Monday, May 30, 2005

Changing Tunes, by Donna Jo Napoli

I had picked up this book because I had had another book by Napoli (Sirena) recommended to me and the synopsis of this one actually looked more interesting.

Changing Tunes is about a ten year old girl named Eileen who has to deal with her parent's divorce. An only child, Eileen doesn't have a lot of sources of comfort: she can't bring herself to tell her best friend Stephanie that it's even happened, every time she brings up the subject with her parents, they tell her to "accept it," and her piano has been taken away by her father. Throughout the story, piano playing is a constant theme that Napoli comes back to to explain Eileen's feelings and discoveries.

The story is a bit jumpy and the narrative tends to drift -- partially a result of having too much going on (a subplot about babysitting really doesn't add much to the story) and partly because this is a middle-school book, designed with shorter chapters and for shorter attention spans. Napoli has some of the lyrical poetic quality of Seven Kisses in a Row, but there's a lot going on here and it is a bit distracting.

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