REM Review Fire & Roses by Nancy Lusigan Schultz
Fire & Roses by Nancy Lusigan Schultz is the true story of the burning of an Ursuline Convent on the outskirts of Boston in 1834. Personally, I thought that given what Ms. Schultz had to work with - arson, charges of kidnapping, secret burials, madness, and sweaty teenage girls - she could've done a better job. If she'd had emphasized the more lurid aspects of the story earlier, instead of waiting until the last forty pages, this would've been a fun read. I know that Ms. Schultz has a Ph.D., but that's no reason to take the high road and there's also no reason why history should be presented in such a dry fashion.
Of course, my copy of the book was one of those "promotional" copies that I got for four bucks at a yard sale ('cuz I'm poor.). You know, the ones with "Not For Sale" stamped all over them. I needed a second opinion. The title of the book, Fire & Roses, sounded like it could also be the title of an REM song to me, so I decided to give the Athens band a call and see what they thought.
RA: Hello, is this Richard E. Marchetti of 4XX Athens Street?
REM: Who the Hell is this?
RA: My name is…
[Please understand, gentle reader, that this was my first big, celebrity interview. I panicked…]
RA: um…Ben Schumin. I wanted to ask you a few questions about Fire & Roses by Nancy Lusigan Schultz. I think that some of her themes are a little underdeveloped.
REM: [Speaking to someone else. Bono, perhaps?!?] It's some guy named Ben something-or-other. He's calling about some woman named Nancy who's underdeveloped.
RA: No her ideas are underdeveloped. But the cool thing is that she referenced two books that I'm dying to read. Six Months in a Convent by Rebecca Reed and Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery by Maria Monk. Hey, how's that for irony? Her name was "Monk" and…
REM: It's three o'clock in the morning, for Christ's sake!!!
RA: Yeah, I wanted to wait until you guys got home from the studio, or the show, or whatever you rock stars do.
REM: I'm gonna kick your ass!
RA: Am I speaking to Peter Buck? Have you been drinking on a plane again?
REM: I'm calling the goddamn cops.
RA: Go ahead and call the pigs! Ben F. Schumin fears no one!
[Since I was a little nervous about this interview, I had a few beers (nine) to loosen me up.]
RA: I'm calling from inside the MOVE compound! These are my demands: One. I want Bill Berry back in the band. Jesus, say that three times, fast. Two. I want…
In retrospect, I think that that could've gone better. Hey, if you want a weird read - and I know you bastards do - you can get the entire text of Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery by Maria Monk in .gif and .pdf formats here. Please remember that this book was a hoax. No Catholic (with the possible exception of Pat Buchanan) has ever done any of the things described in this book. By the way, this website does NOT condone Convent burning. A burning bag of dog shit on someone's porch, however, never fails to crack me up.