The Frontman

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

this is a fictionalised memoir, which i found to be ... weird. but it's a light and easy, fun read. it tows a very thin line between novel and not a novel, thanks to the memoir aspect (and it uses the author's name which i found jarring).
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This book was something I didn't know I needed until I read it. Its set in 1983 which is right up my alley. It was also cool to see a fictionalized memoir! Nonfiction yet not quite. The character and writing was my favorite. Funny, relatable, and the right amount of nostalgia (says the girl born in 1997...well...still)
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This is a fictionalized account of Ron Bahar growing up as a very insecure Nebraskan teen, doing his best to impress his family of Israeli immigrants. His family is also Jewish, which is a huge plot point, as the girl of his dreams is not Jewish, and he desires a forbidden (by his parents) relationship with her. Meanwhile, he sometimes sings in his friends' band, and he's on his way to becoming a doctor if he can get accepted into his school of choice. 

The entirety of this story is about Ron Bahar coming of age and pursuing a girl. If you don't like stories about boys shooting the shit and chasing women, this is not for you. I did not particularly find the plot compelling, but I did enjoy the pacing, writing style, and his career elements. 

I loved that Bahar included song lyrics at the beginning of each chapter, and that song and verse were such important elements in the story. I found myself wanting to put 80's hits on in the background while I was reading, which is always a fun experience! I also enjoyed singing along with him in my head to some of the music he was singing. Tying his musical talents in to medical school was a cute touch, making it feel more like his choice than his parents. 

The tempo of the story was pretty quick, although many of the major plot points were about the same thing happening over and over again. I'm rather tired of insecure teens being a major plot point in and of itself. Nothing exciting really happens in this story, it's just about life and a Nebraskan teen growing up. Some of the main reasons this book was slightly more interesting were due to the fact that Bahar is the son of Jewish Israeli parents, and their culture plus his trip to Israel make the story far more interesting in my perspective. 

If you're looking for a story of drugs, sex, and rock and roll, look no further! This is a good book to fulfill that need. Teenage life in the Midwest? This is your read. 

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I was surprised how much I enjoyed The Frontman by Ron Bahar. 

To begin with I was feeling a bit put out, maybe that I wasn’t the target audience. Without meaning to offend anyone, it felt that the target audience was leaning towards men but the more and more I read the more I actually started to enjoy the teenage exploits of Ron. I started to feel sorry for some of the more hapless aspects of his personality. 

The Frontman really is a good, entertaining and easy read with a kick ass soundtrack to accompany it.

The Frontman by Ron Bahar is available now.

For more information regarding Ron Bahar (@RonJonBahar) please visit

For more information regarding SparkPress (@GoSparkPress) please visit
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I enjoyed reading The Frontman put I don't have any overwhelming feelings about it, good or bad. It was entertaining and had a really great premise to it. I love music and the fact that it gave the reader a chance to listen to each song mentioned was really nice and useful and added to the overall feel of the book and gave it so much more on the music aspect than just talking about how Ron has a good voice and the band. I have read plenty of books that just talked about music but did not do too much to really emphasize it and the presence it has in both the characters and the author's lives. I do wish that some of the characters could have been fleshed out more. I never felt any sort of connection with any of them and when the book ended I did not feel like I needed to know more. The book does not resolve everything and usually with an ending like that I want to know more and what happened next but I just didn't feel that way with this book. It was just kinda like, "oh, that's the end. Okay."
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Didn't like this one, I thought the premise was good but the execution felt clunky and a bit juvenile.
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It is 1983 and Ron is about the graduate high school in Nebraska.  He loves singing, and medicine, and his girlfriend, but feels torn between them. His girlfriend has to remain secret as his parents don't approve of him having a non Jewish girlfriend, his medical dream is really more of an expectation, and he is a great singer with potentially an opportunity to try his luck with a musical career.
He is also a teenage boy with raging hormones who makes stupid decisions.

This was a quick, fun, read - a "coming of age" story with lots of musical references, a fair bit of swearing, and ultimately is a story of first love.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Silly and boring.............did not enjoy this book.  Could not even finish it.   Juvenile, sophomoric, would not recommend this book.
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This book was entertaining from start to finish. I enjoyed everything about this novel: the humor, the intimate voice/narration, the reliability, and the honesty. This book was simply refreshing. The Frontman at its core is a coming of age story during the 70's and the early 80's. It's very easy to read. You find yourself immersed in this world from start to finish. I wish I could go back! This book ended much too soon. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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I received an eARC of The Frontman from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. It will be released on April 3rd of this year.

The Frontman is a fictionalized memoir of the author’s life growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska as he struggles to please his Israeli immigrant parents and follow his own wishes.

