The Painting and The Piano, by John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo, is an improbable story of survival and love. It was released in February 2016.
Genres: Literary Nonfiction / Romance / Memoir / Addiction and Recovery
The childhoods of Johnny and Adrianne couldn’t have been more different. Not only were they born more than one-thousand miles apart, but the cultural and financial contrasts between their respective childhoods are equally as stark.
Old-money wealth and privilege defined Johnny’s childhood in Ladue, Missouri, which is to St. Louis what Scarsdale is to New York City or Beverly Hills to Los Angeles. From the moment of his birth, Johnny’s world was private clubs, private schools, private jets, high-society etiquette, and a loving nanny named Lizzy.
Middleclass Jewish values, bickering but loving parents, and the distinct character of Long Island defined Adrianne’s early life. It was public school, public transportation, Jones Beach, and Lawn Guyland rather than Long Island or tawk instead of talk.
However, Johnny and Adrianne’s childhoods share a tragic parallel that damaged each to the core of their psyche, their emotional well-being, and brought both to the brink of death.
Where their story diverges from so many others is that rather than fall into the darkness, Johnny and Adrianne reached for the light. Thus began their respective journeys of healing, which led from the slow death of addiction to a serendipitous meeting, falling in love and building a shared life dedicated to the service of others.
Told as a tandem narrative, Adrianne and Johnny pass their respective stories of childhood trauma and abuse, addiction, healing, and final triumph of love back and forth in alternating chapters. Their stories are unique, but share parallels that create a taut and emotionally compelling narrative.
Filled with hope, inspiration and humor, The Painting and the Piano is an unforgettable story of pain, loss and the undying human quest for happiness.
Praise for The Painting & The Piano:
“Two adults overcome damaging childhoods and addictions to find each other and rebuild their lives together in this affecting debut memoir.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Have you ever read a book, that upon finishing, you just knew would be a story that would stay with you for a long, long time? Well, that certainly was the case for me when I finished the last words of The Painting and The Piano… Authors John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo have done a splendid job in telling their unique stories in a wonderfully intertwined way that pulls them both together. The stories, though difficult, are told delicately, and will grab readers from the very beginning. I was unable to put down this book until the very end…” – Reviewed by Tracy Slowiak for Readers’ Favorite
Excerpt from The Painting & The Piano:
I’m in an office in Manhattan. There’s a large mirror embedded in one wall. The furniture is small, a table and two chairs built especially for children. There are a few toys, but none of them are very interesting.
The room is bare and cold, even though it’s mid-summer in Manhattan.
Honey, we have to go, but we’ll be back soon, okay? Mom says.
Where are you going? I feel fidgety and kick at the kiddie chair next to me.
Just for a little walk, not too far.
My tummy hurts and I don’t want to be there.
Okay, Ady Maidy? Dad asks.
We’ll be back in a jip, Mom adds.
Jiff, Dad says.
Jiff! We’ll be back in a jiff.
Good grief. She knows what I mean, don’t you honey?
Mom and Dad look at the woman who brought us to this room. I don’t remember her name, maybe it was Ms. Abramsky, but she’s wearing beige polyester pants and a sky blue short-sleeved blouse with a ruffle running along either side of the buttons.
Her arms are folded across her belly. It’ll be okay. Your mom and dad will be here in a minute.
I look at my parents. Mom and Dad are right here.
Mom’s eyes are sharp, head tilted, arms across her chest, purse grasped tightly in her right hand. Dad’s eyes are soft, moist. His hands are in his pockets.
I guess I mean Mr. and Mrs. Schoenowitz, Ms. Abramsky says.
Can we step out into the hall? Mom asks.
Yes Mrs. Cahn, replies Ms. Abramsky.
Will, why don’t you stay with Ady, Mom says to Dad. She and Ms. Abramsky step into the hall. The door shuts solidly behind them.
I couldn’t hear what they said, nor do I think I wanted to, but when I was older Mom rehashed the conversations she’d had with the agency.
Everything was fine until I called to say we wanted to adopt Adrianne, Mom remembered saying.
I know, responded Ms. Abramsky.
When we first came into this agency we were very clear that we were looking for a baby girl that we could adopt—
I wasn’t here then—
I know that, but it should be in the file because when we were called we were told that you had a little girl from drug-addicted parents and that it would be a long-term foster parenting opportunity that probably would turn into an adoption.
At that time the mother was in jail and the father was nowhere to be found, said Ms. Abramsky.
Right…and all the time your agency is telling us, ‘Don’t worry, everything is fine—’
And it was. When you asked about adopting Adrianne we had to try and contact the biological parents, which we did—
—When Adrianne was born Mrs. Schoenowitz voluntarily put Adrianne into foster care, so we had to try to speak to both Mr. and Mrs. Schoenowitz—
So that’s why we’re here now—
—and they wanted to meet Adrianne.
What about adopting Adrianne? Is that still in the picture?
Mrs. Cahn, we’re a foster agency and in no way an adoption agency. We have certain guidelines.
Does one of those guidelines include telling Mrs. Schoenowitz she has the right to take Adrianne back?
It took a long time for Mom to get an answer to that question.
Johnny and Adrianne reside in South Florida with their Yorkie, Holly. Both are involved in the AA/Recovery community. Adrianne currently works at a recovery house and Johnny continues speaking, sponsoring and helping others in recovery.
To learn more, go to http://www.paintingpiano.com/
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Johnny and Adrianne, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.807.9027.