Processing Grief: A Review of Love is a Mixtape

“I knew I would have to relearn how to listen to music, and that some of the music we’d loved together I’d never be able to hear again”

Rob Sheffield

Oh, Love is a Mixtape! I love this book so much. There is something so special about memoirs and autobiographies. They always hold such a warm place in my heart. I find it so inspiring and touching to step into the life of the author and see the experiences that led them to where they are now. The author of Love is a Mixtape, Rob Sheffield, is now a successful journalist and contributing editor for the Rolling Stone magazine. In his memoir, he takes us back to the ’90s when he was happily married to a beautiful and vibrant woman named Renee. For 5 years, they had a happy marriage filled with love and lots of music. In 1997, Renee passed away very suddenly from a pulmonary embolism. Sheffield uses music to tell their story. The result is a stunning memoir focusing on love and loss.

I think Rob has a real gift for noticing the beauty in people and recognizing the “specialness” of a moment. Rob’s memories, such as sitting nearby as Renee listens to mix tapes and sews skirts in their living room, are so specific and wonderfully mundane. They really paint a picture of a young couple, buoyed by their special bond and their shared passion for music. I felt like I was falling in love with Renee as I read Rob’s beautiful descriptions of her. The reality of her loss struck me. Even as a distant reader, I couldn’t fathom that someone so personable and creative and young could be taken so suddenly. Rob was quite young when he lost Renee, and he discusses how isolating the experience of being a young widower can be. Sheffield begins each chapter with a custom mixtape that corresponds with that chapter. I highly recommend that you follow along with the music as you read. I would play the music softly as I read, and it really heightened my experience. Rob’s great passion in life is music, and I really enjoyed his recommendations. Some of the mix tapes included songs that I never would have heard had it not been for this book. Love is a Mixtape is a true love letter to his first wife. It is a beautiful homage to a wonderful woman. It is also a reminder of the power of music, how it shapes our happiest moments and helps us through our darkest.

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