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Dal Segno - Jax Meyer

Ever heard the phrase - “I’m a bit rusty”. Generally, it means that it takes a bit to get going, that

the first movements in the skill you used to have, and you’re trying to demonstrate now, are

staccato in nature.

Dal Segno is the epitome of “I’m a bit rusty”. Let me qualify that. The book isn’t rusty. The main character, Cam, she’s rusty, because life has conspired to throw a layer of rust on her life.

Her long-term partner died and she’s locked down her emotions because of her grief. She's finished with the Marines, walking away with tears of enduring ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t

Tell’. She is rusty when relating to people--her autism and social awkwardness play a part.

In Dal Segno, we meet Cam as she turns forty, and watch as she starts to shake off the

rust, moving forward into a life she deserves. She does this when she enrols in community college and

reconnects with Laura, her old music teacher from high school. Then, of course, even though she

doesn't see it happening, she starts to fall in love.

Here’s the clever trick. Cam plays the drums. She's allowed her skills slide over

the years, but part of shaking off rust is finding what's underneath. So Cam re-awaken her love for the instrument is part of that underneath. See where I’m going with this? Jax Meyer did it on purpose.

When a person reconnects with an instrument, it can be tentative. Staccato in nature. It’s not entirely smooth. In Dal Segno, the prose in the first third of the book is stilted. It matches Cam’s formal mannerisms and speech pattern, and travels alongside her found-again relationship with percussion.

Then, like all musical instruments, we start to like what we hear because it’s smoother, more fluid

and more comfortable. We see Cam and Laura slide into their relationship, we see Cam open up

to her grief, and we settle into the prose.

Like a great piece of music with a solid bass line, you want to move with it, to bop along, almost

cheer as it hits its stride. Believe me when I say that I was bopping along and waving pompoms

for Cam by the end of the book.

Jax also made me cry, which is awfully unfair of her. I don’t cry in novels. I cry at insurance ads

and the ones where Labrador puppies unrol toilet paper. But the part where the music, the Dal Segno, reaches the last note and we see Cam take a deep breath? It's wonderful.


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