Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Party Shoes (1946)

Party Shoes. Noel Streatfeild. 1946. Oxford Children's Classics. 320 pages.

Party Shoes isn't quite what I expected it to be. It started out with great promise, I thought. We meet Selina, a girl living with her British cousins through the war (World War II). One day she receives a present from her American godmother. The parcel contains a beautiful (though inappropriate for the times) dress or 'frock' and some lovely shoes. Selina knows, as do her cousins and aunt and uncle that there will never be a suitable occasion for her to wear the dress and shoes. Not with the war on, not with the economy being what it is, not with shortages and restrictions, etc. So the cousins have a meeting. Every person has to suggest at least one idea of how Selina can wear her dress and shoes before she outgrows them. After many ideas are presented, everyone concludes that they will have a pageant on the neighbor's lawn. They set the date for September 20, 1945. And then they each begin writing their piece.

Selina does learn through the process that she is more capable than she ever thought, that she can do things, that she is good at many things, that she is great with working with people, solving problems, etc.

Over half the book is focused on the tiny details of the pageant, each scene of the pageant. We're there for what feels like three hundred rehearsals. Of course, that's not really the case. Probably more like forty. But still. As their scenes are changed, arranged, rearranged, scripted, directed, etc. I found most of the book tedious. I didn't want it to be tedious. I wanted it to be a delight. But most of the delight happened in the first hundred pages.

Read Party Shoes
  • If you like Noel Streatfeild
  • If you like reading about creativity, drama, etc. (writing poetry, dancing ballet, acting/directing drama, etc.)
  • If you like historical fiction set during this time period (1944-1945)
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


amanda @ simplerpastimes said...

The concept and setting sound intriguing, so it's too bad it turned out tedious. At least there was delight at the beginning.

QNPoohBear said...

You should have started with Ballet Shoes. That's the best! I love love love the scene towards the end of You've Got Mail where the Shoes books are mentioned. Up until that movie came out I thought I was the only one who had read them since they were first published.