I received a copy of this book a couple of weeks ago at professional day on campus. It was announced that The Soloist would be next year's "One Book" and they wanted the faculty and staff to have copies so they can read it over the summer if they choose.
At the time I received the book I had no clue that it had already been made into a movie, and starring one of my favorite actors (Robert Downey Jr.), but the buzz seemed interested so I shelved it until I finished the book I was already reading.
After reading the very first "One Book" selection a few years ago, a biographical account of growing up in South Boston called "All Souls", which totally sucked, I've been hesitant to read and of the selections since but I am certainly glad that I took the shot with this one.
The book chronicles a period of approximately two years in which Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez came to know a man named Nathaniel Anthony Ayers; a homeless man with a story and a gift - and an illness.
Ayers had been a student at the prestigious Julliard School in New York City thirty years prior and as a result of mental illness, Lopez finds him in spot on "skid row" playing a beat up violin. Whatever it was that sparked this chance meeting had sparked Lopez's interest to where he wanted to know more. At first, it was about writing a column but as time went on, a very special bond was formed and this book tells the story in long form.
There wasn't a moment of this story that didn't have my interest at its peak and there were a number of occasions where the emotional impact of the story was almost too much. This is a story that will stay with me for a very long time I am sure and I highly recommend this wonderful book.