The Final Revival of Opal & Nev - Review
*I received this e-arc from 37 Ink & NetGalley. All views are my own*
I want you to close your eyes and relax in the darkness. Now transport yourself back into a time where rugs were shaggy, clothes were tye-dye, afros were sheening, and Rock n Roll were the soundtracks of everything. Are you picturing the 70s? Do you feel the euphoric melody of Donna Summers coursing through your veins? Well, that's what you're getting into when you pick up Dawnie Walton's debut novel, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev.
"Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.
In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.
Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.
Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction."
Styled as a documentary, we follow the story of the creators of Afro-Punk, Opal and Nev. A quirky black girl from Detroit hooks up with a carrot top British singer to form an unbelievable connection that raised many eyebrows during their time. Even though Nev didn't talk much in his interviews, it didn't matter because clearly, the star of the show is Opal!
I was more fascinated by the book's writing style than I was with the story. I have never seen anything structured to where I'm reading a magazine feature as an entire book. It was like reading a transcript of BET's Unsung. I think that was clever, and it grabbed my attention. The writing was so believable that even I thought the musical acts were real. Google did me no justice. Walton did a phenomenal job bringing us readers into the mind of a fictional journalist.
Although interesting, the pacing of the book had its slow spots. It started getting good once the huge revelation was revealed, but I guess that comes with any juicy celeb gossip. We don't care until there's a scandal. I guiltily found myself getting caught up in the chatter while searching for the truth with the interviewer of the story. Now I can see how people are so enthralled with the Kardashians. You can't help it once you step into their world!
Overall I rated the book 4-stars. It filled my little journalistic heart. Walton wrote an incredible story about the love of music, greed, injustice, and unfairness. If I ever wanted someone to do an investigative piece on me, I want Walton to oversee it. I'm adding this one to my shelves! Are you?
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is available now.