Every Note Played

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.

4 stars ****

This was the first but definitely not the last Lisa Genova book I will ever read. I actually listened to the audio version with my mother on a road trip as she loves Lisa Genova and the book had just been released. So I have to say before getting into the heart of this review I loved this narrator!

All of Genova’s books focus seemingly on the medical conditions that plague this world without a cure from Alzheimer’s and Left Neglect to the focus of this novel, ALS. ALS is well known only because of famous figures such as Lou Gehrig, Morrie Schwartz and Stephen Hawking.

I could go over the many facts contained in the synopsis but would rather focus on a couple things not mentioned. You can pick up this novel and see only the emotional and physical hardships Richard and Karina go through. You can pick up this book and feel sorry for either just either main character and forget the other person is human also. This book though is a DO NOT instructional manual to making your relationships last. The amount of lies, regrets, hidden agendas and callus disregard remembered throughout their history as a couple is confounding. You need to read this with a clear mind and not cast anyone into an immediate role because they throw that all out the window before the last chapter. This book is infinitely more than a book about one man’s life with ALS.

DO NOT read Every Note Played if you can not handle the messiness of life with a disease that takes away your physical ability to do ANYTHING on your own( I really mean anything).

DO NOT read this Every Note Played you can’t handle a room full of unspoken regrets

DO NOT read Every Note Played if you are looking for a book whose soul focus is ALS

DO read Every Note Played if you can handle emotionally suppressed characters (who luckily know what their issues are).                                                                                             DO read Every Note Played if you can handle bodily functions and complicated relationships                                                                                                                                        DO read Every Note Played if you are open to the whole of a human experience. This book is so much more than Richard or Karina, ALS or failed marriages. This book is the whole enchilada of life rolled into a few hundred pages.

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