Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review | Chopsticks

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
February 2012 by Razorbill
272 pages
Amazon + Good Reads
3.5/5 stars

"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..."
-Good Reads

I have an odd habit when it comes to reading books - I typically do not read the synopsis. Ever. I like to go into a book knowing next to nothing, save what trusted friends have told me in order to move me towards picking it up... So, after reading the synopsis of Chopsticks from Good Reads - after reading the book - I'm left scratching my head and asking, "Huh?" 

Okay, let's rewind. After reading Chopsticks, I understood the story to be about a young woman named Glory who is an absolutely brilliant piano player... but stifled under the protective watch of her father. As teens tend to do, Glory falls in love with a boy named Frank... and the two enter into a whirlwind, highly emotional and incredibly intense relationship. Feeling that his daughter's potential is being threatened by Frank, Glory's father arranges a year long European tour as a misguided attempt to realign Glory's focus. And, well, I won't go any further into detail because of spoilers.

So, madness? Imagined? Is it real? Uh... I feel like those adjectives from the synopsis are a bit too strong. The only part of Chopsticks that left me feeling stumped was the ending - because yes, Anthony and Corral definitely left it up to interpretation. But now I'm feeling rather confused about the entire point of the book...

Maybe that was the point? 

I have no idea. Either way, I've chosen to read Chopsticks as a standard YA romance novel. The formatting is the biggest draw for this book - there are words in it (read: newspaper articles and chat conversations) but the vast majority of the story is told via photographs. This is where reader interpretation plays the biggest role. We're led to draw the "big" conclusions regarding Glory and Frank's story... but are still allowed a lot of wiggle room to decide things for ourselves.

Overall, Chopsticks was okay. I personally would have benefited from reading the story in the traditional novel format but enjoyed the reading experience anyway. I don't know if I'd recommend buying this book... I'd sooner borrow it from a public library and then if you like it, go out and buy it... But definitely read it in the physical format - I don't think that an e-book version will cut it when it comes to Chopsticks

Have you read Chopsticks? What the heck do you think happened? 

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