Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson (Romantic comedy, Romance, Fiction, 9/10E)

June 2014, Penguin, 496 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: music student, theatre life, opera, crazy friends, life going weird, family rift, feeling scared, having fun, findingyourself, nerves, ignoring the obvious, tough choices,
Content: strong language, adult content, drug use, drinking,

Summary from Penguin
Sally is a woman of many (hidden) talents.

She's been working as wardrobe mistress at the Royal Opera House, not telling a soul she's a damn good singer. But then, she's only able to sing if she's shut inside her wardrobe, where it's safe.

But she made a promise to her cousin Fiona that she would audition for Opera School and for complicated reasons, she can't get out of it - even though she'd rather claw her own eyes out than sing in public.

Sally has a lot to learn, but will she figure out that stage fright is about more than forgetting the words? And that perhaps her real problems lie very much closer to home?

Nayuleska's thoughts 
I loved Sally from the start because she respects her childhood teddy (me, I have plural and then some!) and had a curious habit of singing in a wardrobe. This habit turns out to be a pretty huge deal for the entire story, one that I found endearing and squee-d when I saw it ,mentioned. How Sally got to love opera singing yet hate performing in front of others was just as tissue worthy and impressive as how she then got past her fear, resolved most of her big issues that taunted her for years and then became a star opera singer.

Opera isn't a passion of mine, yet I loved diving into the world of Sally's passion from both when she was backstage as a wardrobe mistress (putting clothes on and off theatre cast not someone who sells wardrobes or anything like that) and on stage as an opera singer student was fun to read. Sally's voice is easy to read and rather funny. Ignoring the adult content which I managed to skim over I loved this book. It was clever how I discovered the truth about that fateful time in New York bit by bit-that was annoying but Sally's aversion to being an opera singer despite her clear talent kept me diverted with a fair amount of giggling. 

The huge plot twist changed my perspective of how Sally and those who knew her acted, and yet it was the day to day details which I loved reading the most. I loved her proximity to the ballet world. I enjoyed finding out her comfort foods for while she was abroad. I know I've said it once already but I loved her wardrobe singing issue. It was pretty random but sweet to watch her personal demons appear, fight back then get squished. I loved how eventually she made firm friendships to help fill the gaping hole in her heart of those friends she'd lost for various reasons. The emotional baggage from her childhood remained a big issue until the end of the story which is just the beginning of a new act in her life - the book is even divided into acts and scenes for chapters.

I know I'm going to reread this book, so go on, give it a chance! You don't have to like or know much about opera to understand Sally's turbulent life. 

Find out more on Lucy's website.

Suggested read 
Another light and crazy read is The Out Of Office Girl by Nicola Doherty (Fiction, 9/10E)

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