Great Reads

Every Note Played

every note played

Publish Date : 3/20/2018
Author: Lisa Genova
Started: 3/25/18
Finished: 3/29/18
Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received an advanced copy of Every Note Played from Netgalley, Simon & Schuster, and author Lisa Genova in exchange for an honest review. I’m five days past publish date but I wish I read it sooner! All opinions are my own.

This book took me much longer to read than my previous books but NOT because I did not like it. Get this, I am on my Spring Break and am beyond busier than when I am working. For some reason, this week has been beyond unbearable for me. I’ve written two grad school papers totaling to about 15 pages and four discussion posts totaling to about two pages. Although I am on Spring Break, four of my other locations in the city are not so I’ve still had to supervise and have written about 25 long emails to my staff in the last three days, and I even had to go into a school yesterday to do an assessment. I’ve written four IEP’s, and organized the rest of my IEP’s through May 1st. I got bedroom furniture delivered, the same exact piece, for the fifth time (DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM BOB’S DISCOUNT FURNITURE) With all of this, I’ve managed to do quite a few load of laundry, rearrange my bedroom,  cleaned and bleached the entire kitchen, went grocery shopping, and still made dinner every night. I’m booked until I go back next Tuesday. I really just want to have a day off for myself. Ugh, enough complaining for me because we’re about to read about some real problems.

Summary from Simon & Schuster:

An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.

He knows his left arm will go next.

Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.

When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.

Poignant and powerful, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.

My review:

First, this was my first Lisa Genova book and it won’t be my last. Still Alice just shot right  to the top of my to be bought pile. Anyway, thinking about going through my Master’s for special education, there were many books that I was told to read. All of them were great and mostly nonfiction but I feel as if this book would have been wonderful to read as it really gave life to the feelings that people can have when going through a disease such as ALS. We are used to reading about how autism reflects on a person and their life but this would be great to experience not only the person with a disease but some feelings that come with being a caregiver and also some feelings that come with being just an onlooker.  As a special education teacher and six weeks shy of completing that master’s degree in special education, I loved the book. I think it painted a realistic picture not only of the debilitating disease, ALS, but the anger and other feelings that come with losing control of your body. Many people who never had control also struggle with these feelings. Richard’s fast plummet into paralysis was sad yet realistic to anyone going through ALS or other diseases that leave its victims paralyzed, a shell of their past self.

I found some of the assistive technology mentioned fascinating like the HeadMouse. It’s amazing how technology has been able to help make the lives of people easier than anything they may have experienced only a decade ago.

The feelings between Richard and Karina are so realistic for a divorced couple. The irony between the divorce and “death do us part” in this book is sad yet satisfying. Their growing relationship shows how sometimes life is so much more important than a divorce and Karina’s love for Richard, even divorced is honorable and heartwarming. The hatred she feels for Richard is overcome with her compassion as a human being and she slowly learns to look past his flaws and begin to forgive and come to peace with where their lives have taken them. Her feelings of resentment are very understandable and I ended up feeling bad for all parties involved for all of the different reasons they’re suffering.

The many references to Stephen Hawking were surreal. They were important in understanding the disease if you were unfamiliar with it. It was surprising being that Stephen Hawking just died, clearly after the book was written but before it was published. It’s a sad thought.

Lisa Genova did a great job painting the hardships and disappointments of ALS and also painting a picture of relationships. The feelings involved were realistic and she did not set out to make our characters perfect just because of the disease. It was a great read  and very informative no matter if you were interested in the ALS portion or the character developments. I truly recommend this read to everyone!

3 thoughts on “Every Note Played”

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