Richard is a renowned concert pianist. He receives standing ovations after his performances all over the world. He is famous for his perfected piano-playing technique combined with emotional resonance. But his flame of fame soon dies out when a doctor diagnoses Richard with ALS. He slowly loses the function of each part of his body until he can no longer play the piano as he once did. His ex-wife, Karina, reluctantly agrees to be his caretaker, and they both attempt to reconcile their shared past before it’s too late.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, yes, I would definitely recommend this book!
This is one of the few books that made me cry, but the ending was incredible. Of course, Richard at first appears to be arrogant, rude, and full-of-himself. But by the end, he appears humbled and grateful. It’s amazing to watch his relationship with his wife as they put the pieces back together. Although both hold a lot of resentment, they worked things out by the end.
What’s so painful is to watch Richard lose his ability to play the piano. As each session becomes increasingly difficult until he can no longer do it at all. Not many are as gifted at writing as Lisa Genova, but she continues to amaze. My favorite part about this book is the deeper understanding I gained of ALS. It’s a disease you think can’t possibly affect you, but then Genova has a way of bringing it front and center. Much like she did with her other book that I read, Still Alice, with Alzheimer’s, she sheds light on a disease that not many have thought about, let alone understand.
The characters, too, are deep. I felt that I got to know Richard and Karina extremely well. To the point I felt as though I were a fly on the wall during their conversations. I understood how Karina could felt resentment toward her ex-husband, but I also saw the potential for forgiveness. Especially with Richard’s life so close to an end. Although I also felt resentment toward Richard at the beginning because of his arrogance in his own abilities, Genova brought me down a notch and taught me to empathize. It’s clear by the end that I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone.
It might seem like Genova purely focuses on Richard and Karina, and yes they are the main focus of the story, but it doesn’t feel constricted. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to a busy mom. It’s sure to pull you out of your comfort zone, challenge your ideas of empathy and understanding, and you won’t be able to put it down. Not to mention, it’s a short read. Just bear in mind that it is a rather sad story. But if that’s what you’re looking for, then go for it!
Five out of five stars
If you enjoyed my review of Every Note Played by Lisa Genova, you might also like Still Alice also by Lisa Genova. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing Every Note Played, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.