The Soloist by Steve Lopez
On the inner city streets of Los Angeles, you wouldn’t expect to find much inside of the homeless community besides dirty, begging people asking for change and any help they can get. But this wasn’t the case for one encounter that author Steven Lopez had. Steven has stumbled upon a man named Nathaniel Ayers. He for sure was homeless, but he offered a gift that many people anywhere in the world didn’t have. This homeless African American man was a violin prodigy, playing on the streets looking for any tips he could have received. But no one seemed to stop and see just how much raw talent Nathaniel had. This is where Steve Lopez came into play. Steve talked to Ayers and he told him that he had gone to school to study classical music. But his classes were cut very short because of a mental disorder that Nathaniel deals with called schizophrenia. This illness quickly landed him on the streets with his music talent, but no money. Lopez is extremely moved by the man and wants to work with him to get his life back together, and get him to be the vibrant violinist he once was. However, Lopez has to find a way to deal with the problems faced by Nathaniel’s schizophrenia, and make sure that he is once again ready to face the world with his beautiful talent.
As we see further into the story, Nathaniel seems to be much more calm from his illness when he plays his music. As if he goes into another world and forgets everything else around him. Do you think his music is a solution to his schizophrenia? Nathaniel chooses not to have any actual medication for the treatment. And it seems as if music is the cure. Another thing I noticed is that when Steve and Nathaniel first meet, Steve is nothing more than interested in Nathaniel’s case and what his past was. Has Steve become a bigger part of Nathaniel’s life as the story progresses? The book offers many questions to be answered...