Friday, May 6, 2011

REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly

Jennifer Donnelly has done it again with REVOLUTION. Another near perfect book. I've only read one of her other books, A NORTHERN LIGHT. Totally different but brilliant as well. I loved them for different reasons but give both 5 of 5 stars.

Andi blames herself for her younger brother's death, and, maybe unconsciously, her parents estrangement. But she's angry and deservedly so. Her passion is music but her father doesn't hear it. She is researching an 18th century composer Amade Malherbeau. (Whom I believed to be real, he's not. Ms. Donnelly made him up.) Andi's research and a mysterious discovery leads her to a young girl during the French Revolution. You, the reader, get to go back and forth from Andi's life and Alex's life.

Maria, from West Side Story. Sing it. Hear those 3 notes? Ma♪ri♪a♪. Before I read REVOLUTION, I didn't know why I love minor notes and chords, I just knew they moved me. Those three notes are called a triad. From Wikipedia: triad - three-note chord consisting of a "root" note together with the third and fifth above it. Music is just part of REVOLUTION, but for me, it's very important.

In an interview with her at Booktunes I quote, "I wanted very much to make the point of the power of art to sustain. I love the idea of reaching back to our artistic ancestors for help and comfort and guidance. I’ve been sustained by the work of other writers my entire life. Andi is sustained by generations of musicians, stretching from Johnny Greenwood all the way back to Malherbeau (a fictional 18th-century French composer I conjured for this book). If there’s one thing I really want to get across to readers, especially teenage readers, is that this priceless legacy – be it music, or paintings, or books – exists. And it exists for you. If things are bad, take hold of it and let it carry you."

Sometimes, I don't always "get" why a book moves me. I mean, I know what moved me. The music moved me but it was the connection to the music. It took this article for me to understand that connection, that it SUSTAINS me and it can help my students to know that it can sustain them, too.

1 comment:

  1. A NORTHERN LIGHT was a really impressive debut, Jean. I haven't read anything more of Donnelly's but I'm planning to. :) Glad to see you back in blogging land.