Release: February 2, 2012
Told entirely in photographs, notes, and instant messages, Chopsticks is a quick book that can easily be read in one sitting. However, I found myself taking longer than I expected, lingering on each page, not wanting to miss any details or clues because the images were just so captivating. It takes a true artist to not only create such perfect angles and arrangements and lighting patterns, but to make the pictures so thought-provoking. I applaud both the author-for being able to relate such a brilliant story using so few words- and the illustrator-for putting the words in the readers mind with his resplendent talent.After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song "Chopsticks."But nothing is what it seems, and Glory's reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it's up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along....
The best part about the unique approach to the storytelling is how much it leaves up to the reader's imagination while still being able to tell a tale. Anthony and Corral hardly hand anything away, creating instead a slideshow of pictures from which you have to search to find meaning.
The characters especially are affected by this. Usually, when reading a book, I get to know the main character as she or someone else narrates the story. Glory and Frank, though, seem like a casual acquaintances from school; I know what they are, but not who they are. I watched the two of them grow closer, get to know each other better, but I only was able to get to know my ideas of them, and every person's ideas will be different. It is up to each individual to fill in the cracks, ask his or herself, "Who are Gloria and Frank, truly?" and, "Are they really unraveling… or just finding who they really are?"
Even the ending is left open-ended. Again, I have my ideas regarding where Gloria went, but someone else's may be slightly different. I am still trying to sort out exactly what happened, both after and before Gloria disappeared.
I am sure it is apparent by now that I found this method of narration to be incredible. This book begs to be read over and over again, as it can take on a whole new meaning each time. It pleads to be discussed, because one other person's opinion can change your entire take on the book. I can only imagine the amazing talent is must take to pull this off and I definitely hope that this duo will pair up again to create another similarly formatted book. If you want to be kept guessing by a marvelous mystery and dazzled by gorgeous photography, Chopsticks is the perfect book.