Emily’s Piano by Charlotte Gingras

gingasEmily’s Piano (2005)
By Charlotte Gingras
Translated from the French by Susan Ouriou
Illustrations by Stephane Jorisch
60 pages

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!


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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9 Responses to Emily’s Piano by Charlotte Gingras

  1. Amanda says:

    This sounds so sad! I feel sorry for Emily just reading the description…

  2. vivienne says:

    Poor kid. I want to take her home and mother her. I wonder if this might be too sad for me to read. I hate to see children neglected.

  3. sounds like an interesting book, though a bit outside my normal reading.

  4. Vasilly says:

    Amanda and Vivienne: It has a happy ending but it’s sad the way that her family ignores her until then. She’s a strong girl.

    Serena: It’s a really interesting book. It’s funny how I have no idea how I ended up checking this out.

  5. Care says:

    What a tempting teasing review! I think I’ll go add this to my tbr…

  6. bermudaonion says:

    Sounds like an emotional book.

  7. iliana says:

    I just read Pieces of Me by Gingras a month ago and really loved how she could make you feel the loneliness her character was feeling. In that book the main character is 16. I’m definitely curious about this one and will have to add it to my list.

  8. John Mutford says:

    The “there’s no hope…” quote sounds familiar, but I know I’ve never read this.

    There are some great, though obviously gut-wrenching, dysfunctional family books out there. Someone could host a challenge just based on those.

  9. Vasilly says:

    Care: I hope you read it. Though it’s a sad subject, the book turned out great.

    Bermudaonion: It was a little sad but things picked up.

    Iliana: Maybe you’re the one that put Gingras on my TBR list! Pieces of Me is also on my list to read. Thanks! =)

    John: If someone hosted a challenge, I think the participants would all end up depressed.

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