Monday, May 13, 2013

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

The Lucy Variations
Good Reads Summary
The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain.

That was all before she turned fourteen.

Now, at sixteen, it's over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano -- on her own terms. But when you're used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself?

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr takes readers inside the exclusive world of privileged San Francisco families, top junior music competitions, and intense mentorships. The Lucy Variations is a story of one girl's struggle to reclaim her love of music and herself. It's about finding joy again, even when things don't go according to plan. Because life isn't a performance, and everyone deserves the chance to make a few mistakes along the way.(less)

My Thoughts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

We don’t see ourselves as others do… it’s certainly true for Lucy and her family. And that’s the point, yes? That perspective is what they all needed some more of. First there’s her not wanting what they want and then there’s them wanting more for her. And then there’s her focusing on what she’d lost out on and them seeing things passing her by. In the mean time, there’s me not loving any of them. At. All. It’s a difficult read at points because they each made valid points:

How she could be spoiled and bratty as well as how they’re overbearing and one track about everything. But here’s the thing: I felt they all could have been more, the father positioned as he was especially: on the inside but not completely, knowing all of them as he did and failing in so many respects to set things right. The mother and the grandfather and how she’d put stock in everything they said, till she didn’t anymore. And the inevitable outcome of that: growing friction, more dissatisfaction. All heavy stuff, I know except for me feeling a lack of something to have me want more for her, for them… whatever.

The only time she’s truly enjoyable to read of is her with her little brother, who’s not as perfect as she made him out to be. Why though? When he’s the good kid towing the line and doing what she used to do? And where she’s trying (struggling) to be her own person? And where her father’s there and knows and understands but falls short? Maybe that’s it... it’s that they all fall short of ‘real’ for me. I mean Gus couldn’t just have been little brother perfect, she couldn’t just be daughter rebelling, and their father couldn’t just have been perfectly clueless, right? They weren’t, we see all that in the end, but for much of the book that’s sure what they seemed like to me. They’re each all aiming for perfect when it’s so obviously impossible. It’s in trying to be that that friction between her and her mother, resentment for her grandfather, then a sadder wanting to get back what she didn’t quite have the first time around that comes out.

Then there’s the added complication of her as Girl and her feelings as such for so and so that had me worried… but also wondering what her damage was. She had me, shouting: NOOOO! Don’t do it! (Side note: it seems to me almost every lead I’ve read of Zarr’s has had me screaming thus at one point or another.) She’s young and figuring things out and while some things are clear to her, it’s clear to me that MOST other things, important things aren’t. What that thing about things being too good to be true?  The very same thing applies here; it’s her learning that truth that had her feeling more than spoiled bratty girl not quite brave enough to go after what she wanted for me.

This had interesting moments this one… but I still love her other books more.

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