Customer Reviews for

The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music

Average Rating 4
( 87 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(41)

4 Star

(30)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 2
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2008

    Bravo Mr. Lopez!!!

    BRAVO!! Beautifully orchestrated....thank you for sharing your compassion and perserverance in bringing 'The Solist' to light. I 'felt' so much as I turned each page. Thank you for reminding us all of the pain and anguish of mental illness and social neglect.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Recommend it!-Try it

    The Soloist by Steve Lopez was a smooth and graceful read. In this story, a successful column writer for the LA Times tries to help a schizophrenic, ex- Julliard violinist get off of the streets and back into recital halls. The still talented violinist, Nathaniel, learns to overpower his illness through friendship and classical music.
    Steve Lopez did a wonderful job with explaining the bond between him and Nathaniel, but I felt as though Steve Lopez would get off topic and rabble about his own life. He specified his career too much and I didn’t see a lot of point to this information. For example in chapter 6, he forces the subject of the changing newspaper industry. He talks amount his colleges, bosses, and profit, which truthfully put me to sleep. He did not summarize that part of his life as well.
    Other than a couple of off topic chapters, Steve Lopez portrayed his relationship with Nathaniel extremely well. He writes about the ups and downs he had while boosting Nathaniel’s confidence. Steve also reunited the mother son relationship between Nathaniel and his mother. That part was my favorite.
    Overall, Steve Lopez writes a heart- warming story about the importance of friendship. This is a wonderful family read. Hope you enjoy it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 7, 2012

    Powerful and Poignant!

    Rarely does a book possess the power to change one’s view of the world. The Soloist, by Steve Lopez, opened my eyes to the social tragedy of homelessness, and after reading it, I will never look at a person sleeping on the sidewalk the same way again. In simple and direct journalistic diction, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez provides frightening insight into homelessness and mental illness. As a columnist, Lopez constantly searches for his next story. He encounters “vagrant violinist,” Nathaniel Ayers on Skid Row playing Beethoven on a beat up, two-stringed violin and discovers that the promising classical musician studied at New York’s prestigious Julliard School until paranoid schizophrenia assaulted his mind. What started as an attempt to get a few columns worth of material turns into a friendship, as Lopez makes it his personal mission to get Ayers off the street. His poignant columns about Ayers in the Times result in donations of musical instruments and financial aid, but Lopez learns that despite help from others, the mentally ill must first learn to trust. After slowly building a friendship, Lopez establishes communication with Ayers’ estranged sister and seeks professional help for the mentally ill musician in an effort to get him off the dangerous streets of Los Angeles. Every step Ayers takes toward shelter, care, and safety leads to two steps back to Skid Row. In the process, Ayers teaches Lopez not only about music, but also about himself. The Soloist poignantly articulates the themes of lost dreams, friendship, and one man’s power to make a difference.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2011

    Phenomenal Book For Musicians and All Alike

    Nowadays homeless people are ubiquitous within society, there reasons for becoming homeless unknown. Nathaniel Ayers was once at the height of musical genius, when a corruptive disease took over him. Steve Lopez comes upon this violin virtuoso on Los Angeles skid row, by accident and sees his newest story. But this is not the only thing that will come of these two; an unlikely friendship will begin to bloom. And the two will make each other¿s lives turn for the better.

    This book has one major theme that friendship is the only gift that can feed the soul. This story makes all question what they stand for and what they really want from life. The greatest friendship is one in which a great beginning and ending is inevitable.

    For any musician anywhere this is a book of pure genius. Ayers became what every musician desires, to make something of his music. This book is a personal favorite for me, due to the ties and understandings of the concepts that the book addresses. This book stands among itself due to the exceptional writing in which the author uses, due to his experience in writing to entertain a reader.

    The reporter does tend to have an overly biased opinion. Being Ayers biggest supporter, and never looking at the glass half empty. This situation is a bit heavy and the writer needed to address the situation more head on and less diverted. Homelessness is a major problem of society nowadays.

    I would recommend this book for all musicians, more specifically orchestral instrument players. However I believe if you don¿t play instruments this book would be a bit confusing but still a good book. You should read this book if you enjoy books in which pursue the ideas that anyone can redeem themselves. No matter the lengths or boundaries that stand in the way.

    Although I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading this non- fiction book. I would recommend fiction any day of the week. So make sure you have lots of interest in non - fiction books before picking this book up.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2009

    Good read.

    I enjoyed this book and would suggest it to others.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    What a talent, both author and subject.

