33 1/3: Master of Reality / by Kyle Vernier

Each 33 1/3 book is dedicated to exploring a single album. Usually this is some sort of non-fiction discussion of the album by a single author. John Darnielle, of Mountain Goats fame, had a different idea. This technically serves as Darnielle's first novel. Darnielle explores the impact of music and specifically Black Sabbath on a teenager during their stay at a mental hospital. Darnielle puts a lot in here; a song by song break down of Master of Reality, the album's place in the Black Sabbath canon, the deep personal connection music can have for certain young people, the Satanism panic surrounding heavy metal music like Black Sabbath, and impact that that panic had on the lives of certain young people. 

I'm a fan of The Mountain Goats and I've read both of Darnielle's other novels, both of which I liked. At times this book comes off as a little obvious and simple, but maybe that is intentional. I mean, it is the view point of a 16 year old kid, they aren't known for their depth. For those looking for a in depth discussion of the album Master of Reality you'd be better off reading the wikipedia entry. Still, I liked this book well enough, and it is always fun to read the early work of authors you like.

7/10