The Skin Above My Knee by Marcia Butler


Music was everything for Marcia Butler. Growing up in an emotionally desolate home with an abusive father and a distant mother, she devoted herself to the discipline and rigor of the oboe, and quickly became a young prodigy on the rise in New York City's competitive music scene.

But haunted by troubling childhood memories while balancing the challenges of a busy life as a working musician, Marcia succumbed to dangerous men, drugs and self-destruction. In her darkest moments, she asked the hardest question of all: Could music truly save her life?

A memoir of startling honesty and subtle, profound beauty,
The Skin Above My Knee is the story of a woman finding strength in her creative gifts and artistic destiny. Filled with vivid portraits of 1970's New York City, and fascinating insights into the intensity and precision necessary for a career in professional music, this is more than a narrative of a brilliant musician struggling to make it big in the big city. It is the story of a survivor.

Wow. This memoir was incredible.

I thought I would like it, because I grew up playing music and I understand that world a little bit. But this was SO GOOD and blew my expectations out of the water. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but when I do, it pick up a memoir. I love tragedy in my fiction, I love tragedy in my nonfiction. And ooooh boy, did this book fit that requirement.

The Skin Above My Knee was raw and heart wrenching and poetic. It's only 250-ish pages, but it's so full of tragic wonderfulness that it feels much longer--yet it reads quickly. Marcia Butler had a hard life, and she goes in detail about everything. From drugs and abuse to neglect and sexual harassment. And cancer. But she has survived it all, and bravely tells her tales. I was baffled and broken many times as I read this, but I loved every single moment.

Everything I could say about this book can be summed up to this: you should read it, no matter how hard it may be sometimes. It's absolutely worth it.

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