Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review #5 "The Soloist" By Steve Lopez

The tagline reads "A lost dream, an unlikely friendship, and the redemptive power of music." Which does pretty much sum up the book itself.

I listened to this unabridged (is there really any other way to have an audiobook - abridged books suck) audiobook a few weeks ago. I was originally interested in this book because there is a movie based on the book. I like to read the book first and then see the movie so that I can compare from the book to the movie version - the book is usually far superior to the movie.

Steve Lopez, the author, is a journalist and columnist working for the LA Times. He happens across Mr. Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a homeless man, playing music on delapidated instruments in a local park in Los Angeles. Mr. Lopez becomes entralled with this musical prodigy and writes a column about Mr. Ayers. The public overwhelmingly responds to Mr. Lopez - wanting to know more about Mr. Ayers.

The subsequent columns serve to bond Mr. Ayers and Mr. Lopez. Mr. Lopez has difficulty in convincing Mr. Ayers to seek assistance from a homeless shelter and in convincing him to even attempt to sleep indoors. Mr. Ayer's mental disability becomes apparent in contributing to his lifestyle (or lack thereof).

The book follows Mr. Lopez's journey to get to know Mr. Ayers and encouraging him to take advantage of public assistance programs specially designed for mentally ill individuals in the Los Angles area. One program mentioned often in the book was LAMP - but I never exactly figure out what those letters meant - maybe Los Angles Men's Program?

I think that the story abruptly ended without the "loose ends" being tied up, as they are in most books. Can we say sequel?

I am ready to rent the movie from Netflix.