Book Review: Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

Today I want to share a book that I read in January to start off the new year and holy you guys, it was quite a read. I was so lucky that late last year Simon and Schuster sent me a ton of great books to read and a few of them were early releases! The first book that caught my eye was 'Every Note Played' by Lisa Genova, the neuroscientist and author behind Still Alice. It was actually the first book of 2018 that I read and now that it's finally available I wanted to share a bit about it and send out my high praises and recommendation for this read!

When I picked up the book I had no idea how deeply it would affect me and that months after reading, I'd still be thinking about it. Truth be told I knew very little about ALS so as I read the back cover and excerpt I didn't think much about it....

every note played book review

"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."

This novel is told from the perspectives of Richard and Karina, a divorced couple whose lives connect again due to devastating circumstances. I really enjoy novels that tell the same story from different points of view so it didn't take me long to get right into this one. I found this book to be a pretty quick and easy read and it didn't take me long to be sucked into the characters and their stories. 

At times I was frustrated with the characters, and at others I deeply sympathized with their struggles. My feelings for the characters shifted and changed as the story went on but what was  most striking about this novel was the way the author was able to articulate the thoughts and feelings of Richard as his ALS progressed and he changed both physically and emotionally.

The last several chapters of this book are heart wrenching. I can honestly say I don't think I've ever sobbed (yes sobbed) quite as heavily reading a book as I did this one. I was reading this book on our way home from the mountains after our New Year's trip and I received several concerned looks and questions from James as he had to drive home sitting next to me weeping my way through the book. 

I can honesty say I absolutely loved this book and I think everyone should read it! It's both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time and I've already told anyone who will listen that I recommend they read it but if you do, keep a box of tissues handy for the water works.

Funny story - the book looks a bit beat up so we had to be a bit strategic with these photos because only a few chapters in I actually dropped this book into the bathtub (oops!). James came to the rescue with a hair dryer but the damage was done! lol 

Anyways, let me know if you read this book and what you think and as always, I'd love to hear your book recommendations as I'm always looking for new books to read!!