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The Life Fantastic: A Novel in Three Acts by [Ketchum, Liza]
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The Life Fantastic: A Novel in Three Acts Kindle Edition

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Length: 258 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7–10Vaudeville in the early 1900s makes for a thought-provoking setting for a tale of racial discrimination with direct parallels to today's issues. Teresa, a white girl with a golden voice, yearns to be on stage, as her parents were in their youth. Her parents, however, think otherwise. Her father declares that the theater is no place for a woman, but Teresa secretly defies him, sings in a talent competition, and runs away to New York City to pursue a performing career. Unfortunately, her younger brother, Pascal, stows away on the train, too, forcing Teresa not only to navigate the big city but also to provide for him. Another performer, Maeve, takes both siblings under her wing, as does the tap dancer Pietro. Teresa's understanding of the inequality and discrimination faced by people of color in and out of show business solidifies when her relationship with Pietro, who is black, threatens them both. The novel's sections, interspersed with passages written as lyrics and in a play-script style, don't always feel well integrated. Yes, the book is set on the vaudeville stage, but here the plot and characters are strong enough to carry that theme through without the distracting narrative devices. VERDICT Historical fiction, racial discrimination, a budding love story, and youthful characters make this a fine additional purchase for libraries with a large historical fiction fan base.—Lisa Ehrle, Falcon Creek Middle School, CO

Review

"Vaudeville in the early 1900s makes for a thought-provoking setting for a tale of racial discrimination with direct parallels to today's issues.... The plot and characters are strong enough to carry that theme.... Historical fiction, racial discrimination, a budding love story, and youthful characters make this a fine additional purchase for libraries." --School Library Journal

"Raised on the road with vaudevillian parents and gifted with a golden voice, young Teresa LeClair sets out to 'shoot for the stars--or die trying' in Ketchum's newest historical novel. A jam-packed ride through early-20th-century performance culture." --Kirkus Reviews

As seen in the Publishers Weekly African-American Titles for Young Readers feature

"The Life Fantastic provides a fascinating window into the 1900s New York vaudeville scene, while examining the complexities of family support and expectations, as well as burgeoning black activism ... .Ketchum fits it together seamlessly and entertainingly. Her love of vaudeville shines through Teresa and her descriptions of 1913 Broadway, but she does not ignore the built-in limitations placed on people of color." (VOYA Magazine)

“Ketchum weaves a gripping story of racial discrimination in the performing arts … .Ketchum paints a vivid portrait of the difficult life of a performer and the indignities and prejudice endured by artists of color … .Lovers of theater and history will find a great deal to sink their teeth into.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Ketchum’s new read stars a teen whose beautiful voice takes her out of her family home to the great New York City. Filled with young dreams and the realities of racial discrimination, it’s a story that’s as relevant today as ever.” (Brit + Co)

“Liza Ketchum creates a story as vibrant as the era itself … perhaps the greatest strength of the story is the historical accuracy tangible in the novel.  Ketchum manages to capture the unique flavor and tone of the era of Vaudeville --- the bond of shared dreams and challenges that connected performers as a family. a fun and quick read for younger teens.” (Teenreads)

“Provides much fodder for discussing race relations and the power of song.” (Booklist)

“This was a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the vaudeville circuit … .I love a good historical read, and I can’t advocate enough for these types of books that combine fiction and history in positive ways … to be required reading in our schools. Factual history books are important, sure, but if you can find a realistic character to empathize with … I think you’re going to be a more well-rounded person for it. Ketchum brought the 1910s NYC to life, using real songs and places to bring an air of authenticity to the novel.” (Forever Young Adult)

Product details

  • File Size: 1046 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1440598762
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (January 1, 2017)
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2017
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01N1GDV1G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,616,013 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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