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....
The photographs are stunning and masterful. Each page evokes just as much emotion as a traditional page of prose, sometimes even more so. Using this scrapbook-style format, the authors were able to create abstract expressions that are hard to come by with the written word. I found myself feverish to turn the page, to discover more of the mystery, to drink it all in. The experience of reading Chopsticks was one I won't soon forget.
That said, I did find the overall story to be lacking in the end. Due to the unique format, I felt like I was reading a newspaper article and therefore never really slipped into the characters' shoes. I was definitely engrossed, but not in the same way as a traditional read. I didn't become Glory or Frank, so I didn't have the empathy I needed to truly fall in love with the characters. There was a disconnect at all times, like I was looking in through a window, spying on the neighbors next door.
Not that that's a bad thing. Chopsticks is still a fascinating read. Who doesn't want to take a peak into the mysterious lives of the neighbors next door?
All in all, this was an excellent experience and I highly recommend it. The usage of YouTube links and other modern tech was brilliant. I hear there is also an iPad app, which I'm going to check out. I think this book might be better experienced through the app, as you'd be able to watch the YouTube videos immediately as you come across them. The downside for me when reading was that I didn't have access to the Internet, so I had to go back later and watch the clips.
If you want to read something that totally flips the traditional novel on it's ear, then you must pick this one up.
(There is some mature content, so stick to the 14+ age recommendation.)
- The photographs truly are worth a thousand words
The story of Glory is told through pictures, newspaper articles, instant message conversations, and so on. It's hard for me to find a category that this book would fit under to accurately describe what it is like. It's not like a childhood picture book or even just a photography book, these images and words (used sparingly) tell a story that I actually liked.
When there is nothing to compare it to, it is hard to find a good way to critique and rate such a book. If I base it simply on the plot, I love the story and longed for there to be an actual written story with it. Although the images tell the story, there is something about descriptions and narrative that make the characters come to life in my mind. That was lacking in this novel which was disappointing. The quality of the images and the story they portrayed was amazing, it didn't lack a lifelike quality to them that they could've. I could see all those people in the photos really living this life and that was nice.
Oh how to rate a book that I don't even know how to critique. It was unique and definitely an interesting read for those who don't mind reading less and looking more.
I call Chopsticks an experience because it’s unlike any other book I’ve ever encountered. It’s made up of pictures, IM conversations, videos, and music. Of course, there are words mixed in as well, but it’s nothing like normal book format.
I loved the fact that there are playlists in here. They even introduced me to some new music :] I also really enjoyed the fact that there are Youtube URLS and when you follow them they actually take you to the videos they talk about in the story.
I thought it would be really hard to connect with any of the characters since the format is so different. Admittedly, I didn’t connect in the same way that I likely would have from traditional format, but I still really cared about Glory and her relationship with Frank. When she asks him to send her a piece of him and one of his shirts showed up in the mail, I about had a heart explosion from the sweetness!
The Nutshell: If you’re looking for something new to try then Chopsticks is definitely for you. It conveys a touching story through pictures, words, music, and video. And if you’re nervous to read it, just pick up a copy and give it 5 minutes. I guarantee you’ll be hooked!
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.
*Note: The book is mainly consists of pictures and drawings but there is (a minimum) number of words.