Stabler’s series about a black music prodigy is well-reported and -written. We like the rich detail, the elegant descriptions, deft characterizations. What seems left out are more insights into why the 16-year-old, Sam Johnson, has such a hard time. Stabler addresses the challenges that prodigies face as they near adulthood. But we couldn’t help but wonder about other issues, such as race, growing up the adopted African-American son of white parents in a largely white, Seventh-day Adventist community. Social context seems largely overlooked. We are also left to wonder if we’ve really learned all we need to know about Sam’s family to really understand him. We believe this good story would be even better with more muscular insight.

Read “Lost in the Music,” by David Stabler

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