Monday, March 4, 2013

Review: In Mozart's Shadow by Carolyn Meyer

Title: In Mozart's Shadow: His Sister's Story
Author: Carolyn Meyer
Genre: YA / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harcourt & Brace
Published: 2008
Pages: 368

Rating - 5 out of 10

This tells the story of Wolfgang Mozart's elder sister, also a talented musician. She longs to share in the fame and opportunities that her brother receives, yet lives her entire life eclipsed by his shadow.

It was interesting to learn about Mozart's flawed, dysfunctional family and his neglected sister. The book follows Nannerl Mozart's life from her childhood to her later adult years.

The writing style stiff and impersonal at times, while at the same time almost force-feeding tragedy and sadness to the reader. After awhile, it became more than annoying. It seems that Carolyn Meyer's chief attempt in this book is to relate to the reader this fact: Nannerl Mozart did not lead a happy life. The very ending of this book reads - "Tears brimmed in my eyes. I let them fall."

No happy ending, then. In fact, there is no happy beginning, happy middle, or anything of the sort. It is rather depressing, yes, but that isn't the worst part of it. Even the saddest tragedies should have their high, joyous moments, or else the sorrow will seem numbed and meaningless. How sad would "Romeo and Juliet"'s readers have been if they never saw how perfectly happy the two main characters were together in the first place?

Carolyn Meyer shows us only the downside of her heroine's story. As far as her fictional portrayal is concerned, her heroine had no upside at all.