    This book used all my emotions. What more can I say?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Soul of Imagination

    The Soloist is an excellent novel for those who suffer from mental illness. It is enlightening, poignant, heartfelt, and inspiring too. Nathaniel Ayers is a troubled artist who is dicovered by a blue-collar journalist on the streets of Los Angeles. The two form an intense friendship which leads Steve Lopez into the heart of madness. The story is told in various colours. You become empathic towards the former Julliard student from the eyes of the narrator. This movie demonstrates a need for all of us to understand the tortured mind of a paranoid schizophrenic. We all can contribute towards comprehending how this disease overrides our perception of reality. Nathaniel Ayers finds out that recovery is not a simple road to follow. His new friend Steve Lopez believes he can be rehabilitated through psychotherapy & medication. If only schizophrenia was such a uncomplicated disease. I speak from experience. I was highly affected by the experiences of Nathaniel Ayers on Skid Row. Steve Lopez becomes a true, loyal friend despite the anger and hatred Nathaniel spews out his troubled mind. We all should try to educate ourselves concerning these human characters. Our humanity depends on how we all should relate to each other no matter if we are black, white, prejudiced, apathetic, or just sympathetic. Music is univeral. The sounds of Nathaniel's cello that reverberate is quite stirring and beautiful. He is a natural expressionist. The music flows from his mind, through the body, into his fingers. It is important that this novel be recognised for its mercy as well as its humility. Anyhow, the Soloist takes us down a rather unappealing, dark journal of a man plagued his demons. There is darkness that surrounds the novel. There is beauty and grace which appear randomly throughout this book. The quality of Nathaniel life is diminished but with Steve Lopez's encouragement, there is always hope in the most bleakest moments. I want everyone to read this book. Be open to the power and mystery of how mental illness affects us. As Neruda once exclaimed, "the journey is concerned with the walking but not the destination". Walk on brothers & sisters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An Honest Look at Those We Have Forgotten

    The Soloist follows Steve Lopez's journey as he tries to help a former Juilliard student, Nathaniel Ayers, who is now homeless and diagnosed with mental illness. What is so compelling is the honest, close-up view of those whom are mentally ill and the abandonment that has left them with nowhere else to go but the streets. Lopez hails the often unseen mental health workers and volunteers that have dedicated their lives to turning this tragedy into something made of hope. His struggles with the differing viewpoints on treatment and his own impatience bring to life the reality of trying to save the world or even just one person. As I was reading, I felt like I was taking this journey with Lopez. That I was learning just as he was learning. Lopez makes it clear that important life lessons can be learned in the most unsuspecting of places. It is an eye-opening and heartbreaking look at the unpredictability of life and how in an instant everything we know as real can be challenged or even worse - for some - taken away completely.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 1, 2009

    Touching Read

    This story was so very touching. Though I am a fan of most types of music, there were points where it flowed slowly or I was lost with the lingo of composers, numbers and scales. But overall it doesn't detract from the point. True friendship, love and a journey toward healing. I was moved by the struggle of both the main characters and inspired by their bravery. Stunningly descriptive, you really have the picture of poverty and illness put out there in stark truth. I rooted for them all the way. For Mr. Ayers to get better and for he and Mr. Lopez's friendship to endure. There were many special break throughs, heartbreaking setbacks, and best of all I think the magic of them helping each other find themselves. It also makes me feel uplifted to know how many good people are in this world as they rallied the journey of this pair.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Comforting and warm hearted

    The Author Steve Lopez digs deep into the life of Anthony Ayers, the cello, violin, piano genius and his mental illness. The majority of this book made me feel sad for Mr. Ayers, but it also opened my eyes to Americas homless population and mental illness. I loved how Mr. Lopez not only took Mr. Ayers as a topic for a stoy, but he took him into his life as a friend and supporter. I do wish however, that the end of the book had a bit of a epiloge regarding Mr. Ayers and how he is doing with his music and current health status.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    a wonderful tribute to humanity.

    It's a beutiful story about a columnest looking for a story, finding one and in the process helping a wonderfully talented homeless musician find his way to safety and a glorious connection with concert musicians that he long ago studied with in Juilliard. The book is well researched, classical musicians should appreciate it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2008

    Interesting

    I enjoyed this book. I think it illustrates that many people who live on the street do so because they are mentally ill, and because they want to be there. The author, who first just wanted to get a story, found himself emotionally invested in the life of Nathaniel. Many times I wondered how the author could keep going back to help someone who didn't want to be helped. I credit him for sticking it out and really trying to make a difference both in Nathaniel's life, and the lives of the poorest and most neglected.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 2