Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: March 30, 2018
Story Perspective: Alternating Third-Person
Themes: Divorce, Relationships, Deception, Loss, Self Reflection, Forgiveness
This book was given for free, courtesy by NetGalley
and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books.
Richard was a well-known traveling pianist who has played with the best in America’s best venues. His love for piano and classical music is his life. However, when his begins to lose control of his right hand, he is quickly pulled down the devastating road of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and a road of self-reflection.
Karina, ex-wife of Richard, is trying to move on and understand the meaning of life again when she learns that Richard has the incurable disease, ALS. Uncertainty and confusion fill her mind of the man she once loved as she tries to figure out what to do.
With no one left to care for Richard and his ALS progresses to a point of almost complete paralysis, Karina becomes his home caregiver. As the two live each day as best they can, they reflect on their pasts in hopes to forgive one another for their mistakes before it’s too late.
I had read a previous book by Lisa Genova, Still Alice, and it absolutely moved me. When I saw Every Note Played on NetGalley, I knew I had to request it and feel extremely appreciative that I was given a review copy.
I love how the author gave the viewpoints of both the person experiencing ALS, Richard, and the one who ends up taking care of him, Karina. I found both perspectives moving and really tore my heart in two. It was just so heartbreaking to read how Richard’s body was physically deteriorating, but mentally still strong. You really feel how trapped Richard must have felt in his own body and just how difficult it must have been for him. Then, to learn about Karina’s past and current emotions made me also feel for her and her torn heart.
Since the perspectives are mainly Richard’s and Karina’s, these are the characters we learn the most about. Both internally struggle with not only the ALS progression, but their complicated feelings toward each other. The author gives the reader bits and pieces about their relationship and the reasoning behind their torn marriage. It was a little frustrating not knowing earlier on in the text both sides to the story, but we get to learn eventually what happened between the two of them. Genova does a wonderful job in helping the reader understand the progression of ALS and the difficulties the disease is for the person experiencing it and those around him/her.
One of the things that I found intriguing both in this book and Still Alice is how well-educated and well-researched the book is. In the Acknowledgments section of Every Note Played, the author reveals who she has interviewed, spoken with, and spent time with to understand more about ALS. She spent time with those who have experienced ALS, doctors who work with patients with ALS, and others. I am not only impressed with the amount of thought and research that Genova put forth toward this book, but also the emotions she was able to weave into the story.
Overall, this was a book I thoroughly enjoyed and was itching to pick it up every time I had to put it down. It has also made me excited to read more of her works.
I highly recommend Every Note Played to those who would like to learn more about ALS and who enjoy stories that have a sad/reflective tone throughout.
Was this a book of my choosing or one for review?
19 out of 50 books of my choosing for 2018!