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Midnight Hour Encores

Review

Midnight Hour Encores

MIDNIGHT HOUR ENCORES by Bruce Brooks skillfully weaves the present with the past. Sibilance T. Spooner is born in the early 1970s, the age of hippies and experimentation. Her mother abandons her 20-hour-old baby because she has no room for a child in her quest for self-realization; Taxi is left with the task of raising the baby girl.

Sib is a 16-year-old prodigy. Her instrument is the cello, and she has won competitions in Brussels, Prague, and Rome. The circle of international music critics places her at about third or fourth in the world, in league with such famous cellists as Yo-Yo Ma and Janos Starker. However, her cello is not enough for her in her life right now.

Sib and Taxi are very close, yet she believes that she has raised herself with little help from her unconventional father. Finally, in the summer of her 16th year, she asks Taxi to take her to meet her mother. However, Sib has another reason for wanting to visit her mother in California, one that she has not yet shared with her father.

Taxi finds an old '60s Volkswagen bus with "a great soul," and they set off to travel across the country, heading for San Francisco and Sib's mother. On the road, Sib learns a great deal about Taxi. He can cook on a campfire and he can play the guitar he picked up in a used record shop. When Taxi starts to play and sing a Bob Dylan song and follows it with an obscure Beatles tune, Sib realizes there's lot about Taxi she doesn't know. He tells her, "Songs like these put a lot of people into motion...making them recognize that they had a lot of energy and could start doing things with it."

As they travel, Sib wonders why Taxi is stopping to introduce her to people from his life in the '60s. Once they reach San Francisco, Taxi leaves Sib with her mother. She finds that she likes this woman who sent her away. However, will they be able to exist as mother and daughter? Who is the mysterious cello player from Russia? How did her father find out that she planned to audition to be accepted at the Phrygian Institute?

Bruce Brooks's MIDNIGHT HOUR ENCORES is a book worth reading, especially if you're a musician or aspiring to be a musician. It's an intimate look into the life of an extremely gifted young woman who goes through all the insecurities of being 16 years old. It is a story of discovery, and the surprise ending is worth waiting for.

Reviewed by Audrey Marie Danielson on October 18, 2011

Midnight Hour Encores
by Bruce Brooks

  • Publication Date: April 15, 1988
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • ISBN-10: 0064470210
  • ISBN-13: 9780064470216