A twelve-year-old violin virtuoso, David Rothman, is plunged into a deaf world, necessitating him to adapt to a new culture and language in order to survive.
David Rothman is an overnight success. He performs in New York’s Symphony Hall with rave reviews attracting the attention of the Queen of England. His future is laid out for him like a well-lit freeway. Then, on his twelfth birthday, David suffers from a sudden and irreparable hearing loss, plunging him into a silent world. Good-Bye Tchaikovsky is about an adolescent who overcomes adversity and develops an understanding and appreciation of Deaf culture.
At the age of forty-four I had a severe hearing loss taking me away from my job as a sixth grade teacher. From that experience, I was inspired to write this story. It shows by example how middle school children can cope with adversity. If a person has a willingness to learn and an open mind to explore all possibilities, he can find a way to succeed.
With the help of his family, an unexpected mentor, and a new best friend, David is brought from the dredges of near suicide to become a savior of a young child. From his experiences, he decides to dedicate his life to teaching.
David Rothman’s success in the deaf world will provide inspiration for teens to find inner strength. Like David, with the support of family and friends, they will find a place for themselves, and they can accomplish anything.
The last chord of the orchestra vibrated in my ears. My stomach made flip-flops. This was my moment. I was first violinist in the Youth Orchestra. I was about to play solo in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in Symphony Hall. I pushed myself from the safety of my seat, within the strings section, and claimed center stage.
I tucked my violin under my chin. Stage lights blinded me, leaving the audience in darkness. I lifted my bow and focused on the conductor perched on a stool before me. Maestro raised his baton. I struck the first note, clear and vibrant.
Music encircled me and lifted me into the clouds until I played my last note and was plopped back onto center stage. Applause wrapped around me like warm socks on a winter day.
Professional Reviews Pitch Perfect
David Rothman is on top of the world. After bringing down the house as soloist in the Youth Orchestra, he and the group are invited to play
for the Queen of England. But just days after his triumphant moment, he suddenly finds himself unable to hear a single note.
Deafness has struck the Rothmans in the past, and now David has the family curse. Playing the violin is as meaningless to him as holding a stick of wood, since he can’t hear the music. Putting it down for
good, he embarks on a journey to understand and deal with his new course of life.
Over the next six years, David enrolls in a school for the deaf,switching to mainstream high school once he is proficient enough in communication. He makes new friends and learns to adjust, hoping he
will eventually find a career path to follow. And when he graduates from high school, he heads off to a mainstream college, finally knowing exactly what he is called to do.
Finding yourself deaf, literally overnight, is a scary thing, and David’s response to his disability is understandable. It takes courage to accept what he can’t change, and he tries to make the best of a bad
situation. Good-Bye Tchaikovsky is a touching portrayal of a boy who just wants to fit in, but finds himself pulled between the hearing and the deaf world. Ultimately, what he really needs to find is himself.- Alice Berger
Between Two Worlds
On David Rothman’s 12th birthday he was a virtuoso violinist with the California Youth Symphony. His future in music was already mapped out ahead of him, from special schools for gifted musicians to one day playing solo at Symphony Hall. The day after his birthday his world came crashing down around him. A hereditary condition had robbed him of his hearing. Overnight David went from perfect pitch to deafening silence. He was devastated by a grief that nearly destroyed him.
“Good-Bye Tchaikovsky is a coming of age story with a twist. As David deals with the normal struggles of growing up, his profound hearing loss forces him to begin his life all over again. He feels like he doesn’t fit in the hearing world because he’'s deaf and he doesn’t fit in the deaf world because he can speak. By learning American Sign Language (ASL) he finds a way to cope and gradually his two worlds come together. But he still must face the hardest question of all. What will he do with the rest of his life?
As someone who is hearing impaired, I feel “Good-Bye Tchaikovsky” is an authentic portrayal of the challenges involved with sudden hearing loss. In telling David’'s story, Michael Thal has created a survival guide for young people who are hearing impaired.
Midwest Book Review
Told in first person perspective, Goodbye Tchaikovsky is a story of courage, adaptation, and the struggle to accept a new way of life. Highly recommended.