This book is incredibly easy to read. I flew through it much faster than I expected to. Bahar perfectly captures the essence of being a teenager caught between two difficult decisions. On one hand, he has his parents, who want him to become a doctor. The narrator has always assumed that that’s what he will do with his life. On the other hand is the option of following his remarkable voice and pursuing a career in music. Throw in the added problem of falling in love with a girl outside of his family’s religion, and anyone would be faced with a cocktail of stress.

As music is a huge part of the narrator’s life, each chapter opens with lyrics from an 80’s song. It’s little touches like this that add to a book’s personality. All of the concert scenes were also great fun to read and easy to visualize.

I did have an issue with the narrator’s voice. While it succeeds in capturing the spirit of being a teenager, I wasn’t a fan of the way he described women. It came off as juvenile and sometimes degrading, with a constant focus on how physically attractive each one he meets is.

The ending was also abrupt. There wasn’t a real resolution and it felt like there should have been another chapter, or at least an epilogue. Closure wasn’t offered.

Overall, I give The Frontman 3 / 5 stars. A quick read with a relatable situation and an interesting hook.
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3.5 stars.

If John Hughes made a movie about a slightly nerdy, Jewish high school student torn between pleasing his parents and pursuing the career (and the girl) of his dreams, it would be a lot like Ron Bahar's The Frontman. This is a fictionalized account of the author's life in the 1980s, growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska, the son of Israeli immigrants.

For as long as he can remember, Ron has known his parents have expected him to be a stellar student so he can go to medical school. He's willing to work as hard as he can, and he's actually interested in medicine, so following this path isn't too hard for him. But he has other ambitions, too, and he's getting tired of hiding those from his parents or pretending they don't matter.

Ron loves to sing, and he knows the words to nearly every 80s song there is. He's most comfortable lip syncing or singing karaoke, but every now and again he dreams of the glory that could come from being a band's lead singer. When his friends start to give him the opportunity to sing a song or two during their band's performances, he starts to love the adrenaline rush that performing gives him, not to mention the attention he gets from the girls in the audience!

Everyone tells him how talented he is as a singer, and even someone in the music business tells him he shouldn't let his voice go to waste. But his parents don't like the idea of him using his voice for anything other than religious purposes, so how would they react if he abandoned his (and their) dreams of medical school for a career in music?

And that's not his only dilemma. He has had a crush on Amy Andrews, the daughter of close friends of his parents, for quite some time. Amy is beautiful, smart, friendly, and crazy enough, she likes insecure, geeky Ron as much as he likes her. Wounded by her parents' divorce, Amy wants someone to be true to her and protect her, and she wants to believe Ron is that person. Ron wants to be that person, and more than that, he wants Amy. There's just one problem.

"Even at the tender age of twelve, however, I understood that, to my parents, Amy represented the ultimate forbidden fruit: the non-Jewish girl to the Jewish boy. With regard to my feelings, I knew they knew, they knew I knew they knew."

The more success he has in singing, the more jealous and distant Amy becomes, plus he has to hide how much he's enjoying it from his parents. He doesn't want to disappoint them, but whose dreams should he pursue—his or his parents'? Is there a happy medium? Can he get his parents to accept Amy as the one he loves?

This is a goofy, endearing book, full of 80s references (each chapter is prefaced with a snippet of lyrics from a song that hit the charts in the 80s), and quirky humor. Since Bahar lived this life (or at least a version of it), he obviously has a great deal of affection for his characters, even as they do misguided or inappropriate things. And who hasn't struggled between doing what you want and what your parents want?

The Frontman is a quick, fun read, one that brought back lots of memories.

NetGalley and SparkPress provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!
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Found this really difficult to finish. The description seemed interesting but when i started reading i didn't enjoy it.
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Not really my style -- too straight cis man in its descriptions of women particularly. Didn't finish it
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The Frontman is a coming of age story that takes place in early 1980s Lincoln, Nebraska. From the introduction, the reader can't help but root for the protagonist Ron, a young, geeky sweet kid who battles not just his Jewishness in the rural mid-west, but also his "Swarthiness" and the very well-expressed teen angst and raging hormones. He is struggling to navigate what he sees as a forbidden romance with a non-Jewish girl as well as decide between what he perceives as two non-compatible dreams - music and medicine.
This was an advance copy of the text and I found the formatting difficult to navigate-oftentimes the parts of the book where the author is translating his parents Hebrew into their Literal/Intended translations didn't format in a way that I could make sense of. 
There were parts of the book I really enjoyed-I loved the chapter lead-ins of 80s pop song lyrics and their top place on teh Billboard chart for their time. It tied in really well with the musical aspect of the story. Understanding this is a novel, I was sometimes confused because the protagonist has the author's name and it reads like a memoir. Clearly, many aspects of this story are true or are based on true events. I loved the part of the story when Ron goes to Israel to visit his grandfather. His sweet obsession with girls and his glorification of sex are funny and poignant. It makes one remember his/her own youth. 
I wanted more at the end of the story, though. It really felt like the story just ended abruptly. A short epilogue would have been ideal.
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