America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside the Greatest Country in the World - Corey Taylor

Why hello there! Guess what? I'm back! And you're going to need a crash helmet and body armor if your even remotely curious about this book.

The always-outspoken hard rock vocalist Corey Taylor begins America 51 with a reflection on what his itinerant youth and frequent worldwide travels with his multiplatinum bands Slipknot and Stone Sour have taught him about what it means to be an American in an increasingly unstable world. He examines the way America sees itself, specifically with regard to the propaganda surrounding America's origins (like a heavy-metal Howard Zinn), while also celebrating the quirks and behavior that make a true-blue American. Balancing humor, outrage, and disbelief, Taylor examines the rotting core of America, evaluating everything from politics and race relations to family and "man buns." By continuing the wave of moral outrage begun in You're Making Me Hate You, Taylor skewers contemporary America in his own signature style.

Let me preface this review with this simple statement: this book might make most people mad. Doesn't matter what political party you might associate yourself with, at some point in this book friends, it might piss you off. In fact, I know it will piss people off. I'm going to try to keep this review just to the writing, to the tone of the book, and it's delivery. I will try (in earnest) to keep my own political views out of this review...but I can't make any promises.

With that out of the way, you might be wondering, who the hell is Corey Taylor and what does he know about 'Merica?

Corey Taylor is this dude right here: singer/songwriter in Stone Sour and Slipknot. Essentially...he does music that makes my heart happy. I wave my metal head flag loud and proud. Anyway, who knew that he was an author of books? I sure didn't. America 51 is actually his FOURTH book. Doing a bit of research on those previous books, it appears that they are on the non-fiction side of the fence.

I know nothing of those books, but if any indication of Taylor himself pointing out that this might be the angriest book he has written to date, that's an indication to strap in for bumpy ride.

This book is an examination of America through Taylor's eyes. And're asking what does a "rock star" know about politics? To be honest, I have no idea. What I gleaned from this book is that Corey Taylor is well read and well spoken, he appears to do research, and cusses...a lot (that last part is totally okay with me...because I cuss a lot, too). The writing is serious a majority of the time, with moments of levity to give the reader a break. It's not all doom and gloom folks. It's honesty from a man who is taking time to provide his own unique perspective of America through the eyes of a man who grew of up rough, made it out alive, and managed to be living the heavy metal rocker dream.

But, I didn't feel preached to. I have come to a few conclusions about the book itself while I listened to the audiobook, hearing Corey Taylor himself talk, rant, rage, and sympathize. Mr. Taylor writes like he talks: blunt and unapologetic. His hopes and dreams and fears and concerns and anger and disgust are genuine and sincere. And did I mention that he cusses...a lot?

Those with a...sensitive're going to feel the need to steer clear of this book.

The book has some slight flaws such as when there is a tangent, it does take a minute for him to come back around to the point he's trying to make. Part of the time it feels intentional, that comic relief needed after the heavy discussion that is the state of this country (stay on target...just the review...). Other times, it feels like he genuinely got distracted by something shiny. However, this doesn't pull me out of the message the book is trying to provide. In fact, it drives me deeper into the what Taylor is conveying. And what message would that be? That message is to just stop, and think, and be informed. Also, try to be a god damn decent human being. It really is that simple.

Now...this part here I may veer off a little to talk about politics.

The reason this book gets under my skin and actually makes me have some feelings is this: I agree with everything Taylor says in the book. I do with all my heart. From the very beginning where Taylor talks about his utter shock and disbelief that this nation voted in Donald F'ing Trump to the end where he passionately expresses his love for this country that is meant to move forward and progress, describing freedom for all and that there is no right or wrong way to look or be an American.

Other reviews on this book seem to vary in opinion A LOT. Either folks love this book, stating that they have always been a fan of Corey Taylor and just loves him up and down. Or, they hate this book, calling Taylor everything under the sun for sharing his political views and that "entertainers shouldn't be talking politics!" That last statement, in all honesty, is bull shit. As long as you are informed and can have a civil adult conversation, regardless of your profession, then it shouldn't matter that they express their political views. Period.

I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed this book because it felt like I was talking to one of my friends. Yes. All my friends cuss a me. But that's not the point I'm trying to say. What I'm getting at is this: I am trapped between Generation X and the Millennials. I'm a optimistic pessimist. I am hopeful and kind and generous, but do not take shit and refuse to lie down and roll over because I am told stand there and be pretty. Corey Taylors delivery of words is perfect for the disillusioned and the confused, give light to what might be a very dark tunnel, providing tough love and hope. These things speak to me (which is yes, I know, cliché) in a manner that clicks in my head and makes me say "Finally! Someone else who thinks just like me!"

Thanks for reading this review. I know it's a bit different from the norm I tell to review. But, my last review what like...what?...December 2016? Yeah. Need to get back on the whole reading/writing/booking train. I mean, living that healthy life style takes time! Unrelated note: I am officially down 62 pounds since March 2016. Say what?!

Okay. I'm done.

Remember to always be yourself...unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a pirate!!