Just Open Your Heart and Listen: A Review of “Music in the Desert” (Kindle Edition)

Upon taking in the words and illustrations on the book’s first page, a wave of calmness and serenity washed over me. I was able to put myself in the character’s shoes, feeling the emotions he might have felt while walking through what is usually a quiet and secluded place. However, on this particular occasion, the character receives the gift of music from a stranger’s violin. Imagining how the music must echo in the ravine adds to the overall sense of serenity in which this book has me effortlessly wrapped up.

The next page forced me to stop as my eyes took in the stark and extremely poignant question. While my mind flirted with these first few words, my eyes took in the various colors of the drawing, noting the barely visible sun behind clouds that appear as if they are just rolling in. The way the characters are drawn also causes a resonance somewhere deep within me, possibly in some facet of my soul that I have yet to uncover.

The question is completed in the second picture on that page. I doubt anyone could read these words without taking a momentary pause to look deep within for their response. The stark contrast between the two images forces readers to ponder the duality of the question.

“What is the value of a gift when it is all that one has?”

The first half of the quote, which contains the word “value,” is presented before an image ripe with color. But, upon moving down the page, you’re presented with a stark reality. This reality is not only conveyed in the latter half of the question, but also in the colorless drawings with which we’re once again presented.

I can only imagine the variety of ways in which readers might choose answer this question. In the context of the images, it is as if giving all that you have leaves you devoid of the “color” in your life. Is this truly a bad thing? Or is it instead the most valuable gift one can bestow upon another? When looking at the colorless women in the bottom picture, I can’t help but envision a mother giving every fiber of herself to her daughter, in an effort to save her from some unspeakable sadness. She’s willing to make her reality devoid of color, as long as it means filling her daughter’s world with nothing but color, and ultimately love. I take this last page and its words to heart.

The book continues on in a similar fashion, challenging readers to search deep within for their own truths and meaning.

Despite the length of my review, I’ve only addressed the experiences I had while reading just the first few pages. I hope you will pick up where I have left off and let the story create new and enlightening experiences for you.

While this story may first strike you as overly simplistic, refrain from passing judgment just yet. Let the images and words sit before you, allowing yourself to absorb their meanings while feeling whatever emotions they invoke within you. I imagine that readers will experience the story in their own special way, which is another reason why this story is so great. “Music in the Desert” manages to convey a story rich with meaning and emotion, while using only a handful of words. By masterfully combining these words with the book’s images, the resulting story is one that speaks volumes.

All you have to do is open your heart and listen.

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About Julie Tutwiler
Julie is a pro bono philosopher and proud nerd who is convinced that she was a cat in a past life. She enjoys learning new things and loves curling up with a good Stephen King book. In addition to reading, Julie enjoys Japanese culture, cryptograms, video games, and playing fetch with her Maine Coon cat, Ender. She's been a writer since childhood and is thrilled that she can now make a living doing something that she loves. You can find her work on awesome websites such as GeekSmash.com.

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