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"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green


Chopsticks (Review)

Edition: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Date: February 2, 2012
Source: Borrowed from library

The Summary

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....
My Opinion
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral was one of the most original and visually-arresting books I have ever read.  The story told is one of beauty, fear, love, and madness all framed through photographs, images, and objects with the text being there to simply add another layer.  A visual feast, the reader is drawn in so deep you'll feel as if you lived in the book.

The story is emotionally charged.  It is the characters that make the plot evolve.  Glory is a piano prodigy.  Starting at a young age, she plays for hundreds, and is the next "wiz kid" of the classical world.  But after the death of her mother, Glory starts to break down, dissolving further and further until all she can play is "Chopsticks".  During this time, a young artist named Frank moves in next door with his family.  Glory and Frank find each other, connecting in a way that transcends the ordinary, working to balance the madness that threatens to consume Glory.

Now you may think you figure all that out right away, but I found you have to read through the book several times before parts of it start to click.  The ending of Glory and Frank's journey is left up to the reader to decide.  There are clues in each image and photo, in each text message and note, but you have to decipher the meaning behind it all.  This is what makes the story so real.  It is just as if you were watching someone's life; you never get the whole meaning at once and sometimes things will always be hidden.  At times I was frustrated, but I kept going back with the promise of finding something new.

There are several layers, not only to the story but to the books as there is an interactive digital version for your computer and iPad.  I bought it and there are videos added in, as well as additional images whch create an even more intimate view of the book.  The interactive book is only $6.99 on iTunes and I think it was well worth the cost.

Chopsticks is the start of a new way to tell stories, perfect for such a technology driven time.  Living in such a visual and fast-paced world, I really appreciated the innovation and time it took to create such a unique experience.  Beautiful and haunting, Chopsticks Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral is one of the coolest books of this year!

Book trailer for Chopsticks

Final Rating
Book Cover: 4.5/5
Book Title: 4/5
Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9.5/10
Writing (photos, drawings, etc): 10/10
Ending: 8.5/10
Overall: 45.5/50: A- 

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