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Wednesday 23 September 2020

Review: How to Write the Soundtrack of Your Life

Fiona Hardy’s second book How to Write the Soundtrack of Your Life is full of surprises.

Two main issues play out side by side. The first is about Murphy, the main character, friendless and silent, who speaks through her music.

The other winding through, is her father’s depression that is always on playing on Murphy’s mind. Two beautiful tales that speak of love, finding your voice and family.

Murphy is very shy. She hardly ever speaks at school. This has gone on for a long time. She is a songwriter that never shares her gift with anyone. 

Murphy and her dad live with dad’s brother Pete and his family who are his support in difficult times.

Plucks is where Murphy and dad go and hang out, and check out instruments and musical connections.

It’s where Murphy gets to play a modern organ that tapes simultaneously.
Something dad can’t afford to buy for his daughter.

Now in Grade 6S, a music program allows Murphy and others to use modern musical instruments to find their way to music appreciation. Till now, Murphy has practiced at home on an old organ that was her mother’s. The only thing she left behind when she abandoned her family.

On a day when Murphy forgets to put on her headphones and the rest of the group hear her music, everything splits for Murphy. Her world is no longer hers alone. The others are impressed and thrilled to learn something new and wonderful about the silent girl that most ignore.

The invisible Murphy becomes more than visible. Everyone around her wants to know her. It is when the same tune, slightly altered with lyrics added, is played at school, that her world crumbles. Murphy is accused of plaguiarising and she has no way of knowing how her music became someone else’s.

Everyone is not convinced. The few that believe Murphy band together to find answers. When a second song of Murphy’s follows the first, she believes there is no saving herself.

But friendship is a chain not easily broken. Having seen another side of Murphy, her friends are reluctant to accept what she is accused of. How will they find the culprit? Can it be someone close to her?

She is no longer the silent girl. Now she has found her voice, she won’t be silenced again.

Favourite tracks take the place of chapter headings. At the end there is a Grade 6S music assignment to write about a song that is important to your family, a short sentence about the performer, and why the song is important to you. This information adds the finishing touch to a terrific read. 

Title: How to Write the Soundtrack to Your Life
Author: Fiona Hardy
Publisher: Affirm Press, $16.99  
Publication Date: 25 August 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781922419132
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction