The Bottom Line
Notes From a Minor Key: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Healing is a masterpiece. I should warn, however, that it is not immediately accessible if you are not in the right frame of mind. You may not find it uplifting, and the conclusion may not be what you'd expect. It is more like a Picasso – complicated and sometimes hard to look at, but you know deep down that it is all there -- everything that life is. In this memoir, Dawn Bailiff pours it all out on paper: her complex dance with a promising career as a concert pianist, her soulmate who became her husband, personal tragedy and multiple sclerosis.
- Beautiful writing
- Very honest
- Some parts may be a little difficult to follow if you are not a classical music aficionado
- A heartfelt memoir which includes, but does not focus on, life with MS
- An examination of feelings and emotions around loss
- A testimony to the idea that "victory" doesn't mean everything is perfect, cured, or joyous
Guide Review - Book Review
Even though most of us are not brilliant concert pianists, we will all recognize parts of ourselves in Bailiff’s story -– pushing ourselves to do things that we used to do well, should be able to do, with the result being the harder we try, the worse things seem to get. In Notes from a Minor Key, Bailiff tries acceptance and denial. She employs Western medicine, as well as complementary and spiritual approaches. And, as for many of us, the “ah-ha” moment where everything gets better never comes. Some things work -- kind of. (Sound familiar?)
One way or another, we must mourn our losses, whether they be of the physical or cognitive kind or the loss of dreams and loved ones. Bailiff’s story teaches us that loss is real and unfair and that not everything gets healed and resolved, but in the end, life continues. We are reminded that sometimes life is a story of sorrow, punctuated by grace, and at other times it is a vista of beauty, peppered by flecks of grief and sadness. This is a beautiful book and anyone who reads it will be changed on some level.