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Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Review - Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung by Min Kym

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Review by Suze

Music has always been in Min Kym's blood and from the moment she held the violin for the first time she knew this instrument would make her happy. As a child prodigy her career as a musician was settled. She played with the most inspiring teachers, who were impressed by her talent and she won many prestigious prizes. When, at the age of twenty-one, Min Kym found the instrument of her dreams, a Stradivarius from 1696, she knew she'd have a brilliant future together with her beloved instrument. Unfortunately the good times didn't last, Min Kym lost the instrument that felt like an extra limb, someone stole it from her. Because this violin was her soul mate her life stopped having meaning. When she lost her Stradivarius, she lost a big part of herself.

In Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung Min Kym writes about her life. Music is the most important part of who she is. Her Stradivarius wasn't just an instrument, it was part of her soul. Losing it meant she lost much more than just the instrument itself, she stopped being able to live. A thief took her identity from her and that left a huge hole that isn't easily filled. Min Kym has always worked hard to become a top musician. She has so much talent, she instinctively knows how her favorite instrument works and she can hear things others aren't capable of hearing. She's an admirable person with plenty of determination. Even though she has a sad story to tell, her honest writing and the abundance of interesting information she shares are making her book intriguing and compelling without ever losing the integrity she has in spades.

Min Kym openly tells about her life. She writes about her family, her teachers, the instruments she had the chance to play and her victories and failures. She describes the things she's done well in the same amount of detail as the things that have gone wrong. This made me respect her even more than I already did before I started reading her book. Min Kym might have lost her one true love, but she's strong, she shares her story with the world and she tries to find a way out of the black hole the theft made her fall in. She's a fascinating person with a story to tell and she does this with dignity, she writes in an intelligent and insightful way. I read her book in one sitting, it's moving, intense and heartbreaking, but there's also a glimmer of hope for the future. I wish with all my heart that she finds herself again and will be able to go back to the love of her life, making music she enjoys, so she can heal again.


Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung is an impressive memoir, it's a perfect choice for readers who love classical music.


  1. A book I will definitely read. I have a friend from China who learn Piano as a young child and this is her love and passion also. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think my mom would really enjoy reading this book.

  3. This book sounds great. Thanks for the awesome review. I will have to check this out.

  4. I;d love to read this. Such a clever title too.

  5. My children are very musical and play many instruments but I am tone deaf and had trouble with the playing the recorder in primary school :) I love the sound of this book :)

  6. Doesn't sound like my first choice of reading but I'm positive it is written beautifully.

  7. This sounds fascinating!


  8. A very difficult topic to write about but by the sounds of it Min Kym has managed to avoid her memoir being mawkish or depressing. I wish her well and hopefully, one day, we shall hear her making wonderful music again.

  9. This memoir sounds facinating. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to lose her violin

  10. not my kind of book but i'm sure it will be interesting for a lot of people. thank you for teh review

  11. I love classical music :)
    Sounds good!