Title: Five Flavors of Dumb
Author: Antony John
Rating: 4 Stars
Piper is a seventeen-year-old high school senior, and she's just been challenged to get her school's super-popular rock band, Dumb, a paying gig. The catch? Piper is deaf. Can she manage a band with five wildly different musicians, nurture a budding romance, and discover her own inner rock star, though she can't hear Dumb's music?
Five Flavors of Dumb is a novel I’ve had on my radar for awhile, but one I simply brushed off a countless number of times. It was never a priority on my list, but when I found myself stranded waiting for a long time with nothing to read but this novel on my Kindle, I decided to give it a shot. Well, it would be an understatement to say I was pleasantly surprised because more than anything, I was simply astounded by the depth of this tale. Five Flavors of Dumb is more than “just another music novel.” It’s a story about family, friendships, discovering yourself, and ultimately, belonging.
One of the main reasons Five Flavors of Dumb and I hit off so well was because it was a primarily character-driven novel. Piper is the type of protagonist I love. While she knows she’s intelligent, she fails to see the other remarkable traits she possesses in a very realistic manner that never makes her come across as vain. Furthermore, as a deaf heroine, her perspective of life is different, all while seeming to be achingly familiar too. Seeing Piper grow, adjust, learn, and make long-lasting bonds of friendship was simply beautiful. John makes your heart beat in sync with that of his characters, so you as the reader are completely invested in their tale, even if you didn’t think you would be.
In addition, Five Flavors of Dumb sheds a notable amount of light on band dynamics. As a lover of music, I adored seeing the dysfunctional members of this band, Kallie, Tash, Josh, and Ed, finally come together to create something more than just music. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the friendships Piper forms with these band members was reminiscent of the friendships formed in Melina Marchetta’s Saving Francesca. They were just as heart-warming and touching to read and I found myself cheering for this group the whole way. Lastly though, I have to mention Piper’s relationship with her family. Not only was it achingly realistic, but it is also so rare to see such an honest portrayal of family life in contemporary literature. I can’t do any justice to it through descriptions, but just know that it made tears come to my eyes on more than one bittersweet occasion.
I can’t recommend Five Flavors of Dumb enough. If you’re a lover of music, slow-burning romance, well-rounded characters, and unfailing character friendships, then you simply must pick this book up. Five Flavors of Dumb may have been my first Antony John novel, but it will, by no means, be my last.