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Drummond

Drummond is just trying to figure it all out: school, girls, whatever is going on with his parents. It has the potential to be overwhelming, but luckily most of his time is taken up thinking about his current transformation into a percussionist. He was already a drummer, but private lessons quickly pushed him toward something more serious and more dedicated, like the high school drumline. Even though he’s unsure if that’s really where he wants to be, Drummond finds himself immersed in a whole new world that he’s quickly enamored by, complete with a sense of community and new friends that quickly become like family.

Drummond: Learning to Find Himself in the Music is an insightful novel by Patrick R.F. Blakley that draws heavily on his own experiences in high school band. Throughout the story, we see how Drummond’s confidence in himself grows proportionally to his confidence as a drummer as his inner monologue maps out the workings of the teenage mind. The crux of the action falls on the shoulders of the drumline, both in lessons to prepare and the actual practices. Many of the musical details are explained in highly technical terms, although Blakley mentions that he wrote it while keeping non-musical people in mind. 

The inner monologue mentioned earlier is one of the book’s highlights moves the plot along in a natural and endlessly entertaining way. Drummond’s mind is well acclimated to the musical world he is immersed in and moves with a rhythm that suits his talents well.

Blakley’s book also includes a variety of appendices and author’s notes that expand on his own personal experiences in the band, and the record of the drumline. At the same time, he was involved with and inspired by some of the characters. While this portion is written in a distinctly different tone, it’s an exceedingly interesting addition that provides a little more depth and humanity to the events. Blakley’s testimonial solidified the overarching theme of finding yourself and creating your own identity. 

While I did find myself lost through some of the very technical musical lingo, I thought Drummond was a fantastic character and enjoyed every bit of growth he experienced. The awkwardness, the uncertainty, and the grounding nature of finding something you love are everyday encounters for a 13-year-old, and that relatability made the book that much more enjoyable.

Drummond: Learning to Find Himself in the Music is a beautifully written coming-of-age novel for teens and young adults. Teens looking for inspiration or anyone with a love or nostalgia for the marching band will find this book a welcome addition to their collection.

Pages: 322 | ASIN : B09TSKZJ6S

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