Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Every Note Played: My Review

Every Note Played by [Genova, Lisa]

Every Note Played

About the Book:

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.

My Comments:

Last year, my Facebook feed was filled with people doing the "Ice Bucket Challenge"; agreeing to have themselves videoed while pouring ice water on themselves, in exchange for donations for ALS research.  Here in New Orleans a local hero is Steve Gleason, a former player for the Saints, who has lived with ALS since 2011.  Both this book and the story of Steve Gleason's life make it clear that ALS is one nasty disease. 

When Richard is first diagnosed, as many people do, he went through a "denial" stage--his disease would progress slowly, he would manage to be independent, he wouldn't lose his voice but  the losses came anyway.

Richard and Karina had divorced and of course each was well aware of what the other had done to break trust.  Each was still hurting over the break-up of the marriage but since they weren't the one at fault, neither could really move past it either.  Marriage vows are taken "for better for worse, in sickness and in health" and while Richard and Karina were not able to live those vows while healthy, Karina was able to live them when Richard became ill.  By caring for him through his decline and death, she showed that love is a decision, not just an emotion and, in the end, her love was, in some way, returned.

This book deeply moved me, which is unusual in a book where I really didn't like any of the characters.  Richard was way too self-centered.  Karina struck me as one of those people who just didn't know how to be happy--her problems in life before Richard got sick weren't all that much different or greater than many people's problems but she couldn't just relax, focus on the good and be happy.  Rather she spent her time focusing on what she didn't have and refusing to move on with life.  Their daughter was a rather self-centered college student, but I guess that's pretty par for the course at that age.  I did like the primary home health aid and if there was ever a job that is way underpaid, that's it. 

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  A.  


  1. It's on my wish list. I learn so much from her books!

    1. She's definitely a "must read" for me.


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