Saturday, August 4, 2012

Book Review: Chopsticks

This book was one I received as a giveaway at Goodreads. It came out in February of this year. After reading the description, I thought it sounded pretty cool. I have a certain fondness for music, so let's have at it! I bring you:

What I'm Listening To:

  • I'm In Love With A Girl by Big Star 
(was listening to the songs on the playlists in this book and this one popped up on the side. It's very short, and not the greatest song ever..but it kinda sets part of the tone for this book)


Chopsticks
by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral
Rating: 3/5

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Blurb:

Glory is a piano prodigy.

After her mother died, she retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her with the goal of playing sold-put shows at  Carnegie Hall and across the globe. Now, Glory has disappeared. Chopsticks shows us the events leading up to her disappearance, and we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. She loses herself in his paintings and drawings, mix CDs, and late-night IM conversations. Frank becomes both her touchstone to the world--and her escape from reality. The farther she falls, the more she is unable to play anything but the song Chopsticks, which represents her relationship with Frank; F and G notes moving closer together, and farther apart. 

But nothing is what it seems, and it's up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along...
----------------------------------------------------------------------

This book took me by surprise. Not because of the story being told, but the WAY in which it was told. Chopsticks is told through images. Every page is a different image. We are shown photographs from scrapbooks and newspaper clippings. There are IM windows and random papers. It was really quick to get through, and the story was kind of enjoyable. 

But, I have some problems with the summary. I feel like I wasn't given the proper picture...so I'll see if I can tweak this better. Glory plays piano. Yes, she is a prodigy. Her schedule is filled with lots of hours of piano practice (around 7) plus a few lessons. So already, we as readers realize that she does not attend school (as many prodigies don't so they can focus on their respective talents). The summary said that Glory retreated into herself and her music after her mother died. I don't quite believe that. Yes, the death of her mother may have played a role in this, but overall I don't think that's the least of it. Also, the concluding sentence, ''But nothing is what it seems, and it's up to the reader to decide  what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along...", just doesn't do it for me. As the reader, I met the characters, experienced the story and I'm not quite sure what this line is supposed to mean. Is Glory supposed to be crazy? Or is it just that the overall logic of the conclusion is goofed up? I don't see madness here. I see a girl with no outside experience finding someone she experiences something other than music with. I find her as a girl who needs something else and possibly goes about the wrong way to getting something a little different paced. It may not have been the best choice, but something she needed to do for herself and if it was a mistake, she'll find out in time and find a way to fix it.

My Conclusion About This Whole Thing:
Glory's father pry took the death of his wife very hard. He basically takes over Glory's life (in my opinion) and is, ultimately, (I believe) the reason Glory left. First of all, she has no social life. Its just always her and the piano. If she had contact with outside people, I'm sure things might have been different. Frank is all she new outside of her music life and her father. Its also a plus that he ended up being an artist and therefore saw things in a different perspective. 
I don't think she's crazy and her decision may have been a little off in the end, but given that she doesn't have a mother figure and her father is creating more friction even if he doesn't intend to...it was almost inevitable. Given more leash, I think Glory would have stayed, content with where she was. 
It was a decent "read" but definitely not the best thing I ever read. I think more could have been done to improve the story (especially with the format it is in), but overall it was a generally nice book with some very artistic touches. I thought the playlists were a nice touch...I may not be totally in love with every song on them, but I'm very fond of playlists and I will take the time to listen to the songs on them when I can (always thought it'd be cool to have someone create a playlist especially for me). 

OVERALL:
Nice format, sweet simple story, average characters...a nice book for a warm summer day. =)

No comments:

Post a Comment