The Skin Above My Knee

  • by Marcia Butler
  • Narrated by Marcia Butler
  • 6 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"[Butler] writes lovingly and beautifully....The light and the dark fight it out in this fierce, fiery memoir." (Kirkus Reviews)
"In her debut memoir, The Skin Above My Knee, Marcia Butler shows us how music - listening to it, playing it, losing it, and rediscovering it - can save us. With bravery and honesty, she unflinchingly tells her story. And through it all, music resonates and becomes the soundtrack for us all." (Ann Hood, author of The Book That Matters Most)
"With clear-eyed courage and spare, lyrical prose, The Skin Above My Knee carries us not only into the mesmerizingly compelling world of a professional oboist, it also takes us into her love-starved childhood, her self-destructive young adulthood, and a descent into a solitary darkness that only her art can save from her; Marcia Butler has composed her own music here, and it is filled with passion and yearning and ultimately the kind of beauty that can save us all. This is a gorgeous book." (Andre Dubus III)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Sad, monotone

It was a struggle to get through but I wanted to finish it. I spent the whole book hoping it would pick up and it never did. The readers voice was very monotonous and annoying especially when she's pretending to be her childhood self but she sounds like she's 50. She has a very pessimistic, sometimes entitled outlook that never really changes. I can usually find a way to relate to most books but this one I just couldn't; I think it was her attitude and voice.
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- Julianna

Lyrical and inspiring. Unforgettable.

This memoir is so much more than a biography. Gorgeously written, poetic and down to earth, heart wrenching and heart warming, full of inspiring tales and lessons learned. The musical passages still float through my mind and soul. The family and romantic sagas are still in my heart. The author's voice is the perfect delivery for this epic yet human story. Unforgettable.
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- Rosanne Limoncelli

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-21-2017
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio