A Memoir of Madness, Medication, and Music

Book - 2017 | First U.S. edition.
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"A mesmeric combination of vivid, keen, obsessive precision and raw, urgent energy." --Zoe Williams, Guardian

"Thrilling and harrowing . . . Unsurpassed and unsurpassable." -- Sunday Times

James Rhodes's passion for music has been his lifeline--the thread that has held through a life encompassing abuse and turmoil. But whether listening to Rachmaninov on a loop as a traumatized teenager or discovering a Bach adagio while in a hospital ward, he survived his demons by encounters with musical miracles. These--along with a chance encounter with a stranger--inspired him to become the renowned concert pianist he is today.

Instrumental is a memoir like no other: unapologetically candid, boldly outspoken, and surprisingly funny--shot through with a mordant wit, even in its darkest moments. A feature film adaptation of Rhodes's incredible story is now in development from Monumental Pictures and BBC Films, following a competitive bidding war involving major U.S. and U.K. companies.

An impassioned tribute to the therapeutic powers of music, Instrumental also weaves in fascinating facts about how classical music actually works and about the extraordinary lives of some of the great composers. It explains why and how music has the potential to transform all of our lives.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2017.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781632866967
Branch Call Number: 786.2092 Rhode
Characteristics: xx, 281 pages ; 22 cm


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Apr 11, 2018

I don't read many memoirs but after hearing James Rhodes on a podcast I was intrigued. I read the introduction and was hooked by it's brash honesty. There are many ways that someone could, well, not enjoy, but benefit from reading this book. First of all, his enthusiasm for classical music is infectious and rekindled my love for it. I no longer feel like I don't know enough about composing or playing music to enjoy it. Second, his brutal honesty about himself and thought process really makes you analyze your own mental processes and have more empathy towards those with mental illness. Finally, the inspirational side of his memoir about overcoming both self-inflicted and external abuse and doing whatever one loves no matter what creates a narrative to inspire everyone.

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