Emily’s Piano (2005)
By Charlotte Gingras
Translated from the French by Susan Ouriou
Illustrations by Stephane Jorisch
Middle school fiction
Grown-ups think I don’t understand anything. They’re wrong. I watch soap operas just like everyone else. What’s more, I have hypersensitive ears and piercing eyes. Even my sense of smell is much better than most people’s. I’d make a great bloodhound.
Emily’s family life is not the best. Her father rarely comes home at night and her mother spends her days crying. One day the family has to move from their grand house to a much smaller apartment. Most of their things are sold including the family’s old black piano.
Emily thinks that if she can just get her mother’s piano back, it would make her mother feel so much better. She goes on walks all around the city, looking for the piano. Will she find it and bring her mother happiness?
I enjoyed reading this book. The author never tells you Emily’s age but I imagine her to be a tween, ten or eleven years old. Everyone from her parents to her much older sisters are too busy with their own lives to pay her any attention.
As an adult and a parent it was sad to see that no one in that family was focused on Emily. Though Emily herself is a little sad about her parents’ divorce, she’s still going on with her life, taking care of herself while understanding her mother’s grief.
Here’s two more great quotes from the book,
There’s no hope of a truce in this family now. We criticize each other, we tell each other’s secrets. Sometimes we scream insults.
Emily’s conversation with her father,
He says children can’t know how complicated and strange grown-ups’ lives are, even to them. How sometimes life is like a canoe trip down a dangerous river when the canoe tips down and sinks. How sometimes a person has to run away, or how . . .
What about me? Do grown-ups know what they’re doing to me?
Though this is a short book, readers travel with Emily on a journey through sadness and emotional maturing that has a beautiful ending.
Congratulations to Sarah for winning the Karma Wilson giveaway!