- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (October 18, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250105013
- ISBN-13: 978-1250105011
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 22.6 x 206.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (347 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pretending to Dance: A Novel Paperback – October 18, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Molly and her husband, Aidan, want to adopt a baby. A young pregnant girl who wants to give her child up thinks that they may be the couple to become her baby's parents. But though Molly knows that she wants this baby, she is also unsure about being an adoptive mother. Her past looms close and hides a secret that she fears will unhinge not only this adoption but possibly her marriage. Alternating chapters tell the story of Molly's life during the summer she turned 14 in her small North Carolina town, juxtaposed with chapters about her life today as a lawyer in San Diego. She was raised in a loving family with a pharmacist mother and a therapist father with multiple sclerosis. That summer, Molly befriends a new girl who introduces her to an older boy, and subsequently drugs and sex. When a devastating event occurs and her beloved father dies, Molly is unable to reconcile the actions of her family. She is unable to trust them and leaves them behind, first for boarding schools and then for her adult life in San Diego. It is only her fear that the past is beginning to influence her present that pushes her to deal with those earlier events. VERDICT An excellent choice for mature teens who will follow Molly's burgeoning maturity as she tries to keep her father close and safe.—Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Praise for Pretending to Dance
“The author of The Silent Sister delivers another emotionally riveting page…A book rich in relatable characters and moving scenes, this stunning tale will linger with readers long after the last page.” ―RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick)
“A multilayered, poignant novel...Reminiscent of a Sarah Dessen or Sharon Creech novel, Pretending to Dance proves that a coming-of-age story can happen at any time in your life.” ―Booklist
“While the family argues and Molly’s hormones run wild, something else is going on that will make for the explosive revelation at novel’s end.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Pretending to Dance
“Chamberlain writes a page turned that sneaks up on you, so that you don’t realize you’re turning page after page long after it’s time to set the book down and do something else, even go to sleep at night…It’s compelling and wonderfully suspenseful.” –Durham Herald-Sun
“A page turner...Chamberlain’s poignant, well-rounded character sketches lift Pretending to Dance well above the norm.” ―Wilmington Star News
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Top Customer Reviews
Molly has issues; make that ISSUES. The antagonist of this story is Molly's past, or as she clearly says, "My past is in my way, ... a roadblock, holding me back, keeping me from moving forward. I have no idea how to make it go away."
Her father is a psychologist, or psychotherapist. One of that ilk could become immersed in the characters of this novel. (Behaviorists could spend a career in the setting on Morrison Ridge.) He loves her and helps her, but in a hesitant 'when-you-are-old-enough-to-deal-with-it' manner that holds her back. Her mother explains it later, when Molly wishes she had known the truth of her childhood: "You couldn’t have handled it, honey. ... It wouldn’t have been fair for us to lay it on you. ..."
Molly wants to help nearly everyone, which young Miss M. describes as "the burden of needing to keep not only my father happy ...". When her husband attributes that 'helping' character element to her, she thinks, "...I am not that generous person Aidan described." She has one thought from which to draw that conclusion, an example of Molly's think-and-react nature. Despite having become a lawyer, she is not a person who gathers evidence when dealing with her own life, not a builder of plus-and-minus tables, not a mental calculus aficionado. I am not like this gal.
Nearly everyone wants to help Molly, but for most of her life she has not helped herself, now won't let the person closest to her do it, and has shut out those who want to come back into her life. Nobody has her address, and Molly lacks the ability to address her past without the people who created it: "There have been months… maybe even years … when I haven’t thought once about Amalia. ... I know she’s tried to get in touch with me through Dani over the years, the same way Nora has, ...".
Author Diane Chamberlain weaves an excellent tale, supported by her research, and stays within the historic timeframe(s) of the story. There are descriptive gems for readers like me that marvel at the writer's capability, including these jewels:
• "I sat alone in the dark, my body trembling convulsively. I felt nauseous, as though if I tried to get up off the bed, I’d get sick. My body was sore and my heart ached."
• "Practicing law lifts pretense to an art form. I pretend every day that my clients are in the right, that I am not twisting the truth to win their cases. ... but I know the truth about myself and my work: I am a pretender of the first order. And I’m a little tired of it."
Enjoy "Pretending to Dance." I did.
Molly is a keeper of secrets about her childhood in North Carolina. She has told Aiden that her family is dead. Diane Chamberlain cleverly and seamlessly intersperses chapters about Molly's childhood twenty years earlier with the progress of Sienna's pregnancy. The most important person in Molly's childhood was her father Graham, who was almost completely incapacitated by MS. As Molly's stories of her past and present play out, many parallels become apparent.
T characters are wonderfully drawn, and I developed great affection for many of them. With a lesser writer, this story could have been seen as contrived and unbelievable, but the characters made the plot work. Readers who like Diane Chamberlain will love this book. When I am in the mood to be entertained, she is my go-to writer.
My other favorite book of Diane Chamberlain's is Necessary Lies, which dealt with the topic of eugenics. I appreciated that she didn't shy away from something potentially sensitive enough to turn off readers. I wasn't looking it to it for suspense--I got what I was looking for. It was sensitive and explored the issues in ways that touched me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was not meant for parenting tips, but with the father being a psychologist I got a few reminders. Bonus!Read more