Book Review: The Soloist by Steve Lopez

Los Angeles Times columnist, Steve Lopez demonstrates, “We are our brother’s keeper” in his novel, “The Soloist.” Lopez ventured out of his office into the community in search of his economic need to find a story.  Moving along the streets Lopez stopped to listen to Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, the violinist.

Although Lopez wasn’t a musician he knew the sound of music performed by a trained person; but what he didn’t know was why was this man who once attended the prestigious New York Julliard School and is now playing for free on Skid Row; LA’s largest homeless population. Lopez believed this would be a valuable story.

He engaged in communication with Nathaniel over a period of days, weeks, and months grinding out the details of his life. He discovered that Nathaniel was plagued with the diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and chose to live on Skid Row, yet this man still had the passion and love for classical music.

At a pivotical point in the unfolding of the story, Lopez decided Nathaniel had a need to have a “normal life” with safety as his primary need to fulfill.  Nathaniel refused, but Lopez being “his brother’s keeper” preserved.

After struggling with Nathaniel to see the benefits of having his own apartment, Lopez began to compare his life with Nathaniel. He focused on his own life acknowledging himself as fortunate; after all, he is healthy, he is educated, he is a professional journalist, he is a homeowner, and he is a husband and a father.  He wanted to use his fortune to help his unfortunate subject, Nathaniel who slept in the unsafe streets with the murders, muggers, drug addicts and the rodents. Yet, Nathaniel continued to refuse.

Respectfully Nathaniel tried to convince Lopez that he was safe and did not need his help to seek an apartment.  Indeed Lopez wanted Nathaniel to move into an apartment and have a more fruitful life. One moment while Lopez ponders Nathaniel repeatedly refusals, he admits to himself that his ego needs Nathaniel to change; he wanted to be identified as his savior.

Through the struggle, Lopez reflects on some of the earlier conversations him and Nathaniel had such as Nathaniel questioning and probing about loving and being committed to something. Nathaniel asked him who some of his favorite writers are, Steve reflects on his college days and admits his skating through classes, applying himself just enough to pass, he had to hesitate and ponder the question and then ask himself, “who is my favorite writer?

Steve had no immediate answers for Nathaniel’s questions.  However, it trigged something in him. Steve acknowledged his lack of relationships, friendships, loyalty, love and passions.

Steve had been functioning perfectly well without those inner displays, just as Nathaniel believed he was okay and functioning without those outer things, which made Steve feel more fortunate than Nathaniel.

Lopez life style agrees with societal view and he sees himself as fortunate and Nathaniel as unfortunate.  Our experiences dictate our lives, Paranoid schizophrenia views Nathaniel life style, and in that world he behaves as his experience dictates, consequently Nathaniel does not express a need to change.

Nathaniel’s behavior leads Lopez to study his diagnosis and its ramifications encourages him to ascertain both primary and secondary research on mental illness.

Lopez is the reason I enjoyed this book, because of his tenacity. Being our brother’s keeper can be a huge challenge as he displays throughout the book.  Not only is Nathaniel Lopez’s brother, but Lopez accepts his position as Nathaniel’s brother.

The two came together and received some unexpected needs for them: restoration for Nathaniel; and Steve begins to understand Nathaniel and gives way to trying to fix him; instead, he develops a loyal friendship. In addition, Lopez searches into other areas for other opportunities: learning to play a guitar, and learning a new language.

 

Lopez and Nathaniel are as different as night and day, yet they walked the streets in the Skid Row community to obtain their needs.  Diversification and community bought them together not only did their lives improve but they became an instrument used to improve each other as well as creating a vehicle to bring a greater need for society…the world.  Together Lopez and Ayers story fostered awareness, educates and funds for the homeless and the mental illness population—“We are our brothers Keeper”

 

Talk to me:   Are you keeping your brother?

 

 

Book Review:

The Soloist

 

Los Angeles Times columnist, Steve Lopez demonstrates, “We are our brother’s keeper” in his novel, “The Soloist”. Lopez ventured out of his office into the community in search of his economic need to find a story.  Moving along the streets Lopez stopped to listen to Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, the violinist.  Although Lopez wasn’t a musician he knew the sound of music performed by a trained person; but what he didn’t know was why was this man who once attended the prestigious New York Julliard School and is now playing for free on Skid Row; LA’s largest homeless population. Lopez believed this would be a valuable story.

He engaged in communication with Nathaniel over a period of days, weeks, and months grinding out the details of his life. He discovered that Nathaniel was plagued with the diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and chose to live on Skid Row, yet this man still had the passion and love for classical music.

At a pivotical point in the unfolding of the story, Lopez decided Nathaniel had a need to have a “normal life” with safety as his primary need to fulfill.  Nathaniel refused, but Lopez being “his brother’s keeper” preserved.

After struggling with Nathaniel to see the benefits of having his own apartment, Lopez began to compare his life with Nathaniel. He focused on his own life acknowledging himself as fortunate; after all, he is healthy, he is educated, he is a professional journalist, he is a homeowner, and he is a husband and a father.  He wanted to use his fortune to help his unfortunate subject, Nathaniel who slept in the unsafe streets with the murders, muggers, drug addicts and the rodents. Yet, Nathaniel continued to refuse.

Respectfully Nathaniel tried to convince Lopez that he was safe and did not need his help to seek an apartment.  Indeed Lopez wanted Nathaniel to move into an apartment and have a more fruitful life. One moment while Lopez ponders Nathaniel repeatedly refusals, he admits to himself that his ego needs Nathaniel to change; he wanted to be identified as his savior.

Through the struggle, Lopez reflects on some of the earlier conversations him and Nathaniel had such as Nathaniel questioning and probing about loving and being committed to something. Nathaniel asked him who some of his favorite writers are, Steve reflects on his college days and admits his skating through classes, applying himself just enough to pass, he had to hesitate and ponder the question and then ask himself, “who is my favorite writer?

Steve had no immediate answers for Nathaniel’s questions.  However, it trigged something in him. Steve acknowledged his lack of relationships, friendships, loyalty, love and passions.

Steve had been functioning perfectly well without those inner displays, just as Nathaniel believed he was okay and functioning without those outer things, which made Steve feel more fortunate than Nathaniel.

Lopez life style agrees with societal view and he sees himself as fortunate and Nathaniel as unfortunate.  Our experiences dictate our lives, Paranoid schizophrenia views Nathaniel life style, and in that world he behaves as his experience dictates, consequently Nathaniel does not express a need to change.

Nathaniel’s behavior leads Lopez to study his diagnosis and its ramifications encourages him to ascertain both primary and secondary research on mental illness.

Lopez is the reason I enjoyed this book, because of his tenacity. Being our brother’s keeper can be a huge challenge as he displays throughout the book.  Not only is Nathaniel Lopez’s brother, but Lopez accepts his position as Nathaniel’s brother.

The two came together and received some unexpected needs for them: restoration for Nathaniel; and Steve begins to understand Nathaniel and gives way to trying to fix him; instead, he develops a loyal friendship. In addition, Lopez searches into other areas for other opportunities: learning to play a guitar, and learning a new language.

 

Lopez and Nathaniel are as different as night and day, yet they walked the streets in the Skid Row community to obtain their needs.  Diversification and community bought them together not only did their lives improve but they became an instrument used to improve each other as well as creating a vehicle to bring a greater need for society…the world.  Together Lopez and Ayers story fostered awareness, educates and funds for the homeless and the mental illness population—“We are our brothers Keeper”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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