Before Tim Federle became a bestselling author and a Broadway playwright, he worked as a back-up dancer at the Super Bowl, a polar bear at Radio City, and a card-carrying chorus boy on Broadway. Life is Life a Musical features 50 tips learned backstage, onstage, and in between gigs, with chapters such as “Dance Like Everyone’s Watching” and “Save the Drama for the Stage.” This charming and clever guide will appeal to all ages and inspire readers to step into the lead role of their own life, even if they’re not a recovering theater major.*
I got an ARC of LIFE IS LIKE A MUSICAL at BookCon last month and, I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know a thing about this book except the title and the author when I got in line for a copy. It’s the author that hooked me – I read Tim Federle’s GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER last year and fell in love with his writing.
This book is listed as self-help/personal growth, which normally would have turned me away, but Tim’s voice is unique and never falls into the cheesiness that I tend to associate with the genre. He delves into his own past – from a kid dreaming of making it as a Broadway dancer to a successful writer – and uses his experiences to provide tips on how to change your perspective on life. While there are (obviously) a lot of musical theater references, someone with no interest in theater can still gain a lot from reading this book.
One of the elements of Tim’s writing that I admire and appreciate greatly is its emotional rawness. He isn’t afraid to hold back, even if it means putting himself in a position to be judged. That honesty has often helped me feel less alone in my own thoughts and feelings. He also acknowledges his privilege and points out where his advice might not be applicable, which is refreshing; these aren’t prescriptions, but suggestions.
If you follow Tim on Twitter (if you don’t, I strongly recommend that you do; I’ll wait), you know he’s hilarious. That humor is strongly present in this book, which was unfortunate when I was reading in public and couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of his one-liners. Then again, a good portion of this book is spent encouraging you to claim your space in the world and be unapologetic in expressing yourself, so maybe it isn’t so unfortunate after all.
What I love the most about LIFE IS LIKE A MUSICAL and what makes me want to gift it to every single person I care about is that every chapter pushes the reader to pursue their passion. Every single person has a yearning within them, something they won’t feel fulfilled without having accomplished. Some people I know are strong enough and brave enough to work toward achieving that fulfillment, but some have given it up as a pipe dream. They see it as something that could never happen, so they give up trying. Well, Tim doesn’t want anyone to settle for less than the life their eight-year-old self envisioned and his latest work contains exactly the kind of inspiration necessary to start finding ways to make your dreams a reality.
The one problem I have with this book: Every time a song was mentioned, it immediately started playing in my head and I had to pause for a dramatic song and dance number. It’s a small price to pay for the great advice Tim gives.
*The cover image and italicized synopsis are from Amazon.com.