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Chopsticks Paperback – February 2, 2012
100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
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"...seeing deceits and red herrings laid bare in photographs and documents, rather than reading about them, makes the book’s punches hit hard." — Publishers Weekly
"Eerie and edgy—and effective as Poe." — Kirkus
"Like the young artistic love it describes, Chopsticks is beautiful and strange and haunting. The story’s crooked path is made luminous by its extraordinary images." — Junot Diaz
"Reading Chopsticks is like watching people kiss in the street: it’s private, it’s beautiful, it’s lonely, it’s wild, it’s secret, it’s everywhere and you can’t look away." — Daniel Handler, author of Why We Broke Up
Glory is a piano prodigy.
After her mother died, she retreated into her music. Her father raised her with the goal of playing sold out shows at Carnegie Hall and across the globe. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to Frank, who moves in next door. She loses herself in his paintings and drawings, mix CD’s and late-night IM conversations. Soon, Frank becomes both her connection to the world--and her escape from reality.
Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song “Chopsticks”; F and G notes moving closer together, and farther apart.
Now, Glory has disappeared. But nothing is what it seems. And we must decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along.
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Top Customer Reviews
The main problem I think Chopsticks suffers from is that it takes for granted what can be inferred visually. This is a case where "a picture is worth a 1000 words" doesn't hold true. And that's pretty much evident from all the conflicting interpretations found on GoodReads.
I kinda feel like the authors used the intro statement of "We must decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along" as a copout to mask that they have constructed a completely incoherent story. Books are a medium where inference is hard and sometimes fewer words are not better.
Now normally I don't try to divulge too much of the books I read but in this case I feel like I need to explain my interpretation of this story.
[spoiler alert: For the first 9 chapters you think Gloria is an overworked child prodigy being pushed to insanity by a controlling, over-bearing father. Then you begin to realize she has an 8 year history of mental instability, having spent much time in a "rest home" with the same logo as the school Francisco supposedly attended. A school that in fact shares the same name as the administer of Gloria's "home". This is one of the first indications that Gloria was making things up.
Then you see a scene where she is sewing the boxing robe that was supposedly Frank's years before. It wasn't until the Police investigation of Glory's room where my suspicion was confirmed. Every art piece formally signed by Frank actually has her signature.Read more ›
It's a little tricky reviewing a book with hardly any words in it, but I can say that this was breathtaking. Much like a book written in verse, so few words hold volumes. The pictures and illustrations were well done and told a story of struggle and love. They seem like such a sweet couple. The only problem with this storytelling, is you feel very outside the loop. It's almost like finding someone's journal and looking through it. You are completely engrossed and don't want to stop until the end, but you know that it's not your life, and that it has all already happened. The story has already been played out. I did love it though. I took my time, but read it all in one sitting. This is definitely a book you'll want to purchase, that way you can look through it again and again. I would love to see more books like this, their better than graphic novels because they are so much more intimate. It just feels like you're seeing someone else's private moments. Pick this book up, you have no excuse, it's such a quick read.
Chopsticks is both a love story and a mystery. I think readers could look through it a second time and experience it differently; and it would have a different ending. Glory is a teenage piano prodigy who falls in love with Francisco, the boy who moves in next door. Her father is both her piano teacher and manager, and forces her to go on a European tour - partly for her career, but mostly to separate her and Frank.
While on tour Glory begins to mentally spiral and starts only being able to play chopsticks at all her performances. Frank is the only one who can calm her, but the more intense their relationship becomes, the worse Glory gets... and the lines between real and imagined become blurred.
Chopsticks is one of the most interesting books I've read in a while. I've already gone back through it again, trying to gleam more from all the material. The only reason I didn't rate this book higher is because though I loved the scrapbook style of the novel, I didn't feel as emotionally tied to the characters as I usually do with books you read. I could sense Glory's ups and downs, happiness and sadness, but I didn't feel connected to her.Read more ›
I guess I am more of a traditional reader and prefer words. Many of the teens at my library had difficulty with it as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I came around this book at my public library, and was about to dismiss it when I saw NO WORDS WERE ON IT! Only PICTURES! I am glad I gave it a try. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Marisol
I don't think I have ever read anything like this. Chopsticks is visually a beautiful book. It mixes real and staged pictures with written notes and IMs and drawings and documents... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kindle Customer
I’m definitely the type of girl who likes to know the book before buying it but Chopsticks was different for me. The instant I saw it I knew I had to buy it. Read morePublished 14 months ago by PartnersinBooks
This is a lovely and unique graphic novel told largely in full page images and IM messages, with some letters and 1-2 sentence dialogue pieces thrown in. Read morePublished 15 months ago by EpicFehlReader
An Open Letter To Chopsticks,
You just blew my mind. I had no idea what you were when I picked you up at the library. Read more
A love story told via photos? So very interesting and unique. I thought "love story" was also utterly heartbreaking. Such a well done piece of story telling.Published 21 months ago by Nichole Bellow
This book was great. It's told in all pictures and very little words. It's crazy how much you can see from these pictures. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Chloe
Finished: Jan. 2013
Okay, so, I finished this tonight...Within about an hour and a half or so..(had to keep stopping to talk to my kids, respond to messages, etc). Read more
I found this story to be a really creative and new way to tell a story. I liked that it was a mix of visual and text to tell the story. Read morePublished on July 13, 2013 by Sarah Woodard