Mozart and Me

Written by Joyce T. Stafford
Review by Andrea Connell

Psychotherapist Grace Harmon is unhappy with her life. She is estranged from her husband and son, her work is growing tiresome, and she feels depressed. Her only remaining passion, her obsession, is for the music of Mozart. When she admits this obsession to her teacher, instead of analyzing it, he offers to send her back in time to meet her idol. Through her adventures in 18th century Vienna, she uncovers the “real” Mozart and attempts to work out her own problems.

I wish I can say that I enjoyed this massive doorstopper of a book, if only to justify all the time I spent reading it. Unfortunately, the only redeeming features I can come up with are the beautiful binding and the thick creamy paper!

This book is pedantic; I might as well have been listening to a dry, jargon-filled college lecture on psychoanalysis. The characters are disagreeable and cold, especially the arrogant, self-obsessed, and self-aggrandizing Grace. Mozart is used as fodder for Grace’s own self-exploration, and as such, he exhibits a simple, stereotypic personality. The time travel concept, consisting of the “magician” teacher who can automatically “transport” Grace wherever she desires to go, is ludicrously simplistic. I never did understand why a pen arrives mangled in the past, but a water bottle arrives intact! The plot leaves gaping holes and jumps around constantly, culminating in a conclusion that concludes nothing at all.

From a historical fiction point of view, the obvious lack of research is disconcerting and contributes to the unbelievability of this story. Although there is a great deal of “telling” about Mozart’s compositions and operas, the story is devoid of historical period feel, other than cursory descriptions of clothing and furnishings. The lack of references to research materials doesn’t help either. If I were you, I wouldn’t waste my time or money on this one.