All Images are Copyright Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral ©2012.
After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song "Chopsticks."
But nothing is what it seems, and Glory's reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it's up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along....
One thing that can be said of reading Chopsticks is that it is one of the most unique reading experiences that you will ever have, be it through electronic or print editions. Why? Because it changes the concept of what a novel is. Chopsticks is made up of photographs, old newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and playlists, all telling the haunting story of the young Gloria Flemming (Glory), a musical prodigy who falls in love with Frank and suddenly goes missing right as her world begins to turn upside down.
The photography in this novel is so fantastic. It truly captures the haunting/nostalgic essence of tone and mood that Anthony and Rodrigo seek to portray. One thing differs in this iPad version: Interaction. This version places you smack dab in the middle of the story, allowing you to pilfer through old family books, tap for hidden surprises, watch instant message conversations as they happen, and hear every single song passed between the two characters. I loved being able to actually listen to the songs from mix tapes that Glory and Frank give each other.
As far as the story goes, on first read, I could feel the haunting nature of the situation. I could understand how helpless Glory's father felt as he pushed her from one performance to the next, and Glory's own descent as she's forced to leave the one she loves, to endure such performances. However, I'm not sure by the end, I felt as connected to each character as I would've liked. Perhaps I should re-experience it. But I expected to never want to end this love story, and I expected the ending to be truly obscure and genius, and awesome. By the end, it seemed a bit obvious to me what happened, and maybe that's because I have a positive outlook on things like this, but I'm not quite sure I grasped the disastrous ending.
All of that said, if you've read Chopsticks, I would love for you to comment your reviews! Regardless of my misgivings about the story, I feel it is totally worth reading, if only for the experience of something fresh, and new. It's definitely one of those books that should be owned in its original print version to keep and treasure!
I give Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral 4 out of 5 cups of Earl Gray.