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Memory Slips: A Memoir of Music and Healing

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"There are three kinds of memory slips, I tell my students. One, when Memory slips but you find your way back without losing a beat. Two, when you don't find your way back until the downbeat. Three, when you don't find your way back in time and must stop and restart the music. I don't tell them about a fourth possibility , when one memory slips, another intrudes and you do "There are three kinds of memory slips, I tell my students. One, when Memory slips but you find your way back without losing a beat. Two, when you don't find your way back until the downbeat. Three, when you don't find your way back in time and must stop and restart the music. I don't tell them about a fourth possibility , when one memory slips, another intrudes and you don't find your way back for a very long time." -- from Memory Slips Linda Katherine Cutting's memoir of family and music movingly portrays the trauma and recovery of a woman whose childhood was betrayed by those who were supposed to protect her. In exquisite prose she illuminates the inner life of a child for whom the gift of music was the only refuge, a refuge that protected her as long as it could. For when Linda began to remember what her father had done to her and her brothers -- both eventual suicides -- she stopped being able to remember Beethoven's notes. Linda Cutting's writing bears witness to what had occurred. Her stunning "Hers" column, originally printed in the New York Times Sunday Magazine in October 1993, was clipped and carried in wallets and pocketbooks and reprinted around the world. Now, her memoir Memory Slips, will not only reach out and give voice to victims of abuse but also move anyone who cares about the power of writing, the beauty of music and the innocence of children. "In her writing, Linda Cutting displays the same grace, thoughtfulness and talent that she's always brought to her music-making. With courageous candor, Linda has shone light into the darker corners of her own compelling life, and we, the readers, are richer for it." --John Williams, Academy Award-winning composer and conductor laureate, The Boston Pops Orchestra "This is a mesmerizing story about the loss of music and innocence and -- very nearly -- the self; and the subsequent recovery of all those things. It is testimony to the power of Linda Cutting's writing that the same book that tears at your heart can, in the end, make it rise up with gladness." --Elizabeth Berg, author of Talk Before Sleep, Range of Motion and The Pull of the Moon


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"There are three kinds of memory slips, I tell my students. One, when Memory slips but you find your way back without losing a beat. Two, when you don't find your way back until the downbeat. Three, when you don't find your way back in time and must stop and restart the music. I don't tell them about a fourth possibility , when one memory slips, another intrudes and you do "There are three kinds of memory slips, I tell my students. One, when Memory slips but you find your way back without losing a beat. Two, when you don't find your way back until the downbeat. Three, when you don't find your way back in time and must stop and restart the music. I don't tell them about a fourth possibility , when one memory slips, another intrudes and you don't find your way back for a very long time." -- from Memory Slips Linda Katherine Cutting's memoir of family and music movingly portrays the trauma and recovery of a woman whose childhood was betrayed by those who were supposed to protect her. In exquisite prose she illuminates the inner life of a child for whom the gift of music was the only refuge, a refuge that protected her as long as it could. For when Linda began to remember what her father had done to her and her brothers -- both eventual suicides -- she stopped being able to remember Beethoven's notes. Linda Cutting's writing bears witness to what had occurred. Her stunning "Hers" column, originally printed in the New York Times Sunday Magazine in October 1993, was clipped and carried in wallets and pocketbooks and reprinted around the world. Now, her memoir Memory Slips, will not only reach out and give voice to victims of abuse but also move anyone who cares about the power of writing, the beauty of music and the innocence of children. "In her writing, Linda Cutting displays the same grace, thoughtfulness and talent that she's always brought to her music-making. With courageous candor, Linda has shone light into the darker corners of her own compelling life, and we, the readers, are richer for it." --John Williams, Academy Award-winning composer and conductor laureate, The Boston Pops Orchestra "This is a mesmerizing story about the loss of music and innocence and -- very nearly -- the self; and the subsequent recovery of all those things. It is testimony to the power of Linda Cutting's writing that the same book that tears at your heart can, in the end, make it rise up with gladness." --Elizabeth Berg, author of Talk Before Sleep, Range of Motion and The Pull of the Moon

