February 28, 2013

Band Geek Thursday: The Book of Esther

Hey, Misfiteers, and Happy Band Geek Thursday! For those who might not know, this past Sunday my fellow Jews and I celebrated a holiday called Purim, which is based on the biblical book of Esther. As it happens, I wrote a contemporary YA retelling of that very biblical book, so this seemed like the perfect week to bring you my playlist for that very ms, THE BOOK OF ESTHER!

This book is really close to my heart, for a few reasons. For one, I'd sat through the reading of this book every Purim for years trying to figure out how to turn it into a contemp YA, so when I finally got it, it felt like a massive victory. For another, it's the only book of mine my husband's ever read, and he loved it, which is cool. And for another... I think it's pretty freakin' badass ;)

So here are the songs on my playlist for TBoE and a little explanation as to how I chose them:

"The Queen and I" by Gym Class Heroes - The original story is about a king who banishes his queen and searches for a new one, which is how he meets and falls in love with Esther. In my version... it's actually sorta the same thing, high-school style. So this is a tribute to the original queen, who in TBoE is named Vanna.

"Best of You" by the Foo Fighters - like Misfit Erica, I love me some Foo Fighters, and this song perfectly encompasses an early scene in which nerdy but noble Murray faces off against the villainous Hammer... and verbally kicks his butt, earning his ire in ways he could never have imagined.

"Set it on Fire" by Darkest Days - This one's an ode to the new queen - and heroine - Esther, who's portrayed throughout the book as being fiery in contrast to Hammer's iciness. Fire is definitely her element!

"What's it Feel Like to Be a Ghost?" by Taking Back Sunday - This song, and especially its title, makes me think of unspeakable loneliness and feeling invisible, and it reminds me of writing my very first bullying scene, for this manuscript. I just wanted to reach out and hug Murray, make him feel like a person, and instead, I had to keep on destroying him.

"Sympathetic Lies" by Tat - The center of this book is Murray's plan to get Hammer and the bullies off his back, and it involves having his cousin, Esther, capture the affections of Hammer's best friend and king of the school, Rex. (See what I did there?) Esther's not the type to pretend to be something she's not, but she manages to convince herself it's for the greater good.

"Sex is Not the Enemy" by Garbage - This corresponds to one of my favorite scenes, but I can't quite figure out how to explain the fit without spoiling, so I'll just say to use your imagination!

"I Will Survive" by Cake
- I've always loved this cover of the Gloria Gaynor hit because it's just so blase. Gloria's version is wonderful, but it's so determined, so forceful and intentional. In contrast, Cake's cover takes that survival for granted, is cocky in its knowledge that he'll be back playing the game tomorrow, and that's exactly how each of the characters needs to feel at times. Whether or not they succeed is another story.

"The Stand" by Mother Mother - As soon as I heard the final line of this song, a repeated "Everyone's f@#ked and they don't even know," I knew it was perfect for this manuscript, with all its twisted plotting and revenge and self-destruction. Everyone in TBoE has secrets and plans, and they're all screwing themselves and each other. Man, I forgot how fun this ms was to write!

"Hit Me Like a Man" by The Pretty Reckless - There is always a Pretty Reckless song on each of my playlists, but this one is incredibly perfect for its corresponding scene, a mess of sex and violence that was the basis for this entire story, built off of an interpretation of the same scene in the original that Haman (the villain of Purim) physically attacked Esther.

"We Used to Be Friends" by the Dandy Warhols - OK, I'm cheating here, because this is the Veronica Mars theme song and it's my favorite show and I'm just so excited it sort of fits. The truth is, it's a far bigger fit there, because in this case, there hasn't been the same distance between the end of the friendship in question and the scene to which it corresponds, but one could also argue that there hadn't really been a friendship there in the first place, so.

"Where Does the Good Go" by Tegan and Sara
- This song fits to a scene that broke my heart to write, so much so that I resisted doing it until revisions, but it's just not the kind of story where everyone gets a happy ending and ends up in a better place than where they began. Sometimes, relationships change, and people break.

"Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men - So often I try to write those couples with a deep connection you believe will be together forever, but in the case of Rex and Esther, there's so much dishonesty and confusion going on for the entire book that the very end is really their very beginning. And it's so tenuous, but they've also been through so much, and now it's just a matter of having those little talks that will bring them to where they need to be.


THE BOOK OF ESTHER by Dahlia Fisch on Grooveshark

7 comments:

erica m. chapman said...

LOVE this post and having read TBoE, I can say these fit and now I want to read it again!! Also, any playlist with the Foo and Garbage, Cake, Of Monsters and Men!! Awesome in my book. Great post, D <33

Maggie Hall said...

This book IS badass. I can attest to that. And now, I shall go about listening to this playlist all day!

Stephsco said...

What a cool concept for a book, especially since it was on your mind for so long. I miss Garbage (the band...) They came out with new music last year I think and it managed to keep their 90s pop-electronic vibe but somehow updated. Love them!

Jessica Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Esther... Hadassah! You've sparked my curiosity, now... I totally want to read it!

Jessica

Rachel OLaughlin said...

This is driving me CRAZY! I love this playlist, and I want this book like hell. *worships Dahlia*

I'd never heard the cover of "I Will Survive" by Cake. AWESOMENESS. I love the whole playlist, especially Set it On Fire and Little Talks. Thanks for sharing it!

Dahlia Adler said...

Yay, thank you guys so much! Glad my taste in music is appreciated, and nice to see people (almost) as excited about my ms as I am ;)

Jaye Robin Brown said...

Totally loving it. Love Tegen and Sara and The Pretty Restless and Garbage - and that Cake song is priceless. New for me: Gym Class Heroes (fun!) and Mother Mother ( love!)

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