Friday, May 7, 2010

Stringz Micheal Wenberg

Stringz by Michael Wenberg
Jace Adams and his mom are never in one place too long. The only constant in Jace's life since he was six is playing the cello. Jace will be starting his freshman year at a new school in a new state.

"In fact, it's been so crazy the past couple of years I've barely had enough time to figure out the location of the safe bathrooms at a school before mom hauls me off somewhere new - again. But she always has a very good reason : better job, shorter commute, more money, nicer apartment, She even promised that this was going to be our last move - because she finally had a really good job" (from the arc)

Sometimes its the little things that stand out for me in a passage. Jace's wanting to find the safe bathrooms is one of those. In Seattle, Jace and his mom will be living will Aunt Bernice. Though they are living with a relative money is still tight. Jace decides to play his cello outside for money, like he did in San Diego.

Jace is mixed raced, his father is White, his mom Black. Thoughout the novel he identifies as Black. Jace has never meet his father and that's how people see him. He joins the school orchestra. The music teacher, Mr Whitehead doubts Jace can play the cello. Jace quickly proves him wrong.

I suppose it seems a little obvious for Wenbreg to put in a scene where the White music teacher doesn't believe Jace is a skilled cellist. But sadly people are placed in boxes of what we can and can't do, like and don't like. The author didn't overplay the interaction between Mr. Whitehead and Jace. It was simply a reflection of what a person faces when they do something outside of the supposed norm for their race or gender.

When Jace finally lets Elvis and Marcy, they become good friends. They are in the orchestra as well. The two convince Jace to enter the Volt competition. Its a national string competition for Black and Latino, high school students. Jace and Marcy get even closer when they take private cello lessons together.

I really liked Stringz and Jace. Though I wished the author would've slowed down a bit. The story seemed to move quickly towards the strings competition. Wenberg doesn't skip anything but there could've been more. I loved that Jace refused to be boxed in, besides playing the cello, he also surfed. It was pretty cool picturing Jace playing Jay Z on his cello. I appreciated that Jace's musical taste were very broad. The author did a good job connecting everyone close to Jace from his Aunt to his music teacher.

"When I woke the next morning, there were new clothes hanging on my door. Black suit, white shirt, black tie. New black shoes and black socks. I even had new boxer shorts. Damn. "Thanks for the, well everything," I said to Bernice. "No problem," Bernice said. "I didn't think you and your lunatic teacher would have thought about it. I called up your girlfriend and Elvis. We made a day of it. Decided to go for the Obama look." (from arc)


rhapsodyinbooks said...

This sounds really good. I wouldn't mind that he moved so fast to the competition because I could see myself racing through the book anyway to get there! :--)

Doret said...

Jill - This is a great book to read in one sitting.

Vasilly said...

This sounds like a book I need to read. Adding it to my TBR list!

MissA said...

I agree, it should have been longer. The book moved too fast for me and was wrapped up all neatly.

And I think the girl's name was Marcy, not Gretchen?

I understood and applauded the scene between the conductor and Jace, but the last quote, why couldn't it have been the Denzel look? or the crisp and clean look? I jsut felt that the Obama reference really wasn't necessary. I don't know.

I still really enjoyed the book.

Anonymous said...

i'm interested in reading Stringz. thanks doret!

Doret said...

President Obama has been acknowledge for having a lot of style.

So, I liked the current reference. Plus it was a one time mention.

The author throw out a bunch of Obama references just because he could, that would be serious overkill.

Ari - thanks for the name correction. Will fix.