Originally posted on my blog, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Strings Attached was such a personal, emotional read for me. It touched on many things I identify with and hold close as a musician and as a music teacher. I found myself thinking fondly of my own teachers who pushed me, inspired me, and demanded so much from me... many of them felt as tyrannical as Mr. K, and I am just as thankful for that as his former students are.
However, you do not have to be a musician to enjoy this book! There are so many layers to Mr. K's story: his tragic childhood (he was born near the start of the Holodomor in the Ukraine), his perseverance, his work ethic, the way he dealt with the many challenges and heartaches life threw at him - and joy! There were definitely joys, too. This is a human interest story. When musical terms do pop up, they are explained in layman's terms; very quickly and simply, never interrupting the flow of the story.
Mr. K's voice rang out with such clarity and character I felt I knew him. I laughed at his insults ("Cellos sound like hippopotamus rising from mud at bottom of reever!" and "Who eez deaf in first violins?"), my heart swelled at when he offered praise, and I made notes of his wisdom ("you can't teach children an instrument and then hide them in a hole").
Lipman and Kupchynsky's alternating perspectives segue naturally back and forth, often with one picking up where the other left off. The writing style is easy and conversational. Newspaper clippings and photographs often accompany the narrative.
Strings Attached is a moving tribute to a man who made a profound impact on the lives of so many.I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.