Bad Blood: A Life Without Consequence, the book and album by Munich Syndrome are available now from:
and from Munich Syndrome’s BandCamp page:
Review by: Anthony R, Cardno
MY THOUGHTS: This is an absolutely engrossing memoir about adoption, secrets, and the search to understand where we came from and who we are. I found it extremely hard to put down. That’s partially because of the way the book is structured. The reader only becomes privy to information as Roundsley’s original search uncovered it. There are a few hints at the start of the book of what will ultimately be revealed (most but not all of which is noted in the book’s back cover matter) but for the most part we the audience must endure the same staggers and stutters the author did. Long fallow periods are interspersed surges of new leads some of which go nowhere and some of which open new roads of inquiry. This heightens the immediacy of the book and kept me more interested than maybe a straight chronological history of the author’s birth parents would have.
It doesn’t take long for Roundsley (and the reader) to realize his adoption was an unusual one. Or perhaps not so unusual given the time period as it was something “nice” people just didn’t consider a reality: that behind-closed-doors baby-trafficking happened even among “polite” society. As author learns more about his late birth mother’s life and gets closer to meeting his birth father, the stakes start to feel exceedingly high indeed. There are some very, very dark moments in the birth parents’ past, and some of them are uneasy to read about.
But the story is not all crime, drug use, physical abuse, and attempted murder – Roundsley discovers several half-siblings and meets their families. Their parts in the story are equally, if not more, tragic – but the larger family and obvious love these half-siblings develop for each other are a happy ending to such a dark background. Roundsley sprinkles their stories in with his search, even letting one sister take over for a section to reveal her own almost Dickensian history. I do feel as though I intimately know all of the parties involved thanks to Roundsley’s very personal, intimate, and familiar writing style and the way he’s willing to cede the stage to his siblings when the narrative warrants.
Along the way, the author also reveals a bit about his adoptive family and touches on the struggles of being a creative and obviously gay boy in a family that clearly doesn’t accept it. While the adoptive parents and sibling don’t have nearly the tragic life Roundsley’s birth parents did, they still play several key roles in the way the story unfolds. I have to say I’d love to see a second memoir from Roundsley about his later childhood and eventual coming out; I suspect there’s a lot more to that part of his life than he was able to include in this book. He’s also had quite a career in the music industry: he writes and records music as Munich Syndrome, and there is a companion CD to the book. I know there are a lot of compelling stories he could weave together with his coming out to form a second memoir.
Bad Blood: A Life Without Consequence is available for Pre-Order in Kindle form on Amazon if you missed the Kickstarter for the project. In BOOK REVIEWS Tags book review, non-fiction challenge, memoir, Munich Syndrome, David B. Roundsley