I have been a musician all of my life. My mother would stand me on the table in the local restaurant and I would sing my little heart out. What did I sing, you ask? A perfect, 3-year old rendition of “You Are My Sunshine”. To this day I know every word and love to sing it. I moved on to vocal lessons, playing flute in the school band, the piano was self-learned until college then I discovered it’s beauty and to this day practice often and play whenever the opportunity arises. I was not a child prodigy. I was very talented, I still am, but living, breathing, and dying music is not what my life is all about.
Let’s talk about Min Kim. A child prodigy, who, from the age of six, shared her violin ‘voice’ with the world. Well, at least until it got stolen. That’s a huge part of this story and understanding the child prodigy. Many musicians will tell you, myself included, that your instrument is a real extension of who you are. If something happens to it, it is quite possibly the most destructive thing that can happen in life. Min’s story is of a life that is very, nearly destroyed by the loss of her Stradivarius. Living, breathing, and dying music, as a violin soloist, is what her life is about.
This incredible autobiography is both motivating and frightening. It tells of a life controlled by outside influences and influencers. Of a child who has no voice until she discovers the voice of the violin. Of victimization, of an eating disorder, of a dysfunctional family, of… Through it all, a musical treasure hones her craft and becomes world renowned.
My favorite quote is in the section that speaks of her anorexia. All those with talent will recognize the truth in these words.
Talent is a burden you can’t throw off. It can drink or drug you to death. It can depress you into suicide. But you can’t have the talent surgically removed, the weight of it. Only with death do you part. (pg. 207)
I highly recommend this book. I’ve been motivated by it, frustrated with some of the characters in her life, really angry at those who wanted to use her talent for their own gain, and above all delighted that she was able to move on to a great future becoming stronger and stronger each day.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Crown and Blogging For Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”