By: Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral (Illustrator)
Publication: February 2, 2012
After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song “Chopsticks.”
But nothing is what it seems, and Glory’s reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it’s up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along…. From Goodreads.com
My Review (This is a long review):
Oh my goodness. This book is surprisingly excellent. My expectations for this book were pretty low in the beginning, but after reading it, I somehow still few like I need to look back at this book to understand more about it’s deeper meaning.
To be honest, I read this book in a bookstore. It took me about thirty minutes to finish this book mainly because it is a picture book. Again, I will be honest, I sometimes do judge books by their cover and seeing this book for the first time, I was hesitant to read it. The cover reminds me of typical young adult contemporary book about teen love.
Basically, by flipping through the pictures, it is about two different neighborhood teenagers who (a bit instantly) fall in love. Gloria being a piano prodigy and Frank being an Argentinian boy coming into America and showing his artistic abilities. Within these pictures, you understand both sides of their characters and their slight struggle being together as a couple with Gloria’s career as a piano prodigy. Seriously, something about these pictures (even if many of them did look a tad bit staged) was strange and mysterious. It was interesting seeing pictures that portrayed the point of view of the characters.
There are a few things that I didn’t quite like. One was Gloria’s dad Victor who didn’t really serve that much of a purpose except be a stereotypical mean parent of a prodigy who won’t let the child live life and makes them practice all the time. He’s (I believe) the antagonist of this story which I wish he did change within the story. Both Gloria and Frank started getting annoying during the middle of the book. They were both in love and they seem to have almost made their relationship worse.
I don’t think there is a real message in this book. I just know this book makes you think. This is quite psychological. By the end, usually you might have to go back to certain parts of the book just to piece together everything that you just read. In my mind, that was the winner. I loved how there are some forms of symbolism and metaphors that cause readers to think twice about what happened earlier in the story. Usually I don’t give five stars to books, but I feel that this book is worth a 5 out of 5 stars just for it’s purpose of making the reader think. Sometimes I can’t help but think about if there were more things to understand about this book. I recommend this book to people who want to read something that will cause them to think later on after reading this book. If you go to a bookstore like I did and come across this book (and if you have time to burn), consider reading it.
Spoilers! (major spoilers ahead! You’ve been warned!)
This is the first time I did spoilers. I mainly want to talk about the psychology and symbols that happened within the last part of this picture book.
The plot twist was extremely unexpected. It was a subtle twist at the start, but it grew to a point where the reader can get confused. To be honest, I was confused at the part with the picture of the rest facility admission sign in paper. Looking at the dates, it lists dates about two years after Gloria’s mom died (I think I got that right). No where in the book before that part does it say she ever went to a rest facility for piano prodigies. Continuing onward, I noticed things such as her painting a familiar flower that was shown earlier that Frank painted. By this time, I was overly confused. The more and more I flipped through the more you see loads of similar things from earlier. There is another point where it shows a wall of drawings that are of Frank’s but look closely. Instead of his name signed at the bottom, it is Gloria’s. The rest facility’s stationary is exactly the same as the school Frank attended and was expelled from. It even had the same name. (Hmmm. Strange). I still was confused here. I didn’t understand the wine bottle, the map, or the boxing jacket till the end.
Gloria seems to have formed a psychological disorder (possibly schizophrenia or multiple personality). I’m leaning more on schizophrenia. She most likely formed it from the death of her mother and her dad giving her practices schedules that made her less of a child. Here at the end, you realize that she completely made up Frank in her mind. She made a whole story of her chemistry with Frank. This is where the wine bottle and everything takes place.
Gloria’s mother had plenty of wine bottles. There was one specifically with a face and a name. That’s how she formed his appearance and his name. She had the map of Argentina. That was where Frank was from. She somehow got the boxing jacket (it was plain) and she heard the name of a famous boxer and sewed the name on the back of it. Frank was a fan of boxing and of the boxer on the back of the jacket (which earlier he “owned”). She saw the stationary of the facility and made the facility the school Frank attended. Then there is the display of paintings and drawings with Gloria’s name instead of Frank’s.
It’s questionable whether or not they are the same person (due to her artistic ability) or that she missed the love of her mom and created someone to be with her as she struggled being under the power of her dad. Everything here seriously made me flip back and forth to earlier pages just to make sure I was understanding things right.