Jason Bitner (Ed.): Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves
[St. Martin's Griffin]
Reminiscing the mix tape
Blame it on Twitter, reality television, or the daily sprouting of self-chronicling blogs, but it’s undeniable that we’re living in a voyeuristic culture. Catching glimpses into other’s slice-of-life moments is what we crave; a need that Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves strives to fill.
The compilation of 60 personal recollections from writers and musicians (most notable Claudia Gonson of The Magnetic Fields and The Ice Storm novelist Rick Moody) frames stories of adolescent love around received mix-tapes. Readers are granted access to the popping of a college freshman’s cherry set to the music of Pearl Jam, a first kiss that occurs while The Cure’s “Killing An Arab” is playing from a mix, and dozens of other snapshots of youth, lust, and romance juxtaposed with the indie-rock soundtracks that helped to capture those fleeting experiences. Accompanying the stories are photos of the tapes themselves, including handwritten set-lists and artwork. Not surprising since CFME is edited by Jason Bitner of FOUND magazine fame.
At its best, the book serves as a public forum where its writers apologize for former mistakes, give tribute to life-changing relationships and deceased ex’s, and relive the painful yet glorious moments of young love. It comforts us in the thought that we are never alone in heartbreak and that the wounds we carry aren’t as unique as we believe, but rather common memories that unite each of us.