Buzzy Martin

Don’t Shoot! I’m the Guitar Man!

I just finished this book.

If you’re looking for illustrious prose, go somewhere else. If you’re looking for an insider account of today’s prison life spoken by a sincere guy that you could sit down and have a drink with, then crack the binding.  It’s an easy read, and very provocative. I’m looking forward to the film version.

This book is a personal story of a man (the author) who spends three years teaching weekly group guitar lessons to both inmates and cons (to know the distinction, you’ll have to read the book!) at San Quentin State Prison. Composed in a diary format, this tale outlines Martin’s journey, including the lessons he teaches and the ones he learns.

While some of the entries are a bit redundant (they’re naturally self-reflective), I picked this up and barely put it down. It felt like I was on an anxiety-driven rollercoaster that made me want to gratefully kiss the grounds of freedom. Yet as a music teacher who’s taught at-risk youth, and gone home in tears about it just like the author, I understand how his heart must feel when he knows he’s made even an ounce of difference. I hope his book will inspire others to do the same.  This guy’s got a huge heart and a rockin’ soul.

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