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Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite
With its unfathomable power, music can bring back powerful memories, help to find solace, and allow us to feel the presence of dear people who are no longer with us. Jennifer Dixon explores the power of music in her book Connections. This delicate memoir traces Dixon’s human and emotional journey from her childhood to adulthood. Born into a difficult family, Dixon grew very attached to her sister, Maureen. They shared a musical bond, but Maureen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. With the intent to raise funds for research, Dixon ran in the London Marathon and other competitions, but Maureen did not recover. After her passing away, Dixon went to Santiago, an experience she repeated after the death of other relatives. It was during the Camino that music exerted its powerful influence.
A memoir should have two aims: to help the author to reflect on his or her life and to teach something to the reader. Connections has both these elements, and this is why it is such a good read. Dixon’s story seems to be written primarily for her. Her tone reveals a degree of introspection that gave me the impression that she was pondering on every event once again. On the other hand, she has been able to tell other people that there is hope for them too. They have only to find their own “music” to be happy again. Dixon’s story is sad despite some witticism, but its message is hopeful. Music works in unexpected ways. As a music lover myself, I totally agree.