Every Note Played

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

I couldn’t take it!

No no no!! This read like a detailed, precise instruction manual for caregivers whose patients are dying horrible deaths. I wanted fiction! The fact that the book had characters and a plot couldn’t save it for me—I was too distracted by the endless and often gross descriptions of the ALS demon. I might as well have been reading about a puppy getting tortured to death.

It’s just me, folks. Genova is an excellent writer and educator. I just think she went overboard this time. Everyone else loved this book, so just ignore my review. It’s so hard to admit that I hated it; I wanted to be in the gush club with all my buds. Perhaps a fuller review to follow.

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.
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I have ready every Lisa Genova book, so I was excited to received this particular ARC. True to Lisa's writing style, I learned more about ALS (Lou Gherig's disease) in a way that makes you feel like you are living through it yourself. Her books become apart of you and Every Note Played is no different. The difference I found in this one was the cussing. Especially in Still Alice, the one "f" word she used felt called for. But I felt like it was just thrown around in Every Note Played. I'm "old school" and see cussing as showing yourself "uneducated". Lisa Genova is far from uneducated, thus her books do not need cuss words just thrown around on a page. I was very disappointed. If it weren't for this I would be recommending this book to all my friends, but I'm saddened that I can't. I hope she see's this and will take this into consideration for her next book because I can't stop reading!!
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With Still Alice Genova showed the world that she could show not just how a degenerative disease disrupts  a patient's life, but also how it affects the lives of the patient's family and loved one. While that book tackled Alzheimer's Disease, this one is about ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease because of the famous baseball player who was afflicted. 

Our male protagonist, Richard, was an accomplished pianist who cannot control his right arm and knows that this is just the beginning of the loss of muscle control. His relationship with Karina, his wife, was already strained and now she must reconcile with this new reality in which she has become her husband's caretaker.

Once again, Genova proves that she is a master at character development. Richard's story is one that will live in this reader's mind for a long time.
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As always, Lisa Genova delivers a heartbreakingly realistic look into a disease most of us have very little experience with, if any. Along with her vast knowledge and ability to capture the experience, she manages to create a story that stands on its own without the disease.
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Lisa Genova writes about the human condition, as well as the frailties of illness better than any author out there.  Such a beautiful, poignant portrayal of a family dealing with ALS.  This one will stick with you for years.
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After reading Still Alice and watching the film version, I eagerly awaited Genova's new book and was definitely not disappointed. Richard, a renowned pianist, contracts ALS, beginning in his hands. Richard has spent his life reveling in the limelight, ignoring his wife and only child, and so gallantly taking advantage of adoring female fans. He has been an ass. Now he is divorced and alone and sick. Who will care for him as his body deteriorates in a most unpleasant manner? 

His ex-wife, Karina, is finally, slowly, becoming an independent woman. I was amazed at the compassion she displayed toward the man who treated her so flippantly. Sadly, I would never be able to do what she did. 
I found the book to be compelling, poignant, heart-wrenching. I had to put it aside for awhile before reading the last few chapters. Richard will die; we know that. His body will deteriorate in a most ugly fashion; we know that. His mind will remain healthy, alert; we know that. But actually spending those last moments living in Richard's mind was horrifyingly real. 

I left this story hurting for those who hurt from this disease, whether it be patient, caretaker, family, or friend. All are affected. I also left questioning my own capacity to love enough when enough will not suffice. 

(Thank you, Net Galley, for the chance to preview and review this most excellent title.)
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In the three years since their divorce Karina and Richard have had very little to do with each other.  Karina remained in their suburban Boston home with their daughter, Grace and Richard moved into a high-end brownstone in the city.  Richard continued touring the country as a world-class concert pianist and Karina made ends meet by giving piano lessons out of her living room.  Karina is at a neighborhood function when she hears that Richard has canceled the remainder of his tour due to an illness, ALS.   She goes to visit Richard to see for herself and finds the same insulting, demeaning man that she divorced. Another year has gone by before she sees him again. The disease has ravaged his body, rendering his arms completely useless.  Before she even knows what she is doing she offers Richard the opportunity to come home and let her care for him for whatever time remains.  Will this time be what it takes for the two of them to heal the wounds of the past? 

ALS is a horrific disease that has been in the news a lot this last week with the passing of the great Stephen Hawking.  Lisa Genova has made a career from writing the fictional tales of people battling the most horrific diseases.  Every Note Played is another story of another horrific disease.  Neither Karina nor Richard were perfect people, but Richard was very hard to like.  Even with his illness, he was not a very nice man.  Karina, you could at least understand why she found it so easy to blame Richard for every bad thing in her life.  The author takes turns telling the story from Richard's view and then Karina's view.   However, the more the disease progressed the less we saw of Karina's side of things. And that is what made Every Note Played so difficult to read.  Every muscle that stopped working, every bodily function that started to fail him, every labored breath made it tough to read.  The realities of what a person goes through when they battle ALS is tough to read, but it is also to turn away.  There is no happy ending in a story about ALS.   But, it did end with both Richard and Karina getting the freedom they both desperately wanted.

