Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The importance of friendship

Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers were unlikely to be friends, but once they became friends the friendship changed both of their lives.

The Soloist is based on columns that Lopez, a reporter for the LA Times, wrote. Lopez ran across a street person playing a violin. The performance seemed more extraordinary when he realized the artist had only two strings on his violin.

Lopez learned that Ayers was a gifted Julliard student, whose career had been ended because of his schizophrenia. What starts as a column grows into a friendship as Lopez tries to help Ayers get off the street and more opportunities with his musical gift.

I liked the honesty of this book. Lopez speaks of his frustration that there isn't a magic bullet to help the street people or to help his friend's mental health problems. He points out that he isn't a saint for being Ayer's friend. He doesn't paint Ayers as saint either. Ayers gifts and flaws are portrayed truthfully.

The book really spoke to me. In my profession, I see people in Ayers' situation often. Falling through the cracks in someways and unwilling to accept help in others. Lopez does a remarkable job of sharing his experiences. It is inspiring without being maudlin. Highly recommended


Post a Comment

<< Home