Saturday, November 1, 2008

In Mozart's Shadow: His Sister's Story

In Mozart's Shadow: His Sister's Story In Mozart's Shadow: His Sister's Story by Carolyn Meyer

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars

I cannot believe I read the whole thing. It felt more like a recitation than a novel. I'd had high hopes for it, and I was interested in the subject matter (the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's older sister Nannerl), was pretty boring. Flat. The most interesting part was when she was about 28 or 29 and fell in love with an older man whom her father refused to let her marry. Yes--her father was a wretchedly domineering man and totally wrong about, well, most everything. In fact, her father was an excellent example of how NOT to parent, although he at least did love her & her brother. The most interesting thing about the book was actually not IN the book but in my head as I pondered the effect--for good or for ill--bad parenting had on Mozart's legacy of music.

I spent most of this book praying that Nannerl would rebel against her father. Didn't happen, of course. She pleaded with him a few times--about being allowed to train in Italy as a musician (she was an outstanding pianist), about being allowed to travel with him & "Wolferl," and about being allowed to marry Armand d'Ippold, etc., but she never defied him. Mozart did rebel and was eventually allowed to marry the woman he chose. But no one else ever defied Leopold Mozart or bothered telling him the truth. Not that he would listen anyway. I wonder if he was truly this autocratic in real life, or if it's just Carolyn Meyer's vision of him?

This book is categorized as YA fiction, but I'm not certain many teenagers would like it. It wouldn't be among my top recommendations, at any rate. Not enough dialogue, character development, or even plot. I'm sure the chronology was pretty accurate, but the 30 or so years of Nannerl's life that it covers are almost entirely depressing.

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