- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (April 30, 2008)
- ASIN: B001TKB478
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,459,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ten Cents a Dance [10 CENTS DANCE] Hardcover – April 30, 2008
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More About the Author
You can find out more and read excerpts from both books at www.christinefletcherbooks.com.
Top Customer Reviews
One night, Ruby's entire life changes. Tough-guy Paulie Suelze tells her how she can earn up to $50 a week. That much money could change Ruby's life. She could pay off the families grocery bill, get her mother's wedding ring out of the pawn shop, and maybe even get her mother and sister out of the Back of the Yards and into a decent house.
There is a hitch to the idea. The job isn't exactly a respectable one. She would be working as a taxi dancer, a girl who dances with men for money. For the cost of a dime, lonely men purchase the illusion of having a pretty girl who is interested in them, even if it is only for the length of a song. Since dancing is what Ruby does best, she figures there will be no problem earning that much money.
Ruby quits her job at the plant and devises a story so that her mother will let her stay out late every night, when the Dance Halls do their business. Ruby soon finds herself leading two lives and hiding each from the other.
Taxi dancing proves to be more complicated than Ruby thought. There is a hierarchy of girls to navigate through and earning good money means learning the act of subtle manipulation with the clients. Ruby soon learns that the world of taxi dancing is a complicated one and, as her new friend Peggy tells her, "every taxi dancer has a story."
Will Ruby be able to separate herself from this new world or will she become another one of its casualties?Read more ›
Fletcher's eye-opening and authentic novel of the brutality of life of the poor in 1940's Chicago is one that readers will succumb to easily, and won't be able to leave anytime soon. Ruby's sass and attitude will make her an instant favorite, and you can't help but root for this spunky girl as she learns the ups and downs of taxi dancehalls and struggles to keep out trouble. Fletcher's descriptions of that life, without being inappropriate, are enough so that you don't pity Ruby, but rather admire the strength and character of this girl, who had to grow up entirely too quickly.
I felt her need to be young, to have fun, to help her family and I admired her courage. Loved this book. Everything about it was pitch-perfect and I hope this author keeps writing!
Ruby, a sixteen year old living in the poor industrial area of Chicago, is a dropout, working in a factory where she packs pigs feet in brine to make money. Her widowed mother, can't get a job with knotted arthritic hands. She is left to spend her days sliding around in brine, and calculating how to pay for their next meal, back rent, and coal for the cook stove.
She is already feeling the tedious life that lays in front of her until Paulie, a local bad boy tells her about a job as a dance instructor at Starlight every evening. She is dazzled by the lovely girls in furs and jewelry. Mel, her new boss tells her the job pays a nickle for each dance plus tips, and Ruby finally sees a way to pull her family out of poverty. Worried about her religious mother's reaction, Ruby manages to hide her new job from her family and tells them she will be a phone operator.
The best part of her new life is Paulie, who shows her the exciting underbelly of crime. Ruby maneuvers her way into the routine of dancing and balancing her life, but the life of fast money comes with prices. It seems that while their clients were generous with money, they expected a lot more than she ever dreamed. Soon Ruby is tangle in a web of her own lies and faced decision that with change who she is, forever.
This book is a wonderful historical fiction read, but also a great warning to young people who may start down a questionable path with good intentions. There is also a message about abusive relationships that I wish was a more prominent part of the book. I love the characters in this story. They are developed, but not with writing, but what is left unsaid. I found myself filling the blanks for many of the mysterious supporting characters. This story is rich in detail, accuracy, and makes you take a hard look at what people will do to keep up illusions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Yes, there were dance halls and yes, some of the girls were fast but not all of them. Some of them just had to play the game to survive. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
A nice read. Interesting to read about taxi dancers - something I didn't really know much about.Published 7 months ago by ttot
It wasn't a feel good read for sure. Maybe I just couldn't identify with the poor choices the main character made.Published 8 months ago by C. Hall
It is good to read a book in this time period as we take so much in this country for granted. You will meet many brave women who struggle and scrape
everyday and... Read more
Part of history I've never heard about. Very entertainingPublished 8 months ago by Jeffrey P. Campbell
A real life situation, weather it's in 1944 or 2014, one parent families, trying to make ends meet, teenagers dropping out of school to start working to help support the family. Read morePublished 15 months ago by G Fontaine
I enjoyed Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher very much. I have always been interested in the story of taxi dancers and their nightly display of illusion that they earned... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Kali the Cat