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Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family
by Daniel Bergner

Published: 2016-09-27
Hardcover : 320 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members
A New York Times bestseller

A New York Times Notable Book

A Washington Post Notable Book

A Publishers Weekly Book of the Year

As seen on CBS This Morning, NPR's Fresh Air, and People Magazine

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Library ...
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Introduction

A New York Times bestseller

A New York Times Notable Book

A Washington Post Notable Book

A Publishers Weekly Book of the Year

As seen on CBS This Morning, NPR's Fresh Air, and People Magazine

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Library Journal Nonfiction Pick of September

The New York Times bestseller about a young black man's journey from violence and despair to the threshold of stardom. "A beautiful tribute to the power of good teachers."--Terry Gross, Fresh Air


"One of the most inspiring stories I've come across in a long time."--Pamela Paul, New York Times Book Review

Ryan Speedo Green had a tough upbringing in southeastern Virginia: his family lived in a trailer park and later a bullet-riddled house across the street from drug dealers. His father was absent; his mother was volatile and abusive.

At the age of twelve, Ryan was sent to Virginia's juvenile facility of last resort. He was placed in solitary confinement. He was uncontrollable, uncontainable, with little hope for the future.

In 2011, at the age of twenty-four, Ryan won a nationwide competition hosted by New York's Metropolitan Opera, beating out 1,200 other talented singers. Today, he is a rising star performing major roles at the Met and Europe's most prestigious opera houses.

SING FOR YOUR LIFE chronicles Ryan's suspenseful, racially charged and artistically intricate journey from solitary confinement to stardom. Daniel Bergner takes readers on Ryan's path toward redemption, introducing us to a cast of memorable characters--including the two teachers from his childhood who redirect his rage into music, and his long-lost father who finally reappears to hear Ryan sing. Bergner illuminates all that it takes--technically, creatively--to find and foster the beauty of the human voice. And Sing for Your Life sheds unique light on the enduring and complex realities of race in America.

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Book Club Recommendations

recordings and video interviews help
by ksimpson (see profile) 11/22/16
Many of our group found online videos of his performances. We watched a PBS interview with Tavis Smiley that was recorded. It likely can be found online. It lasts about 15 minutes and does have a short clip of him performing.

Member Reviews

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  "A difficult child grows to be a Met star!"by ksimpson (see profile) 11/22/16

This book is an insightful look into the life of a child raised in family violence and his ability to escape the cycle and enter into the world of professional opera. It is an easy read and... (read more)

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