Wednesday, 15 August 2018

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G Drews: Book Review

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music - because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?


You know how contemporary novels are usually best read in Summer, or so I've come to discover? Well, this novel was probably the first I've read around Winter time that really broke free from that typical habit - the mood, the setting, and the overall feel of sad music humming beautifully in the back of your head as you imagine the soundtrack to Beck's life (that is exactly what I did BTW and the playlist will be at the bottom of this review). As sad as I am to say, this did touch on family abuse, physical and emotional - two subject of which are touchy for me personally but C.G Drews (A.K.A Paper Fury) was able to initiate it in a way that didn't have to use violence to fight back. I feel like it's hard to really say whether this book could prove a point for those suffering through similar circumstances, because then others would say that it is wrong to use books or fictional characters' lives as examples of what we must do ourselves. However, personally I do feel like Beck's ability to avoid physical conflict in the best way that he could was truly amendable and I really felt that it was exactly what the book needed to stand out against all others where only violence solves issues.

“He floods the house with music that shook the world a hundred years ago. His fingers knot over complicated patterns and his thumbs fail when he needs them most. But, the Maestro's wrath aside, he owes it to the music to find perfection.”

Beck's life is somewhat unrealistic to a lot of people - I can believe it, however, as my own life could seem pretty unrealistic to others who don't think emotional or physical abuse could really something that some parents are capable of. It's true, and very very damaging to children who grow up to be adults trying to navigate the world in their own ways, constantly being judged by others who don't understand their lingering pain. His sister, Joey, is stuck in the middle of him, his piano, and their mother who is hell bent on making Beck a prodigy, better that she ever was. August is the free-spirited girl who sees passion and love under the shield that Beck keeps up to try keep her away as having friends is just a "distraction" to his career. She slowly breaks through his walls and tempts him with strange cake and catchy alternative music that he's never had a chance to hear because of the years he's been subjected to listening to and practicing purely classical music.

Because this was such a quick read, I don't want to say too much about the storyline or the characters because there aren't too many of those either, but I'd like to state that this book resonated a lot with me personally. Being able to connect with Beck in an emotional way that transcends the barriers of a normal life reminds me of how moving fictional stories can be when they're meant to shake the core of your being. This story shows the passion of a talented soul who is controlled to become something that he is not instead of creating something new and beautiful. It is a sacrifice to safe others from stepping into harms way. It's showing that beauty and love exists in the strangest of places, and that there isn't always a selfish reason to care. If I'm going to ask anyone to read this, it's because I think it brings up important messages that people need to hear, and also because this is a reality for many kids around the world and it's time that they had their story told.

“The world is a broken mirror, each shard reflecting his terrified face.”

I have given this book a 4.75 out of 5 stars for evoking such emotions that will scar me for life but also remind me what it means to be passionate and fight for what is right. I've read books that have changed my life and made me feel all the feelings I could have felt, but never have I read a book like this that has made me feel truly moved, that has made me want to do something about fighting for people like this who need help. To raise awareness for people who suffer through depression or muteness or domestic violence, or damaging anger. A truly astounding debut from C.G. Drews (PaperFury) and I cannot wait to see what she will bring out next - I'm aching for the next instalment and her brand new project! Bring them on 2019!

Thank you Hachette NZ for the review copy

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Find it on the Hachette NZ website HERE