Thursday, February 9, 2012
"Chopsticks" by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral
Age Group: Young Adult
After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, 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. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song "Chopsticks."
But nothing is what it seems, and Glory's reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it's up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along...
This is absolutely the most unique book I have ever "read". I put that in quotation marks, because this is not really a book you read. There are words, but they are very few. Instead the story is told through beautiful photographs, flyers, letters, postcards and IM chats. I wasn't sure how I would like a book told in this way, but I knew I had to give it a shot. I ended up really enjoying the way Glory's story was told and didn't find myself missing the words, like I thought I would.
The story starts with Glory having gone missing from the rest home for piano prodigies, like herself. Then it takes us back 18 months and tells us how she ended up there in the first place. It is seemingly a story of a young girl embarking on first love with the boy next door. Glory and Frank are inseperable from the start and share a very intense relationship. As things progress, and Glory moves out of the country, you start to see her cracking under the pressure and Frank seems to be the only thing that keeps her grounded. Of course as the pages keep turning, I started to wonder if what I was seeing was reality or if it was delusions of someone on the brink of madness.
By the end I felt like I had figured out what was real and what was not, but really a lot of it is up to interpretation. I think you could take away many different things from Glory's story and that's what makes it so special. It is beautifully told and definitely requires a closer look. Words can lie, but so can pictures. I'm so glad I picked this one up and I definitely think it's a book that needs to be experienced.