REVIEW: On the Road not Taken, Paul Dodgson #BLOGTOUR

Thursday, 7 May 2020

On the Road Not Taken, Paul Dodgson Blog Tour Review
On the Road Not Taken is a memoir about the transformational power of music. It begins with a boy growing up in a small town on the Kent coast in the 1970s, who learns to play the guitar and dreams of heading out on the open road with a head full of songs. But when the moment comes to make the choice he is not brave enough to try and do it for a living. Time passes but the desire to explain the world through music never goes away. And as the years go by it gets harder and harder to risk looking like a fool, of doing the very thing he would most like to do, of actually being himself. Eventually, thirty-five years later, when it feels like time is running out, he walks out onto a stage in front of 500 people and begins to sing again. What follows is an extraordinary period of self-discovery as he plays pubs, clubs, theatres and festivals, overcoming anxiety to experience the joy of performance. 

Paul Dodgson’s On the Road Not Taken is a beautiful-written ode to the role that music has played in his life, but alongside that, it is also so much more. The memoir’s main focus, after-all, is the acknowledgement of the fact that music has always been there: its waiting, unrelenting, sometimes-welcome presence waiting in the wings. And, for a child of the 80s, music (good or bad) formed either the background of all of the important moments in his life, or stepped forward and played the central role.
A true devotee, Dodgson’s memoir relishes in the power of music (however bad that music might have been) and the central role that it played in shaping his desires, aspirations and psyche for years to come. Like most of the musically-minded of us, he grew up with one dream: to turn a supposed pipe dream into a way to make a living. But, life (and more importantly, crippling stage fright) got in the way and, for more than a few decades, those dreams went unrealised and were swept aside for more concrete, viable goals.
Understanding the breadth of the role that music has played in Dodgson’s is unescapable: the book has somewhat of a mixed-media format, with the sporadic inclusion of original song lyrics and chapter heads made up of songs that are intrinsically tied to key memories. Through this medium, the memoir becomes a tapestry of Dodgson’s greatest hits, both of his life and his musical taste, and the invitation to take a walk down memory lane and crack out the record player is more than a little tempting.

Thanks to Unbound and Anne Cater for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Head on over to for this book, as well as all of the others featured in my reviews, complete with the added bonuses of free worldwide shipping and bringing a little joy to my life.

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