The Skin Above My Knee by Marcia Butler

The Skin Above My Knee

byMarcia Butler

Hardcover | February 21, 2017

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One of the Washington Post's "Books We've Loved So Far in 2017"

The unflinching story of a professional oboist who finds order and beauty in music as her personal life threatens to destroy her.


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.

About The Author

Marcia Butler was a professional oboist for 25 years, until her retirement from music in 2008. During her musical career, she performed as a principal oboist and soloist on the most renowned New York and international stages, and with many high-profile musicians and orchestras. She lives in New York City.
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Details & Specs

Title:The Skin Above My KneeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.56 × 6.38 × 0.88 inPublished:February 21, 2017Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316392286

ISBN - 13:9780316392280

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"Such is the miracle of art. But Butler also makes us confront its limits, as redemption in life is rarely whole or permanent. Music saved her from an unhappy home, but it could not fill the throbbing vacuum caused by a parent's lack of affection. Music did not rescue her from her attempts at self-destruction, though it did provide a place for her to experience a rare feeling of wholeness. Butler's unmistakable bravery turned a traumatized girl into a world-class musician, then into a writer of memorable grace and force. You hope, while reading Butler's transcendent words, that some of it will rub off on you."-National Book Review