June 24, 2013

All the thinking thoughts and The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

Yesterday, a really great long early summer day, started with an amazing morning—one of those mornings where as a mom of a young kid you wonder when you’ll ever ever get again. But my young kid is getting less young and this particular morning she was content with my presence rather than my undivided attention, so I finished a book. And I loved it, the morning and the book.

Sara Zarr’s The Lucy Variations was an amazing book, but even more that maybe it was an amazing book for me. I got this book, in my heart and in my head. Maybe it helps that I was a musician in my youth. (Not like Lucy, not at all, just a slightly better-than-average high school musician, but I felt that connection.) It was really more than that though. Lucy’s world intrigued me in a very real way, yes, but I loved three things best about this book:

  • The beautiful imperfection of every character. I can’t give a higher compliment than to wish I could someday write flawed people half as well.
  • The way it’s made me think. Not about the book, though I continue to think about that, but about not the book. About my life and the world and a hundred different things not connected to the prose except by my own brain. I read a lot to not think, and so many books I would read for thinking I can’t anymore, since I’ve come to know too well that though they’ll be wonderful, they’ll be unhealthy for my mood and my psyche for days/weeks/months to come. This book was different. It was not a comfortable book, which is part of (the heart of?) its brilliance, but it was not a dark book. It was hopeful and thoughtful, and for this particular reader, I suppose that’s the perfect storm.
  • The way that it is a love story, but NOT a romance.

I gave the book five stars which, in the way of music competitions, may be jumping the gun, because this was my first audition, so to speak. Lucy was my first Zarr, though I’ve got Sweethearts on my Kindle, and seems not her best-received by audiences so far. I recognize why—how the world may not interest everyone and especially how the uncomfortable nature of much of the story would be, well, uncomfortable for a lot of readers—and suppose I admire it even more for its challenges. The ears of the judge matter as much as anything, and this book found its perfect listener.

Even though I read a lot, book reviewing like this isn't usually my thing... But I wanted to gush about this book and had no reason not to! You can always follow what I'm reading on the tab up at the top or on Goodreads.
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