Love You to Bits and Pieces: Life with David Helfgott

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9780140266443: Love You to Bits and Pieces: Life with David Helfgott

Here is the real story of Australian pianist David Helfgott, by the person who knows him best. The highly acclaimed movie Shine tells David's extraordinary story from child musical prodigy, through tormenting mental breakdown, to triumphant recovery. This book, written by David's wife, Gillian, is the equally extraordinary story of their lives since the couple's fateful meeting in 1983, and David's own account and analysis of his life prior to that meeting. The book charts David's struggles to escape the legacy of his troubled childhood and how, with the help of his wife and friends, he forms a new sense of self without losing his magical quirkiness and childlike sense of wonder. When David achieves his dream of once again performing Rakhmaninov's Third Concerto in 1995, it is a moment of overwhelming personal affirmation, and the culmination of Gillian's unswerving belief in his brilliance.

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Review:

Australian pianist David Helfgott is fascinating as both artist and psychological subject; here's his story on both counts as told by his wife, Gillian. Now well known from his movie biography, the critically acclaimed Shine, the book gives a fuller account of his life and struggles to return to playing the piano and living a halfway normal life.

From School Library Journal:

YA. This poignant story of a great musical talent blurred by mental illness is brilliantly portrayed in the movie Shine. With frank detail, humor, and great understanding, Helfgott offers details that bring deeper insight into the life of her husband, Australian pianist David Helfgott. David's father, an impoverished Jewish immigrant and a frustrated musician, pinned all his hopes on his musically gifted oldest son, who showed "nervous" tendencies at an early age. By 14, David was winning Australian piano competitions, but ultimately he had to break with his father in order to study in London. Three years of study at the Royal College of Music culminated in his triumphant performance of the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto. But the strain was too great and David had a complete mental breakdown. Returning to Australia, he was institutionalized much of the next 12 years; when he met Gillian, he was beginning to play again, in a piano bar. The story of their life together, and David's dramatic improvement and return to performing, are the heart of this book. YAs will find this sympathetic portrait fascinating; those who are familiar with the movie will find this closer look at David Helfgott's life equally rewarding.?Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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