Publisher: NeWest Press
Released: March 22th, 2010
Genre: adult fiction, chick-lit
Review copy from publisher
27-year-old Frieda Zweig is at an impasse. Behind her is a string of failed relationships and half-forgotten ambitions of being a painter; in front of her lies the dreary task of finding a real job and figuring out what “normal” people do with their lives. Then, a classified ad in the local paper introduces Frieda to Gladys, an elderly woman who long ago gave up on her dreams of being a dancer.
The catch? Gladys is a ghost.
From NeWest Press website.
Please don’t ask me what genre this book is. I know, I know, if you look up above I’ve got it down as “chick-lit” and the even more ambiguous and confusing term “adult fiction”. But I really just put those there because I had to have something. I could also add comedy, mystery, ghost story…… Cuz Dance, Gladys, Dance is all of those things. And they all combined to make a wonderful, heartwarming, funny, sad, touching and realistic story.
Anyone who has chosen a different life path and struggles with that decision from time to time is going to be able to identify strongly with Frieda and what she’s going through. I think there are lots of us (especially women) who struggle to design a “normal” life, only to realize it really isn’t for them. And that’s a strong theme throughout the book. The fact that society tries so hard to tell us what we should be doing as adults, what’s normal and what’s acceptable. What it all comes down to is you have to do what makes you happy and what makes you comfortable in your own skin. Some people achieve this early in life while others take a bit longer to get there.
Frieda isn’t the only one struggling to find herself and really decide what she wants in life. There are a slew of characters, all at different ages and stages of their life, who aren’t quite sure if they’re doing it right. I really enjoyed meeting these characters and watching them evolve. I also love that someone who, at first glance, seemed like a tertiary character, ended up being essential to the plot and Frieda’s story.
I wasn’t quite sure how the ghostie angle was going to work, but I loved it. While at times it offered a bit of comedic relief, Gladys tells her life story and in doing so helps Frieda. The ghost angle could have been weird and over-the-top, but it wasn’t. It fit in perfectly with some of the other plot lines.
The writing was quick and snappy, particularly the dialogue. In fact, some of the dialogue reminded me of the dialogue in Gilmore Girls. If you know me, you know that’s pretty much the highest praise I can give. The dialogue made me smile a lot and I could definitely picture it on the big screen.
I think anyone who enjoys a serious story with some humour in it and characters that turn out to be perfect in their imperfection will love Dance, Gladys, Dance. I know I did.
I have one copy of Dance, Gladys, Dance to one lucky Canadian reader. All you have to do is comment below and tell me what you’re reading now. Contest will be over July 10th, 11:59 EST.