Sarfraz Manzoor’s book, “Greetings From Bury Park,” would seem to be pretty specific at first glance: the surprising story of how a young Pakistani immigrant to Britain deals with his strict Muslim father and the very different society around him – through the intermediary of Bruce Springsteen’s music.
The thing is, his story is specific only in its details; if you look at what he’s writing about more generally, it really is a very common thing. As teenagers, we are still forming our view of the world, and music can be a powerful force in shaping that developing outlook. My Queens neighborhood in the 1970s was quite homophobic, but I was a huge fan of David Bowie, and his sexually ambiguous persona meant that whatever childhood fears I’d keep (heights, Red Sox fans, milk chocolate), homophobia was not gonna be one of them.
What musician or band helped shape your view of the world?