Friday, March 10, 2017

Meredith O'Brien's Mr. Clark's Big Band Review



Title: Mr. Clark’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room
Author: Meredith O’Brien
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing (May 2, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1942545622
ISBN-13: 978-1942545620

When 12-year-old Eric Green, a student at the Trottier Middle School in Southborough, Massachusetts dies in his sleep from an undiagnosed heart ailment, his small town is plunged into mourning. The members of the Trottier jazz band, where Eric was a trumpet player, are shaken to their core.

From the throes of his own grief, the Trottier Big Band’s unorthodox, fortysomething director, Jamison Clark, becomes the children’s guide, their catalyst for healing. With a face resembling Santa’s, coupled with eyebrow-raising antics ranging from bathroom jokes to poking fun at his own girth, Mr. Clark coaxes the children to pour their grief into their music. Accepting nothing short of excellency, he leads them through a challenging year of mourning where they win regional band competitions and master a complicated piece written in Eric’s honor at his emotion-laden memorial service.

From the back of the band room, author and Southborough resident Meredith O’Brien – whose son plays in the jazz band – observes this transformative process during the 2012-2013 school year. In Mr. Clark’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room, O’Brien offers readers a celebration of the power of music, of camaraderie, of a big-hearted risk-taking teacher, and of a small town which closes ranks to help its children emerge on the other side of grief.

The middle school class highlighted in O’Brien’s book graduates in June 2017.


About the Author

A former newspaper reporter, investigative journalist and columnist, Meredith O’Brien (mereditheobrien.com) is the author of Mr. Clark’s Big Band, as well as of Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing, and A Suburban Mom: Notes from the Asylum.  She is a co-author of The Buying of the President, a finalist for an Investigative Reporters and Editors book award. She teaches journalism at Northeastern University and lives with her family in the Boston area.

I received a complimentary copy.

Cassandra's Review-  A great book of healing with the magic powers of music in a way that seals the town in a mix of emotions that the readers will surely feel.

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