Review from Philomena’s Bookclub – Piano Lessons

Book Title: Piano Lessons

Author: Anna Goldworthy

What we liked about the book

We all enjoyed the book and felt it was well written and engaging. We particularly liked the piano teacher Madame Sivan, but would have liked to learn more about her background and early life. Anna’'s commitment to her music, some would describe as obsession, was to be admired. Her descriptions of the lessons brought back childhood memories for half the group of learning piano and their own teachers – one a Holocaust survivor and another, a severe Indian woman with plaits wound around her head. The structure of each chapter around a composer enabled the reader to gain insight into the different styles of music.  The book is both a memoir and tribute or ode to the teacher. It confirmed the importance of hard work, talent and an inspirational teacher as well as the support and encouragement of family.

What we did not like about the book

For one of our group she found Anna to be too self-absorbed and so could not warm to her. We agreed that she was very competitive and a high achiever with some self doubt. There were some passages that were hard to comprehend if you had no knowledge of music. There were some aspects of family life that could have been explored in more detail.

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