30 review for Memory Slips: A Memoir of Music and Healing

  1. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    My lovely daughter gave me this book to read and said, "I think you'll like it mom." Imagine my surprise when as I got deeper into the narrative by a gifted pianist was that I discovered it was a memoir about incest. Truth is, I did like it and I could relate to her story. While not a gifted pianist, I did play piano for over 10 years. I was quite good, even after my trusted teacher of 6 years molested me one day at a lesson. Both of these experiences sparked a deeper connection to Miss Cutting' My lovely daughter gave me this book to read and said, "I think you'll like it mom." Imagine my surprise when as I got deeper into the narrative by a gifted pianist was that I discovered it was a memoir about incest. Truth is, I did like it and I could relate to her story. While not a gifted pianist, I did play piano for over 10 years. I was quite good, even after my trusted teacher of 6 years molested me one day at a lesson. Both of these experiences sparked a deeper connection to Miss Cutting's story, told in back and forth 10 years apart between the time she was a rising concert pianist to her hospitalization for suicidal tendencies which came after she could not longer ignore the dark childhood memories that slipped in despite her concentrated efforts to block them as an adult. "There are three kinds of memory slips, I tell my students. One, when memory slips but you find your way back without losing a beat. Two, when you don't find your way back until the downbeat. Three, when you don't find your way back in time and must stop and restart the music." The latter memory slips is my interpretation of what Ms. Cutting experiences in terms of her father. It took her years to "find her way back," losing two brother to suicide in the process. The connection to her father and the piano is woven throughout the story. Her father gave her the piano and she was safe from him there when playing. Yet despite playing the Boston Pops and other renowned groups across the country she never gets her father's approval or praise. The hardest thing about this book is her conflicted relationship with her father. She describes how after her hair starts to turn brown from childish golden curls, her father starts to ignore her. While this a blessing, it also hurts this child. "Once I was special. Not I'm not." My heart ached throughout the reading of this honest and heartbreaking story of a survivor. The girl who finally had the courage to tell in hopes. Does she get redemption? You will have to read it to find out.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is the only book I've ever listened to on tape; the author, herself, plays the piano, throughout, and introduced me to a composer I'd never heard before - Scriabin - BEAUTIFUL!! Musicians, check it out!! This is the only book I've ever listened to on tape; the author, herself, plays the piano, throughout, and introduced me to a composer I'd never heard before - Scriabin - BEAUTIFUL!! Musicians, check it out!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Renny

    ..."This book testifies to both the worst and best of the human spirit: agonizing, as one relives the abuse Ms. Cutting suffered, and heroic, as she fights to reclaim her life and music. The abuse she suffered becomes all the more real under the dignified" ..."This book testifies to both the worst and best of the human spirit: agonizing, as one relives the abuse Ms. Cutting suffered, and heroic, as she fights to reclaim her life and music. The abuse she suffered becomes all the more real under the dignified"

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Paulson-Nguyen

    I loved the way this book was structured and how intimate the narrator was with music and the different pianos in her life. A beautiful book that holds deep pain, great courage and profound love and wisdom.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This memoir described one month in the recent past of the author, while she was in therapy and one year in her less recent past. The convention of switching back and forth between the time periods and showing the correlations between events was less confusing than I thought it would be. The musical terminology and descriptions of pieces of music were much more confusing to me. She described her feelings a lot of times in terms of certain concertos and symphonies. I don't read music at all, and I This memoir described one month in the recent past of the author, while she was in therapy and one year in her less recent past. The convention of switching back and forth between the time periods and showing the correlations between events was less confusing than I thought it would be. The musical terminology and descriptions of pieces of music were much more confusing to me. She described her feelings a lot of times in terms of certain concertos and symphonies. I don't read music at all, and I had a hard time grasping the point of what she was trying to say. I also didn't feel that the book really resolved. She went through a lot of abuse and broken relationships and her therapy was all about coming to terms with that. She described the process of that very well, but even though the book includes a 'Coda' (Epilogue) that takes place 3 years later and then the entire work was copyrighted 2 years after that, the author does not say how she now relates to her family and whether her father continues to be an abusive clergy person. I'm glad she can play the piano again, but I'd like to know how other things are going as well.... Possibly I shouldn't have attempted reading a memoir so steeped in musical theory with my lack of knowledge on the subject, but I was reading for the personal story, which I thought got lost amidst all the musical analogies. Also, I understand that this is probably a very difficult process, to write about one's childhood abuse, so I feel apologetic for judging the work rather harshly.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Lu

