Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield: Book Review

Love Is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield Book Cover

I have an affiliate relationship with and Malaprop's Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site. Read more on my affiliate page.
Love Is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield Book Cover
Title: Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time
Content Warning: Death of a spouse

My Synopsis:

Rob Sheffield and his wife Renee met because of music. They shared a passion for music, loved writing about it, discussing it, and watching live shows. They also loved the lost art of the mix tape since they apparently had mix tapes for everything. Washing dishes, road trips, school dances–the moments of their lives are inextricably linked to the songs they love. After Renee’s tragic death after only five years of marriage, Rob writes essays reflecting on their life together, his youth, and the years of his grief.

My Review:

I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to pop culture. I’ve always preferred to have my nose in a book, instead of going to school dances, watching TV, or reading pop magazines. But I’ve made my share of mix tapes (and later, mix CDs). So this title caught my eye.

Rob is about a decade older than I am but I still knew some of his cultural touchstones. The first playlist had me worried. I wasn’t familiar with any of the songs. Were these going to be exclusively musicians from independent labels that only the true music lovers–the initiated–were familiar with? No. To my relief, he also mentions Nirvana, Pearl Jam, even Hanson. So this mix tape is truly mixed.

The essays are reflective. I almost felt that I was listening to the author read his journal to me. He truly loves Renee, an Appalachian girl like me. His shock, grief, and loss resonate from the book. But he’s also got enough perspective at the time of writing to appreciate and dwell on the good times. He writes about her family, which resonated with me. There’s a lot of musical talent in the Southern Appalachians, and my family has its share. He writes about the painful reality of middle school dances. He writes about watching couples together in Walmart late at night and missing being a part of a couple of himself.

Sheffield reads the audiobook and I was happy with that. I don’t know that I would actively seek out another book read by him, but it’s only fitting that such a personal journey through love and grief should be shared in his own voice.

Music aficionados will enjoy this a bit more than I did, but I do recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a quiet reflection on love and loss.

Similar Books:

If you liked Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time, you might also like my reviews of

Reading Challenge:

2022 Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge


Buy Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time from Malaprop’s Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC or

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


  1. I like the concept of life being defined by the music, which it definitely is for me. But, I don’t always know the name of the song or the artist. I just know the words (especially if it’s ’80s music)

  2. This sounds great. Music can really bring couples together so this sounds really heartfelt and special. And as a mixtape enthusiast I find that that appeals to me as well. 🙂

I love to hear from you! Please contact me (menu bar, above) if you're having trouble commenting.