Review: This Is My Song
Perhaps the greatest expression of song is Yaxley's exceptionally lyrical prose. This is My Song is a sweeping story told in three parts across three continents, embracing three monumental periods of time. The story of young Rafael Ullmann's rising love for music amidst the growing tensions of the 1940s is chocked with heartbreak and wrenching disappointment.
He survives the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp but at the cost of losing his passion for the thing he loved most, music. His song lies withered, abandoned and forgotten like a childhood pet that died long ago. By the time his daughter, Annie arrives, Rafi has accepted his world of silence and regret.
Annie is a child of the sweeping isolation of the Canadian prairie lands, yet she is a bird eager to fly and seeks a freedom she cannot enjoy with her parents. It is her son, Joe, an uncertain modern-day Aussie youth seeking a solid sense of self from a history he knows nothing about, that eventually helps them all reunite with the song the bounds them together forever.
This is a fascinating and achingly beautiful story about family, surviving emotional and physical conflict and finding ones voice that rises and falls with the same heart-swelling cadence of a musical score. Each character harbours hurts that plead for sympathy but never pity. Instead our love for them matures as we realise they are all contributors to their song; their history, their family, their reasons to be. It is a song we all share or could share no matter what language it is sung in for we are all legacies of the music of life.
Powerful and evocatively written with the gentle touch of a master of emotion, This is My Song resonates the need to 'give peace a chance' in the most emphatic way. Loved it. Highly recommended.
Title: This Is My Song
Author: Richard Yaxley
Publisher: Scholastic, $16.99
Publication Date: March 2017
For ages: 13+
Type: Young Adult Fiction
Buy the Book: Scholastic, Boomerang Books