Blanche’s Book Club: ‘Three Pianos.’

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At the end of August, I went to Stubb’s to see Andrew McMahon on his summer tour.

I’ve seen him perform several times, but I was really looking forward to this one. It was my first time at Stubb’s, and Dashboard Confessional was also performing — my high school years were making a comeback.

The day of the show, I realized I had McMahon’s memoir — “Three Pianos” on my shelf… and i hadn’t read it yet.

So, I picked it up and started reading.

I didn’t finish it before the show, but during his performance, he said this time of year is a difficult one for him as it marked the anniversary of his twin sister donating her stem cells to save his life.

I hope I’m remembering it right that he said he was 17 years cancer-free. I remember seeing posts about his battle with Leukemia, but honestly didn’t know much about it.

Well, the book explains it all.

The memoir starts with McMahon’s parents, and then his childhood. His father dealt with addiction, and Andrew worked through it via music.

I highlight some quotes from the book I’ll share with you:

For a while, I think my music was our only source of hope, and those long drives to the recording studio and the time we spent there were like sunlit hours in the eye of the storm.

It was Christmas in Santa Monica, but aside from the occasional break spent gazing at the lights in the trees on the promenade, the holiday would go unnoticed.

I went roller-skating in ecstasy, took the last of my meds onstage with a shot of Jäegermeister, and, in a signal of what was to come, I showed up to my one-year transplant check-up drunk with my clothes soaked in minibar liquor. I’d become a walking ‘fuck you’ to the thing I had survived, daring it to come back and kill me.

I’m not sure if just anyone would love this book as much as I did. I found the addiction portions intriguing (I used to read lots of addiction memoirs) and the chapters on his battle with cancer were so unique. I’ve read several cancer memoirs, but Andrew had a very different perspective.

But, the parts I loved most about this book were hearing about his music. I’ve been listening to him since high school, and although he didn’t point out directly what songs he was discussing, it was obvious if you’re familiar with his work.

I gave this 5/5 stars on GoodReads — I truly loved this one!

For more book recommendations, be sure to subscribe to the blog (look to the right) and follow me on Goodreads @thebitterlemon – where I share more of my book picks. Also, check out my printable bookmarks and Book Club Journal Pages in my Etsy Shop.

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