Sunday, August 17, 2014

REVIEW: The Blue Guitar

The Blue Guitar is a contempory love story based on the Orpheus-Eurydice legend and tells how Orrin,   a shy janitor in an office building has a crush on Emily, a personal assistant in a law firm. He knows if she could hear his music, she would fall in love with him. Orrin discovered the blue guitar in a music store when he was twelve and was mysteriously drawn to it and was taught to play classical guitar by the man who made it and knew Orrin was meant to have it. One night, Emily comes to the cafe where Orrin plays background music and she is captivated by the beauty of his playing. He now has the love of his life, but his happiness is suddenly taken when Emily is hit by a drunk driver. While she is in a coma, he plays his guitar, hoping to bring her out with his music, but is forced to stop because of the disturbance he is creating. When he returns, she is gone from his life. Though broken hearted,the poignant story ends with Orrin playing his beautiful music that inspires others to fall in love and brings the possibility of a new love to his life.

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RATING:      5  Stars
‘The Blue Guitar’ is a warm and charming contemporary love story, built in a very original fashion on the foundation of the Orpheus/Eurydice myth.  You don’t have to be overly familiar with that legend to enjoy this story, but knowing the myth does give you an wonderful subplot to wonder about throughout the romance.

The story begins by introducing you to Orrin, a janitor working in a building that houses a law firm.  He is falling very much in love with Emily, a personal assistant in that firm, and is trying to persuade himself to approach her, despite the differences between their backgrounds, education, and probably lifestyle.  He has one special gift that he knows Emily would love him for: he is a talented guitarist – but how can he let her get her to listen to it?

From this sympathetic opening, which can really grab your heart, the story then moves backwards, explaining Orrin’s often painful childhood, and then introduces both Orrin and reader to a very special guitar, an instrument the twelve-year-old boy sees in the window of a music store.  It draws him into the store, where he meets the man who made, and who agrees to teach him how to play classical guitar.  He gets more than an excellent musical education in this store, he gains a solid father figure, who gives him the strength and confidence he might never have developed otherwise.  Then, when Orrin has to leave town, and this store that is so important to his life, ‘Paul’, his Greek-born teacher whose real name is Apollo, gives him the blue guitar, saying it obviously belongs with him.

The story moves forward again, back to present time, when on one special night, Emily comes to the café where Orrin regularly performs, and his talent pulls them together.  Just as his dream is becoming real, Emily is struck by a drunken driver, and is hospitalized, in a coma.  Orrin tries to use his music to bring her back, but it creates difficulties in the hospital, he has to leave, and very soon, she dies.  At first, broken-hearted, he is falling completely apart, believing he has lost everything. Then, somehow, he understands that his music isn’t lost, that it will always be with him.  He once again starts to compose and to perform.  Is it possible that this will bring love back into his world?

I truly enjoyed ‘The Blue Guitar’, and I believe that anyone who loves to read real romance, where the characters are nicely drawn and where plot and emotion are far more important than sex alone, will also be grabbed by it.  Yes, there is pain, sorrow, loss – but there is also love, and hope.  The background drawn in the music store, with Orrin and his teacher, functions beautifully, painting the development of both his talent and his personality, and you can enjoy it in this way alone.  However, there is the feel of another subplot underneath that, and it adds very much to the overall story.

I had no trouble at all deciding to rate this book worthy of 5 stars, and I am very grateful for the free reviewer’s copy I was sent.

Reviewed by: Roberta 


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