This Review Time book is a little bit different from my normal again! It’s actually pretty cool trying out all these different authors and genres. This title was given to me in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Letting Go
Author: Maria Thompson Corley
Published: 2016/07/204Version: Ebook
Goodreads Synopsis: Even though she lives hundreds of miles away, when Langston, who dreams of being a chef, meets Cecile, a Juilliard-trained pianist, he is sure that his history of being a sidekick, instead of a love interest, is finally over. Their connection is real and full of potential for a deeper bond, but the obstacles between them turn out to be greater than distance. Can these busy, complicated people be ready for each other at the same time? Does it even matter? Before they can answer these questions, each must do battle with the ultimate demon-fear.
Told in a witty combination of standard prose, letters, emails, and diary entries, LETTING GO is a long-distance love story that also examines race, religion, and the difficult choices we make following our passions. From the Great White North to the streets of New York City to the beaches of Bermuda, LETTING GO is a journey of longing, betrayal, self-discovery and hope you will never forget.
My Thoughts: First I loved the musician aspect! You don’t come across many books, at I least I haven’t, about classically trained musicians. The author was even kind enough to provide self recorded pieces that correlated with the story! An awesome treat for an ex musician. I enjoyed the parts about Julliard, the practice rooms in particular. I know how competitive the pianists were, they also had the best practice rooms at my school, and I remember the long hours spent in little boxes praying to get better with way too much music to learn…
Characterization was also good. Cecile and Langston both had demons to overcome whether they were parental, religious, bad choices made, or class related. It made the characters seem more real and down to Earth. The other romance that I read the characters were all so unbelievable, perfect this and perfect that, it was nice to see people who had struggles beyond a hair out of place. The side characters were fun and well thought out too, but the musicians were by far my favorite group, hey I could seriously relate to them!
The other cool part was the coming of age aspect of both main characters. You didn’t get a year or two with them like most stories. You got most of their life! From the end of high school to well into adulthood, we get to follow Cecile and Langston. We get to be the angel/demon on their shoulder as they go through life, and Cecil’s diary sections were a great glimpse into her true, unabridged thoughts.
It was a decent read so why three paws? A few things, first the sex stuff was a bit much for me. The book opens with Cecil being with a guy for the first time then struggling with him never calling her again and how much it will destroy her relationship with her parents if they ever found out. It was shocking for me, again I don’t read Romance, it was probably pretty tame compared to most in the genre but… Every time such scenes came up it threw me out of the book for a bit because I wasn’t expecting it, and frankly didn’t want to know.
Secondly, Cecil was incredibly apathetic about being accepted and attending Julliard. Conservatories are notoriously hard to get into, it is a big no matter what your focus is, and the teachers are no laughing matter. Her attitude at eighteen was horrible for a musician, it honestly doesn’t sound like someone who has studied with a private teacher for any length of time. Cecil doesn’t sound proud of her accomplishments, she also doesn’t sound like she wants to put in the work to be a musician; everyone plays etudes, students study them, pros warm up with them. She’s whining about being given a technical exercise that shouldn’t take more than ten minutes or so every time she sits down at the piano. Again, maybe I just need to suspend my disbelief more but I was a musician for many years, I did study music performance at Uni, four hours of practicing was nothing, crying while playing happened, not seeing the sun during winter happened! We were all freaking vampires, and only the singers seemed to have any sort of social life, the rest of us were locked in practice rooms.
Finally, it was hard to read at times because the characters could be so anti everything except for their own unique genetic makeup. Even Cecil was an outlier because she was “yellow” black, and Langston’s grandma hated that he worked as a busboy for a “white man” but I was under the impression the restaurant owner was of Italian or Mediterranean decent. You can’t lump every single person with “lighter” skin into one big ball of horribleness, it comes across as really hateful, seriously skewed, and made for an uncomfortable read at times. Characters were also seen as less because of what they wanted to do with their education. There is a scene near the beginning where Cecil’s new group of friends criticize one of the male singer’s of the group because he wants to sing opera on famous stages with famous conductors, i.e. Europe. The catch is, all or nearly all, classical (Medieval, Baroque, Romantic, Classical, etc) music is written by white guys. If you want to be a classical musician this is what you study and perform, if you want to sing opera you sing dead white dudes for the most part. This choice should not bring shame, and it was horrible to read that this kid’s friends would belittle him for not wanting to sing only “black” works. Musicians have a hard enough time with the backstabbing and pressure to always be better, they don’t need that kind of crap from “friends”.
If you love a good Romance, like musicians or cooks (what else are they called?), or coming of age stories give Letting Go a try! If you need vampires versus sea monsters, try elsewhere ^_^
Anyone else read Letting Go? What did you think? Should Neko take culinary classes? Share in the comments!