The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker

April 29, 2008
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The Song Reader, by Lisa Tucker. What do you think about when you hear that title? Think palm reader? Think the crazy old lady in a tent that smells like incense with a wart in the middle of her forehead? Well, you're half right. "The Song Reader" is about a young women who can unravel what songs mean to people. Because why would a song get stuck in your head if it didn't mean something to you? So anyway, before you get your hopes up about how cool reading about a song psychic and pondering as to what plot could follow such a unique idea, there's depression. Even if you didn't read the back of the book, there's a hint of remorse, like a single cord to a song, low, soft and mournful, that threads it's way through the first chapter, and you instantly know that whatever it was you thought this book was about, you were wrong.


Mary Beth is the Song Reader, and also the care taker of her sister,Leeann, and a child named Tommy, who was given to Mary Beth as payment for a 'reading.' The story is told through the point of view of her sister Leeann, so we know right off we get to see her sister though the glasses thick with hero worship or teen angst. More teen angst in this one than anything. This book is utterly quote-able, and is a complete tear jerkier. So grab a box of tissues and prepare to think about the songs stuck in your head in a different light. So, the question is, Helping people is good right? even if it's killing you?


Mary Beth is so obsessed with helping other people, it's costing her her health. And when something go's wrong; something happened that Mary Beth didn't see and couldn't fix, she spirals down, out of control. Mary Beth is a dominating character who, when not in control of a situation, becomes obsessive compulsive and compliant.


This book is rooted deep in the past, as well. A strong theme seems to be that the only way to escape your past is to confront it, or it will devour you whole. But through out the whole novel, even while the depression clings to you, every page brings thoughts of new hope. "The fundamental message is one of hope and redemption" as Susan Scribner a writer for The Romance Reader says.


All in all, The Song Reader is a great debut novel Lisa Tucker, even the abrupt ending doesn't discredit the book, although it does leave a trail for thoughts as to what you think might happen.





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