Pepperland Reviews

pepperland-bookWightman’s first novel is a riotous, occasionally electrifying celebration of love and music, capturing the turmoil of its times with a touch of otherworldliness that seems right in sync with rock ‘n’ roll.

Booklist, starred review


A rollicking read set in the 70s…gripping and quite hilarious. Seriously recommend it.

Eric Smith, Book Riot


An effervescent momentum…obvious love for music, technology, and the written word exudes from each page.

— Margaret Fedder, ForeWord Reviews


Wightman perfectly places the optimism of youth against the crossroads of adulthood – a fun crossroads novel for Boomers.

Laura Farmer, Cedar Rapids Gazette


The early 1970s: sure, that was the era of drugs, sex, and rock & roll. But those weren’t really the headlines. It was a time of energy crises, political upheaval, the war in Southeast Asia, the radical underground, and the dawn of the computer age. Into this shifting landscape blunders our lovable hero, Pepper Porter, a would-be rock star who chases the woman of his dreams through one illegal fiasco after another, all while being pursued by a mysterious ghost from his past. This book is a comic joyride that captures the frontier feel, the full-throttle attitude, and the breakthrough music of a remarkable period of American history. Pepper’s journey is our journey, or would be if we had his rare combination of innocence, idiocy, and courage. Pepperland is an optimistic look into a funhouse mirror, and it offers us proof that dreaming big isn’t really crazy after all.

Clint McCown, author of Haints


Pepperland is a rollercoaster ride that baby boomers will find vividly familiar and hilariously commemorative. Infused with muscled prose and pulsating desire, it careens along at a breathless pace, connecting the decades of the sixties and seventies with the present in a magical mystery romp so unexpected and touching that you will not be able to stop reading until the ride comes to its joyous conclusion. At once an ode to redemption, paean to rock and roll, and sweet chronicle of a time lost, Pepperland is original to its core. You’ve never read anything like this. I know I hadn’t. This is one fun novel.

Robin Oliveira, author of My Name is Mary Sutter


Pepperland barrels ahead like a Keith Moon drum solo, striking every tom tom and crashing every cymbal until, in the end, the kit has been kicked across the stage and all that remains is a grinning imp with a pair of sticks in his hands and smoke coming from his ears.  Which is to say, I enjoyed the hell out of this book.

Both hilarious and insightful, Pepperland is a mightily satisfying amalgam that ties together every single socially, politically, and musically significant event from the early seventies into one frantic, nutty, and miraculously coherent plot.  Read it and rock.

If Pete Townshend wrote a novel, it wouldn’t be nearly this good.

— Gregory Hill, author of East of Denver


A joyful romp!…Although Pepperland doesn’t venture anywhere near Liverpool or feature John, Paul, George and Ringo, it is a magical mystery tour well worth taking.

Randy Cepuch, The Washington Independent Review of Books


Bowing to the gods of tech, love, and rock-n-roll, Barry Wightman takes us on a refreshing romp through the 70s to a recession-ravaged time when few understood just how much computers could rule the world. Serious fun!”

— Sophfronia Scott, author of the novel All I Need to Get By


Pepperland has all the rhythm of a great rock ‘n roll song…it catches you up and keeps the excitement going. The plot has some cool twists and turns, and the characters are so very real. Sooz is a definitive hot, brilliant woman who has the plan for our Internet futures in her soaring brain. Pepper has what it takes to be the great leading man…he has attitude, he has humor, and he knows what he wants.

The book has its own unique flow. The beat of the writing is strong, but it is also lyrical. If you knew the 70’s in the Midwest the names of the radio station and the DJ’s are like old friends you get to visit again. The songs Pepper creates in the book made me laugh out loud. 
It is a solid read. Savor it!

Jane Wypiszynski, Jane’s Reviews, Goodreads


Pepperland moves at the velocity of rock ‘n’ roll, at the velocity of youth in a rush of pop culture references that will transport you back to the times either nostalgically or as a first time visitor.

— Jim Cherry, author of The Last Stage and The Doors Examined