Mia’s Mom and Dad met in their early twenties, when Dad was in a punk rock band. Unlike her parents, however, Mia’s love of the cello led her to classical music, her preferred genre. Classical music is what makes Mia feel unique, but it is also what makes her feel different, even within her own family. Her family is surprised by Mia’s affinity for the cello when she is young, but they soon come to realize that she has immense talent, and they support her music studies even if they can’t understand her choice of genre. Like Mom and Dad, Adam is also in a rock band, and Mia often feels out of place at his concerts and with his band mates, especially because she is quieter and more introverted than his loud, outgoing fans. For Halloween, Mia dresses up like Adam’s punk friends do—essentially crossing over from her world of classical music to the world of punk music—and feels more accepted by Adam’s community. However, Adam tells Mia that while he appreciates the effort, he likes her just the way she is. Mia ultimately comes to realize that it is a love for music, no matter the genre, that connects her to her family and to Adam.
Punk Rock and Classical Music Quotes in If I Stay
I know it’s silly but I have always wondered if Dad is disappointed that I didn’t become a rock chick. I’d meant to. Then, in third grade, I’d wandered over to the cello in music class—it looked almost human to me. It looked like if you played it, it would tell you secrets, so I started playing. It’s been almost ten years now and I haven’t stopped.
As usual, there is a battle for stereo dominance. Mom wants NPR. Dad wants Frank Sinatra. Teddy wants SpongeBob SquarePants. I want the classical-music station, but recognizing that I’m the only classical fan in the family, I am willing to compromise with Shooting Star.
Sometimes I did feel like I came from a different tribe. I was not like my outgoing, ironic dad or my tough-chick mom. And as if to seal the deal, instead of learning to play electric guitar, I’d gone and chosen the cello.
So I played. And even though you wouldn’t think it, the cello didn’t sound half bad with all those guitars. In fact, it sounded pretty amazing.
Yo-Yo Ma continues to play, and it’s like the piano and cello are being poured into my body, the same way that the IV and blood transfusions are. And the memories of my life as it was, and the flashes of it as it might be, are coming so fast and furious. I feel like I can no longer keep up with them but they keep coming and everything is colliding, until I cannot take it anymore. Until I cannot be like this one second longer.