June 18, 2013

Latest Read: The Lucy Variations

Here are the basics ...
The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
Publication date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased

Summary: Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain. That was all before she turned fourteen. Now, at sixteen, it's over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano -- on her own terms. But when you're used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself? (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: I was never close to being a musical prodigy but I know what it's like to fall in love with the piano at a young age. We owned a keyboard and from the moment I touched the keys, I was hooked. Until my parents signed me up for lessons and suddenly everyone was telling me what to play and when to play. And guess what? I stopped loving it. In fact, I started to hate the piano and begged my parents to let me quit but I wasn't allowed to. Nope, I had to keep on taking lessons until I was seventeen years old. The funny thing is, I started to love the piano again right after quitting because I could play for fun. For me.

In other words, I completely related to Lucy in her feelings towards the piano. There's a fine line between encouraging your child's interests and support turning into pressure. And Lucy's family crosses way over the line into the crazy. Especially her grandfather. I loved the exploration of Lucy's feelings towards the piano, the complicated family dynamic and most of all, the slow unraveling of the reasons why Lucy quit in the first place. There was something so real about it. Here was a girl who obviously loved music and it was my favorite thing about her. She just didn't know how to fit the piano in her life in a way that made her happy. And I enjoyed watching her figure that out.

But it wasn't just about music. I think in general, Lucy felt lost. She's trying to figure out where she fits in with her friends and even with her family. Learning when to stand up for herself and learning when she's in the wrong. That's something anyone can relate to.

(Some) reservations: I really struggled with some of Lucy's actions. To the point where it made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I tried to be understanding but sometimes I just wanted to shake her and ask her what she was doing. Her best friend is also an important character in this book and she voices a lot of the same concerns I did. I wanted more of their friendship and I wanted to connect to Lucy more than I had.

Do I recommend?: If you love music or play an instrument, that aspect of the book will definitely resonate with you. I have no doubt of that. So even though I did have a few reservations about Lucy at times, I think it's a very enjoyable book.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I too grew up taking piano lessons! I initially really loved it, especially as a child. But the older I got, the more complicated and restricted I felt in terms of the pieces I played, I started to resent it. So eventually, I had to quit. I like playing for fun these days though!

    Seriously, I think I'm going to enjoy THE LUCY VARIATIONS. Something about this story calls to me!

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