Goodbye Tchaikovsky by: Michael Thal

First of all, I want to note this book is probably one of the most powerful stories for tween and teen boys I've ever read.

David Rothman loses his hearing at the age of twelve to a hereditary problem he knew nothing about. There is no warning, no gradual loss. One day, David is rejoicing after a virtuoso solo performance at Symphony Hall in New York. His performance receives rave reviews, and he's excited about a future performance for the Queen of England in London. David returns home to celebrate his twelfth birthday, and the next morning he wakes up deaf.

Michael Thal brings us this story of personal triumph giving way to disaster into the forefront. His character, David, lives and breathes the violin. He is a hardworking prodigy, but now his world is forever silent. The reader experiences David's loss as he does. We walk the sad path where he stumbles, but he picks himself up with assistance from unexpected sources. Sometimes, adults show David the way, but as he slowly accepts his disability and makes his own decisions about his future, he finds himself on a path far different from what he once envisioned.

Adversity is something people face daily. Thal weaves a tale of overcoming an overwhelming and terrifying situation with grace and humor. I recommend this book not only for tween and teen boys, but also for their parents, grandparents, and families. David's courage as he straddles the hearing and deaf worlds shines throughout the story.

On a personal note, I connected with this story from the parallels in my own life. My teenage son had an accident in middle school, where he punctured an ear drum. He plays the saxophone – alto, tenor, and is currently learning the baritone. We held our breath until he healed, but I could see myself in the place of David and his mother easily. Thank you, Michael Thal, for this moving tale of overcoming a major obstacle.

To pick up your copy of Goodbye Tchaikovsky, follow this link: Goodbye Tchaikovsky


I love stories about overcoming obstacles. Lovely article.