Both the Movie and Book THE SOLOIST are Great

Dear Reader,

I loved the movie The Soloist, but I left the theater with unanswered questions about Steve Lopez’s commitment to helping Nathaniel Ayers. So I was glad I went on to read the book, because in it Lopez asks why he insists on helping Ayers and, further, whether he has the right to help him–force him into treatment for his schizophrenia. Lopez asks if he wants to be Ayers’ friend or more like his guardian, and wonders if he doesn’t get Ayers permanently off the street, will he have failed him.

Lopez has a conversation about Ayers with Mark Ragins, author of A Road to Recovery, which changes his (and my) perception of what “helping” means:

“Let him find his way. Be patient. Be his friend.

“`Relationship is primary.” Ragins says. ‘It is possible to cause seemingly biochemical changes through human emotional involvement. You literally have changed his chemistry by being his friend.'”

Wow! I can live with this.

The movie provides Lopez with more angst and unrest than the book, but that creates interesting conflict. The movie portrays Ayers a lot nicer than he is, which is okay, because it makes the audience care for him more.

See the movie then read the book!  Read the book then see the movie!

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