One of 2017's 35 over 35
One of the Washington Post's Top 10 Classical Music Moments of the Year
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.
Little, Brown and Company; February 2017
- ISBN 9780316392266
- Read online, or download in secure EPUB format
- Title: The Skin Above My Knee
- Author: Marcia Butler
Imprint: Little, Brown and Company
In The Press
"Marcia Butler has written a beautiful memoir -- meticulously nuanced, daringly honest, and utterly inspiring. I'm not sure I've ever read a book that captures so fully the ability music has to transport, sustain, defend and elevate struggling human beings through difficult times."
—Tim Page, Pulitzer Prize winning music critic, The Washington Post, author of Parallel Play and Dawn Powell: A Biography
About The Author
Marcia Butler's nationally acclaimed memoir, The Skin Above My Knee, was one of the Washington Post's "top ten noteworthy moments in classical music in 2017". She was chosen as 2017 notable debut author in 35 OVER 35. Her work has been published in Literary Hub, PANK Magazine, Psychology Today, Aspen Ideas Magazine, Catapult, Bio-Stories and others. Her first piece of flash fiction appears in the anthology One Hundred Voices from Centum Press. Marcia was a 2015 recipient of a Writer-in-Residence through Aspen Words and the Catto Shaw Foundation.
Marcia was a professional oboist for twenty-eight years until her retirement in 2008. During her musical career, she performed as a principal oboist and soloist on the most renowned of New York and international stages, with many high-profile musicians and orchestras - including pianist Andre Watts, and composer/pianist Keith Jarrett. The New York Times hailed her as a "first-rate artist". She lives in New York City.