    wow, so well done. she kind of just propels you forward through her narrative. loss and tragedy and coping and the nature of mental illnesses and recognizing them, all couched in music because music is so much a part of her that its a part of her story too. i love reading people's passions. particularly liked the line at the end about learning to mother yourself. note to self to cope with mild to moderate guilt: its okay that you've been reading a lot lately. the reads have been very quick, and wow, so well done. she kind of just propels you forward through her narrative. loss and tragedy and coping and the nature of mental illnesses and recognizing them, all couched in music because music is so much a part of her that its a part of her story too. i love reading people's passions. particularly liked the line at the end about learning to mother yourself. note to self to cope with mild to moderate guilt: its okay that you've been reading a lot lately. the reads have been very quick, and this one was done while stranded at your piano teacher's house with no homework. chill.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Juliann

    I bought this book from a second-hand store out of curiosity. I started reading it out of boredom, and at first was distrubed by the experiences the author shares so honestly (but very subtly at the same time). Yet I couldn't put it down. I found her story so compelling and found so much truth of what she experienced as a performing musician in what I also face. I don't know if I would have appreciated this book as much NOT being a musician, but as one it resonated with me. I bought this book from a second-hand store out of curiosity. I started reading it out of boredom, and at first was distrubed by the experiences the author shares so honestly (but very subtly at the same time). Yet I couldn't put it down. I found her story so compelling and found so much truth of what she experienced as a performing musician in what I also face. I don't know if I would have appreciated this book as much NOT being a musician, but as one it resonated with me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lora Shouse

    A beautiful but sometimes painful book. Linda Cutting describes how she used music to escape from childhood abuse. Then she uses music, and also art and writing to help herself heal from this same abuse. I sort of thought large parts of this book would be dry and boring, but her descriptions of her adventures in music were anything but.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Angélique (Angel)

    This was an interesting book, but not as evocative as I had hoped. The unique chronological format of the chapters was a nice touch. I thought the in depth descriptions of the piano movements felt a bit tedious, but in the long run, I think they were kind of necessary for the author to fully divulge her story. All in all, this book touched me but it just could not pull me in.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Verna

    One woman's struggle to tell the truth about her damaged childhood. Using music to provide sustenance and refuge, Linda Katherine Cutting more than prevails over her past, she shines and becomes a star. This book is an inspiration to all of those who suffered abuse as child and lived to tell the tale. I highly reccommend it. One woman's struggle to tell the truth about her damaged childhood. Using music to provide sustenance and refuge, Linda Katherine Cutting more than prevails over her past, she shines and becomes a star. This book is an inspiration to all of those who suffered abuse as child and lived to tell the tale. I highly reccommend it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Fern

    I learned an awful lot from this book. It features the author's feelings about music quite heavily, and as a musician myself, I found that very interesting to hear about. It was also amazingly interesting to hear an 'abused child' story from a totally new perspective. This book really made me think about how lucky I am, but in a different way from most books. I learned an awful lot from this book. It features the author's feelings about music quite heavily, and as a musician myself, I found that very interesting to hear about. It was also amazingly interesting to hear an 'abused child' story from a totally new perspective. This book really made me think about how lucky I am, but in a different way from most books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marsmannix

    Interesting memoir from the unique perspective a concert pianist who uses the device of music to tell the story of growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional home headed by the minister-father who molests her. I found it difficult to follow the copious musical references, even though i am familiar with musical terms and most classical composers. Her knowledge of music both saves and cloaks her.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Peter Onazziz

    i have read this book over and i did read over again and will did read another time for i found the author very coherent and did dispel family decadence.......which i believe should be redressed in a good apparel for the minds of children need to be mould for good only to achieved good citizenship. the author is okay in most illlustrick. peter A. onasanya ESQ

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kira Cutsinger

    this book wasn't bad, but some parts got boring, the story was intresting and it was pretty well written. this book wasn't bad, but some parts got boring, the story was intresting and it was pretty well written.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

    Nonfiction memoir of “music and healing” -- pianist recalls dad’s abuse of her and her siblings, and heals herself through music. Thoughtfully written, not too graphic.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  18. 5 out of 5

    Raina Scura

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rosemarie

  20. 4 out of 5

    sue

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nisara

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lyn Ostoich

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth pifer

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl Hill

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bluntedges

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elena

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