a Mix Tape.
This first memoir introduces the reader to first love as Sheffield learned about it. We meet him as an odd young adult and we meet her, Renee: a crazy, carefree southern gal who made a lot of noise. We see them court and fall in love and get married and make a go of it as two aspiring music writers in Charlottesville. And then we see her die, suddenly, in his arms. (Sorry, did that feel like it did when Jaime pushed Bran out the window?)
It’s a sad story, but it’s so much more than that. Having lost a loved one last year, I might have also been afraid of how that bias would manifest itself in my writing about this book. But the truth, as far as I can tell, is that life is a sad story, but it’s so much more than that. Yes, we live. Yes, we die. And hopefully there’s something good in between, everyone knows this. However, Sheffield is able to capture that “something good in between,” in the most rare form.
He doesn’t hold back when sharing how broken he felt when she died. It’s not something life can prepare you for, which is supremely unfair because it’s something nearly everyone will experience. But he gets through it, which is the other part of the story and the other part of life. If you live long enough, and you’re lucky enough to find love, you will eventually know extreme pain and sadness. But this is no reason not to love. Rob Sheffield eventually finds love again. There will never be another “her,” that’s true. But there is always more love in the world. Never forget that.