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Rock 'n' roll isn't just about sex and drugs. It's about self-expression, lasting friendships, and self-empowerment. That's what Alex learns after she starts playing bass for a rock band in this almost true story. Joyce Raskin, author and musician, culls from her memories to create this funny, touching, and honest look at what it's like to be a teenager, a girl, and a rock star all at the same time.Also included are a note from the author, instructions on how to play basic guitar chords, advice on songwriting, and more!
Hello, My Name Is AlexHello, my name is Alex. I’m fourteen years old. I’m a rock star. My book is all about what it’s like being a rock star, a teenager, and a girl—all at the same time (which isa lot). Being fourteen is hard, but playing music helps me through all the tough times.I wasn’t always a rock star. Before I turned fourteen, here’s what my life was like . . .(Flashback begins. Hum flashback-type music here in your mind.Di di di di di di di).We have been transported to the room of a young teenager in a typical house in the suburbs of New Jersey. The girl sits in front of her pink unicorn mirror gazing at her reflection. This is Alex, short for Alexis. She’s a short, pasty, shy, greasy-haired kid with a face full of acne. The kids in her middle school call her Zit Fit. She looks like she’s ten. Her biggest obsession is comparing herself with models and movie stars. Not very healthy; guess that’s why it’s called it an obsession.Alex struggles with many different hairstyles as she tries to make herself look pretty.A side ponytail, just like that teen pop star Haley. Yes? No.Perhaps the cheerleader ponytail? Not!A big barrette. Now she looks like she’s eight. This is so not working.Alex messes her hair up and shrieks,"Ahhhhh!"
Her mother shouts, "Everything all right in there, Alexis?""Yes," Alex shouts back. "No," she mumbles to herself. "Everything is definitely not all right."Alexmust, must, mustlearn how to make herself pretty! Even her name isn’t pretty. Alexis. Yuck. A boy’s name for sure. What were her parents thinking when they named her Alexis, AKA Alex? Were they hoping for a boy? Maybe they suddenly experienced some mental confusion after her birth and forgot they had a daughter? It’s possible. As her parents are pretty nice people, they would never stick her with an ugly name on purpose.Alex’s mom is kind of a hippy and really into yoga and meditating and all that stuff. She often tells Alex that she needs to get in touch with her inner self to find her inner beauty.Alex attempts the following things to find her so-called inner beauty:
Alex begins writing in her diary all her inner thoughts.I am a nice person. I am a good person. I am an okay person. I am a sad person because I have no friends. I am a loser because I am so ugly. I am ugly, ugly, ugly. Why am I so ugly? Ugly, ugly, ugly, UGLY, UGLY.She gets stuck on rewriting the worduglyall the way down the page with curly flower decorations on the letters. She throws the diary onto the floor and begins sobbing hysterically.
Once the tears dry and she’s in a state of quiet calm, Alex tries meditation to unload her chakras. She begins with theOms while sitting in the lotus position. Eventually theOms turn into this chant:
"Om,I hate pretty girls,Om,who are blond with cute button noses.Om,I want to be them.Om,why was I born this way?Om,help me, please!Om,someone?Om,anyone,oh,listening?Oh, Aghhh, Oh, uh,the silence is killing me.Om,and this position is, too.Ugh."
Alex gets up and shakes out her legs. She walks over to a pile of magazines on the floor and picks out one with a blond girl in a bikini on the cover. She begins flipping through the pages until she finds the advice section. As she sits down at her pink desk and picks up a pink and purple feather pen, her face is filled with intense concentration as she begins to write a letter to the magazine. She writes, "Dear TeenHelper, I’m in need of help," then rips it up. She starts again. And again and again. Every letter ends up crumpled in the rainbow wastebasket next to the desk. She finally abandons this futile project and flops onto her bed with a sigh. Another magazine cover catches her eye and lifts her momentarily out of her misery. A brunette girl wearing a shimmery dress under the headline "An Outfit to Make You Cool" gives Alex an idea.
Alex convinces her mother to drive her to the mall. Wearing her best purple and pink matching outfit with a T-shirt that says unicorns are cool, Alex feels like she has found a solution to all her problems. As she passes a group of blond girls they laugh at her, and she lowers her head. She enters the big department store and collects all the pieces of an outfit, then finds out her allowance will only pay for the headband. She walks past the group of laughing girls a second time, only now she’s carrying a small plastic bag with the headband inside.Pathetic.
Now Alex is back in her room, where she sits with tears in her eyes. She’s staring once again at her reflection in the mirror and saying out loud, "I must think of a way to get enough money for plastic surgery to transform me into a model. It’s the only way to make me pretty. Or I need my Fairy Godmother to appear. Fairy Godmother, where are you? This is your chance—I need you!"After her Fairy Godmother fails to appear, Alex picks up her diary again and begins writing down some notes. She then proceeds to read them to the mirror. "Here is my list of requirements for being a pretty girl. If you are listening, Fairy Godmother, this is what I need:
Long blond hair (Could consider hair dye, but what about my eyebrows? Is there a manual for this stuff ? Must check the library—they have books on every thing!)
Hip, trendy clothes (These cost more money than my allowance.)
A taller, thinner body (I would wear high heels if I weren’t such a klutz.)
Nice boobs (I barely have any at all. Maybe when I get my period they will grow some more?)
A good name like Jenny, Sarah, or Lily (Must investigate changing my name legally.)
A boyfriend (Working on it.)
Nice lips to kiss with (Working on it.)
Lots of friends (Working on it.)
Look like you are having fun all the time (Working on it.)
Alex begins sobbing. "Fairy Godmother, where are you? Fairy Godmother, where are you! Damn you, Fairy Godmother! I’m definitely not going to believe in you anymore! Thank god for unicorns!" She runs over to her bed and hugs her collection of stuffed unicorns.(Flash forward. More wavy lines. Hum again, please.Di di di di di di di di.)Then rock-and-roll came into my life, and I was transformed. Maybe something like this will happen to you. Here’s what happened to me.