Steve Lopez – The Soloist

Mom handed me The Soloist over Thanksgiving – one of her friends had just returned it.  I started reading it and simply could not put it down.  Like a lot of people, I hadn’t heard about the book until the movie (which I haven’t seen but I have heard it’s incredible) came out earlier this year.

The portrait that Lopez paints of Nathaniel Ayers is truly haunting.  The glimmers of brilliance that come through the veil of schizophrenia, only to be lost again.  It’s an unlikely friendship, and an interesting one.

I really did find myself questioning Lopez’s motives.  He wanted to help Nathaniel.  He wanted to call attention to the awfulness of Skid Row.  But did he really effect any larger change?  Would his efforts have been better-placed by focusing on something other than one individual?  Did Mayor Villaraigosa’s pledge to clean up Skid Row happen?  I don’t know; Lopez doesn’t tell us that part.  Beyond that, the ending feels unsatisfying, I want to know where Nathaniel is now.

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