Bottom Line - When a disease ravages a person it wreaks havoc on the whole family. Every Note Played is a novel that examines what such a disease does to an already fractured family.  Trust me when I say that this book is going to require a full box of tissues. 

Details: 
Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
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Pages: 320
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publication Date: 3/20/2018
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I love Lisa Genova's works, and have read them all with great enthusiasm.  But to be honest, I was not as jazzed about this one as I usually am.  The blurb did not draw me in right away, and I let it linger a bit on the shelf.  BIG mistake.  I never should have doubted her.  This amazing novel centers on Richard, a famed concert pianist, who develops ALS and slowly looses control of his body.  This man is easy to dislike.  He is egotistical and self-involved.  You'll want to hate him, but you won't.  It also involves Karina, his ex-wife, who has a long list of reasons to wish the worst for him, but who becomes his reluctant caretaker as his disease worsens.  And it is about life, and the way we humans fumble through it, mess it up, get it right, fail, and triumph.  When you read this (and you must read this!), don't skip the acknowledgements.  You'll understand why Lisa Genova is able to tell these stories so beautifully.  Not because she is a neuroscientist, but because she connects with people.  Thank you Netgalley and publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  This one is highly recommended!
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Richard is a renowned concert pianist.  He plays flawlessly with precision and emotion.  That is until he is diagnosed with ALS.  First his right arm is paralyzed and then his fingers stop working.  And the disease will not stop taking its toll until he takes his last breath.  Since Richard is rather arrogant and self-absorbed this disease is also a blow to his ego.  Both his physical and his mental health are at risk.

Richard and his ex-wife Katrina, who is also a skilled pianist, have not been on good terms since their divorce.  But now as Richard becomes increasingly unable to be by himself Katrina steps in to help with his care.
  
In addition to Richard and Katrina, Genova introduces us to their daughter, Grace, who must deal with not only her father’s ALS but with her mother’s efforts to cope.  And then there is the wonderful character, Bill, who is Richard’s caring and compassionate health aide.  

As Genova has done in her previous books, she again creates a fictional tale that reveals the devastation of a cruel and deadly disease.  And her medical background gives the fiction a factual basis.  By writing these books she brings these very complex diseases to the attention of her readers.  Her stories are told primarily from the viewpoint of the patient. Thus the story tells of the courage needed to face a deadly disease head on.  However, it is not only about a disease, it is also about repairing broken relationships about forgiving, and about family and finally about second chances. 

This book will draw you into the lives of its characters and not let you go until you reach the conclusion feeling emotionally drained.  It is an account of ALS, and it is the story of a man who because of ALS must come to terms with how his has lived his life.  

Thanks to publisher and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.
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Heartbreaking novel about a flawed couple and the choices they made that led to their divorce.  They find forgiveness and healing in their relationship during Richard's devastating illness.
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Emotionally engaging and insightful, Every Note Played is a richly layered story that will nourish longtime readers and fans of Lisa Genova’s previous novels like Inside the O’Brien’s (which addressed the effects of Huntington’s disease) and Still Alice (Alzheimer’s) as well as appealing to new readers .  

This time Genova, a neuroscientist, hooks readers with the tale of a renowned concert pianist, Richard Evans, and his battle with ALS, an unforgiving disease that has caused the demise of his career, much in the same way his career coupled with his roving eye lead to the demine of his marriage and a subsequent rancorous divorce. 
 
His unfortunate circumstance has caused his ex-wife, Karina, to reenter his life as his caregiver and chronicles the daily frustrations both face as patient and caregiver. Alternating between the viewpoints of Richard and Karina, the reader witnesses the love of music that initially drew them together followed by a litany of events shared by the couple but perceived very differently by each.

The narrative shows both Richard and Karina to be far from perfect in their thoughts and actions but through this shared agonizing journey each experiences a degree of personal growth.

Genova has a talent for giving readers an in-depth look at the physical and emotional effects of the diseases about which she writes without overwhelming them with a lot of medical jargon and mumbo jumbo.
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What happens when a concert pianist loses the use of his right hand?  Richard faces this first of many losses with denial and disbelief as ALS begins to invade his body, but as his abilities decline, he must accept help in order to manage basic tasks of daily living.  His ex-wife Karina becomes his reluctant caregiver, taking on this task to atone for the decision that drove them apart.  Their marriage forced each of them to give up a dream, but I'm the end only one can recover.  This is hard reading that occasionally becomes too clinical, but in the end it is the story of a struggling marriage that involves the reader, not the sad struggle with a horrible disease.
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I never really knew a lot about ALS before this book. I had only heard of it - connected to Lou Gehrig and Stephen Hawking. Also, there was an episode on "Suits" about it. I only knew it was a disease that could cause paralysis and death. 

