I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

A raw, edgy, emotional novel about growing up punk and living to tell.

The Clash. Social Distortion. Dead Kennedys. Patti Smith. The Ramones.

Punk rock is in Emily Black's blood. Her mother, Louisa, hit the road to follow the incendiary music scene when Emily was four months old and never came back. Now Emily's all grown up with a punk band of her own, determined to find the tune that will bring her mother home. Because if Louisa really is following the music, shouldn't it lead her right back to Emily?
  • MTV Books | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416562696 | 
  • July 2008
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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Points
1. Describe Emily, Michael, and Louisa's passion for music and how it influences their lives. Consider in particular the equally negative and positive transformative power music has over Emily and Louisa. Does Michael also experience transformation, or does he remain unchangeable? What is his role in the Black family dynamic?
2. On page 37, Michael advises his daughter, "Don't end up like her, Emily. Don't search for the music in other people. Play it yourself." Is he just talking about forming a band? How does this advice illustrate the different trajectories of Louisa's and Emily's lives?
3. Emily rejects anything that threatens her romantic image of Louisa as a tough but ethereal creature following the music wherever it might lead her. Identify some of the moments that challenge this image and analyze Emily's response.
4. Even in Emily's hardcore world, there are expressions of true love. How does Regan respond to such emotions? Do you think Louisa and Michael experience true love, given the way each responds to their relationship? What about Emily?
5. What is it about Johnny Thompson from My Gorgeous Letdown that causes Emily to open up to his advances? Despite moving in with him, she still fights the idea of their being a couple so fiercely. Why does she hate "feeling attached?" Do you think this feeling is specific to Johnny, or is it bigger than that? What does Emily ultimately realize about their relationshi see more

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About the Author

Stephanie Kuehnert
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Stephanie Kuehnert

Stephanie Kuehnert got her start writing bad poetry about unrequited love and razor blades in eighth grade. In high school, she discovered punk rock and produced several D.I.Y. feminist zines. She received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago and lives in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Ballads of Surburbia and I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone. Learn more at StephanieKuehnert.com.