Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul

4.5 2
by Liz Rosenberg
     
 

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Moving through her days like a vapor, seventeen-year-old Willie Steinberg sees the world in shades of blue. Her father is away from home more than ever, and her mother drinks a lot. Even Willie's beloved music--Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin--holds no joy. Nothing seems to penetrate the dull feeling of malaise. Willie can't manage to shake off. Nothing, that is except… See more details below

Overview


Moving through her days like a vapor, seventeen-year-old Willie Steinberg sees the world in shades of blue. Her father is away from home more than ever, and her mother drinks a lot. Even Willie's beloved music--Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin--holds no joy. Nothing seems to penetrate the dull feeling of malaise. Willie can't manage to shake off. Nothing, that is except Malachi Gelb. He has no manners, and homely is too mild a word to describe him. Malachi is everthing Willie despises--but he may be the only true friend she has.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"As a study in depression, the book is sensitive and incisive, enhanced by a poetic writing style and skill in characterizing two teenagers at the very precipice of madness"--Kirkus Reviews
The ALAN Review - Gretchen Schwarz
Depressed over her passive mother and continually absent father, and creatively blocked in her music, seventeen-year-old Willie finally takes charge of her own future and feelings. This book requires reflection. The characters are vivid but complex, especially the awkward, ironic Willie, the narrator, and her outrageous friend Malachi Gelb. Descriptions are thought-provoking: "All that spring our house felt like a doctor's waiting room...." The plot is never predictable; whether or not Willie's salesman father will come home is unclear until the end. Central to the story is a satirical portrayal of anti-semitism in Richmond, Virginia, where Willie lives. The coming-out party at which Willie and Malachi are misfits is funny as well as poignant. This book is for older students ready to struggle a bit. The issues of depression, dealing with parents, and facing prejudice are engaging but not simply resolved. This book stays with you like a lingering melody.
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Willie Steinberg has come home to Richmond, leaving her expensive Philadelphia music school, to sort through her life, cope with her own depression, and come to terms with various relationships. While descriptions of the setting are well done, the character development is wanting, and events are loosely strung together. It is not a compelling story.
Kirkus Reviews
The world of Willie Steinberg, 17, is colorless, peopled with wraiths like her mother, who spends her days in a vodka-and-tonic haze while waiting for Willie's father to return from the business trip that has so far lasted two years. Willie has lost her scholarship at a music school and no longer finds any joy in the music itself; even her beloved Beethoven and Mozart have failed her. The only person who refuses to accept her anomie is her former classmate Malachi Gelb, who offers readers a whole new meaning of the word eccentric. Another classmate from music school, also living in Richmond, invites both Willie and Malachi to her coming-out party, which proves to be a disaster for both of them. Their shared trauma, however, and the sad truths it evokes lead to an epiphany for them and give Willie a point of reentry into the business of living.

From the author of several picture books, Rosenberg's first novel is not intended to keep readers on the edge of their seats, but its measured, dreamlike pace bears comparison to the malaise that is destroying Willie. As a study in depression, the book is sensitive and incisive, enhanced by a poetic writing style and skill in characterizing two teenagers at the very precipice of madness.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152012700
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/01/1996
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
4.15(w) x 6.81(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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