Through this book, I learned a lot more about this dreadful disease and the ways that it takes over your body and what will eventually happen to you. Although the time frame is different for all who have the disease.

This book tells it all through a story about a very egotistical classical pianist who has enjoyed the fortune and fame of being famous. It has definitely gone to his head. All he can think about is himself, music, his piano and other women. He leaves his family, including his daughter, who he has left right alongside his wife.

An eye opening, very sad story about ALS, divorce and family.

I recall my first tear while reading this book. It was near the beginning of the book, when the pianist discovered his plight. This one phrase "Could that be the last embrace of his life?" really hit me hard.

Excellent read!

Thanks to Gallery, Threshold and Pocket Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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This book is amazing! Richard is not really a character you like. He is an accomplished pianist which has toured the world. He is arrogant, a terrible father, and definitely not a great husband. When he is diagnosed with ALS, his world changes for the worst.

The author did a BRILLIANT job with Richard. I hated him at first but when his body starts to fail him, he changes in so many ways. Karina is not a saint either. She does help him when he needs her the most. But, she cannot let go of the damage he already caused.

The tragedy of a life unfinished, the tragedy of family and marriage, the tragedy of this disease are just a few areas touched on in this book. This is about past hurts, past regrets, and lost dreams. This is a roller coaster ride of feelings! Don’t miss it!

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.
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I still haven’t read Still Alice, but when I saw this book was available I knew I needed to read it, even though I was worried when I saw a few comparisons to Me Before You (since I’m the only person in the world who hated that book). While I can see why people say that, since it does have a similar “theme” I guess, this book was SO MUCH BETTER. Characters that grew and matured as the book progressed, themes of redemption and forgiveness. Just a solid read all around.
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This beautiful book has opened my eyes to the many mundane things we all are guilty of taking for granted. While this is a wonderful story, it is also a great tool to bring awareness of ALS to those of us who don't know much about this terrible disease. From diagnosis through the progression, Lisa Genova demonstrates how devastating ALS is to everyone involved. Even though it is heartbreaking, it's an important book for all of us, not only for education and understanding, but also for motivation to become part of the search for a cure and to help those suffering from ALS.
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Just as the description said it's about redemption. Absolutely beautifully written! I couldn't wait to read the end! It's rare a book will touch me like this....the only reason I have it four stars is to many unnecessary details
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Every Note Played gives us Richard and Karina, lives who have been graced with artistic talent and full of regrets and resentments.  The diagnosis of ALS robs Richard of his gift with the reader now experiencing the struggles of the innocent victim, the progressive stages of the affliction, and the shifting frame of mind with the hardships of the caretaker.   Lisa Genova provides us with a memorable story and an authentic understanding of an insidious condition AGAIN.
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Never read, maybe read at another time.   Will probably appeal to readers of her previous books.
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Richard just found out he has ALS. His hands and arms succumb to the disease first which is devastating because he’s a world renowned concert pianist. He’s recently divorced from Kathy and his only daughter Grace is away at college so he has no one to be his caregiver. And anyway, he’s incredibly stubborn and in denial that his disease will eventually take him down.

Of course, it does continue to get worse. When Kathy visits him, in spite of their contentious relationship, she sees that he is incapable of taking care of himself living in his fourth floor walkup. Reluctantly, she invites him to move back home, where she can care for him.

In addition to being a wonderful author, Genova has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard. Because of this, and because she spoke with a number of people with ALS, she is able to describe in great detail what it’s like to live with the disease.

I personally have been in a situation where after waking up from being in a coma for two and half weeks, I had extreme muscle atrophy and could not move my arms or legs. I was also on a vent with a trach and could not speak. I think Genova perfectly captured what it’s like to be a prisoner in your own body – both the fear and frustration. Luckily, unlike Richard, I made a full recovery. Unfortunately, there is no cure for ALS.

I think this book would make an excellent book club selection. Discussion points could include whether or not you would be able to make the sacrifices Kathy made to care for Richard for someone you didn’t really like. There is also much to talk about surrounding the ending. I won’t spoil it for you though. Lastly, Kathy kept a big secret from Richard during their marriage that members could give their thoughts on.

Lisa Genova has become one of my favorite authors and Every Note Played did not disappoint. It’s the only book that has ever made me cry! Highly recommended.
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