We do have smart strategies to fill the huge cracks in the current health and housing systems if we make the right investments. To top it off, the book is also a major motion picture starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. It's no Disney movie, though, and I give Lopez credit for acknowledging the three-dimensional aspects of this story. As a newspaper columnist, Downey is plausible as his overworked, disillusioned character, finding redemption through a story. Best of all, it has a very strong Christian worldview that could reach many people.
We hear about his company's troubles as a way of reminding us that Lopez is still protecting his job and looking for a story, and Nathaniel is the best story he'll ever find. In addition to these, the rhetoric and style of an author play into every aspect of a story with exciting, attention-grabbing language, and storytelling often contributes to all three factors above. Throughout this book, I was fully engaged and educated about this mental illness. In 2005, the only thing hurting Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez more than his face from a recent bike accident was his pressing need for story ideas. Lopez is generous, and accurate, in ensuring that the reader knows that no single individual, or even institution, is enough to get through to a man like Nathaniel after thirty years on the sidewalks, in subway tunnels, and in parks.
I've decided that we all crave a sense of dignity in our lives, but most of us find it an elusive goal. It is a true story based on investigative journalism, which eventually tells more about the author than the subject. There's some filler to bring the story to book length, but not much. I finally picked it up, and, at first, was excited. His reactions and descriptions were of interest to me. He must have had a lot of courage too not only write this book but to deal with Nathaniel as well.
Hears him play great music? Renne was an interesting narrator; he is removed from society and despite being mid-30s has the voice of a 60-something. It turns out, though, that the book is compelling reading even for religious Los Angeles Times followers -- and easily recommended to anyone who doesn't read Lopez's column. To view it, I loved everything about this book. I went through similar emotions as Lopez, hoping that Nathaniel would get better with time, frustrated with his bad days, and happy on his moments of breakthroughs. Sadly, he loses his temper, attacks Graham, and leaves.
Doppelt had made a point of informing us that sometimes it serves justice better to let the evidence argue on behalf of the accused rather than the other way. Suddenly Renne's life changes dramatically when he becomes involved in a murder trial for the brutal killing of a Buddhist monk, and takes on a new pupil--an unprepossessing 9-year-old Korean boy whose talent, potential, and brilliant musicianship remind Renne of his own past. One side note: Since I have a close relative who was diagnosed schizophrenic now they prefer to call it bipolar with a schizoid affect - whatever! The plot is enticing: Reinhardt, a child prodigy cellist, loses his gift and spends years trying to get it back so he can live the life of a concert musician. However, Reinhart is a well-developed character, and Salzman tells the majority of the story in such a way that the reader is likely to be charmed. I had two key take-aways from reading this book: I have a new appreciation for and interest in classical music, and relationships change our brain chemistry. Nathaniel, the street musician, naturally is the key figure in the text but only slightly more so than the narrator, Steve Lopez, who at fifty-something is wondering how much he has left in his tank for writing newspaper columns that ding incompetent government agencies and general American complacency with the status quo. The plot, however, is often very disjointed.
Getting nowhere, Lopez finds and contacts Ayers' sister Lisa Gay Hamilton , who gives the columnist the information he needs: Ayers was once a child prodigy with the cello, until he began displaying symptoms of schizophrenia at Juilliard. I sympathized with Lopez's desire for an easy fix and admired his dedication when he realized the quick fix wouldn't work. I know I did a time or two. Downey is powerful, and embodies such humanity and compassion. A biking accident lands Lopez in a hospital. He also begins his dedication before understanding the illness that has perpetuated Nathaniel's homelessness.
I just finished this book and am having a hard time coming up with words to describe how I feel about it. The book is a slow read and drags in certain parts. He is so believable and compelling as the good and decent man doing his best, and at a loss as to what to do. Their bond takes tortuous turns as Lopez imagines he can change Ayers's life--finding him lodging, reconnecting him with his family, taking him to Disney Concert Hall to meet a former Julliard classmate. I wanted more music and less courtroom jury, but that part is what, in the end, helped him to see himself and his music better.
Apparently he ran a series of columns in the Times about Nathaniel, and this book is an expansion of them, as well as the story about his telling Nathaniel's story. Effective, cost-efficient models that move vulnerable people like Ayers off the streets and into affordable, permanent housing where they can receive the support they need to heal and build better lives. He is divorced and now works for his ex-wife, Mary Catherine Keener , an editor. You never know who you're going to find where. However, Lopez's good intentions run headlong in the hard realities of the strength of Ayers' personal demons and the larger social injustices facing the homeless.
Steve Lopez's relationship with Nathaniel Ayer was complex and not easy, but it was a special and rich relationship for both of them. Without a cello, he has resorted to playing a two-string violin. However, it has great heart. Lopez begins talking to the man, who obviously has a mental illness, and learns that he previously attended Juliard on a scholarship for the bass. I finished the book today having started it just two days ago. Anecdotally, it was an interesting story but I couldn't help wondering how each of the protagonists viewed the situation.