Book Review: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Synopsis:  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...

Pages: 272

Rating: 7/10

Overall: A beautiful-looking book, which challenges how you read into a story. While I enjoyed it, I felt something was lacking for me. Maybe something I wasn't picking up on with the way this story is told through photos.

I saw this book in Waterstones when I was browsing and thought it look really interesting. It is not a book in the normal sense, but a story told through photos, newspaper clippings, videos and letters. It is very much using the old adage of "a picture tells a thousand words".

A piano-prodigy, Glory, is taken around the world by her father to play in the most famous concert halls. Since her mother died, it seems that Glory has lost the plot and is starting to resent her father's rigorous plan to not lose her prodigy status as she grows up.

New neighbours move in next door from Argentina, and Glory is drawn to the son, Frank Mendoza. Frank is artistic and also boxes. Through the drawings and IM chats, you can feel Glory fall deep and fast for this boy. Frank, himself, has a few problems of his own. He didn't want to move in the first place and is now rebelling at school. They turn to each other to escape their problems.

Glory's father, however, definitely does not approve of their relationship, and packs Glory off on a European tour to get her away from him. But this seems to backfire as Glory ruins her concerts by refusing to play or only playing Chopsticks repeatedly.

Eventually, the Chopsticks playing forces her father to send her to a recuperation facility for piano players (which seems rather niche). She continues to play Chopsticks while there but also seems to become obsessed with Frank. And eventually you find out what happened that causes the newsflash at the start.

Chopsticks is a book that makes you think about what you are looking at, and what it means to the story. Very little is spelled out so it can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people.

The design of the book is beautiful. Attention to the detail is obvious on every page and I wanted to take my time over every page to make sure I wasn't missing anything. Though even with taking my time, it only took like 2 hours, if that, to get through it.

I did enjoy reading this book, with its completely different style. It was a lovely change from straight text, but I wasn't grabbed by the story as such. I can't really put my finger on what that was, it's just a general feeling for the book. Possibly it was lacking some sort of depth in the story that I was not picking up on.

If you like reading books that tell stories in less conventional ways, then this is an enjoyable book for that. I would recommend it for those artistic types. And for those who may be better at reading between the lines than me ;).

3 comments on "Book Review: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral"

  1. I've heard some mixed reviews of this one, but I think it sounds like a really cool concept! It kind of reminds me of the Griffin & Sabine series by Nick Bantock, which is told in letters and postcards. Great review, and thanks so much for stopping by my blog! :D

    1. Thanks! Yeah I loved the concept, but I think I enjoyed the concept a bit more than the actual story... I'll have to look up the Griffin & Sabine series. Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Great review!!! :D Here's mine if you don't mind: