Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain
Published October 6, 2015
Summary on Goodreads
I absolutely adored this book.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect since I hadn’t read nor heard too much of the author’s previous works.  However, I was pleasantly surprised.

The book went between two time periods: the present day when Molly and her husband are looking for an open adoption because they are eager to start their own family after many unsuccessful tries on their end and twenty years ago in the summer when Molly was just 14 years old living with her adoring father and mother at her Grandmother’s ridge.  Or was it a plantation?  Something along those lines. 

It was also good that I read this book in its hardcopy version rather than an audiobook otherwise I might have been confused with all the back and forth between the two time periods especially since it was also like All The Light We Cannot Seen where they didn’t alternate in each chapter.  Sometimes it was two chapters in San Diego, the present day, and then maybe three chapters in Morrison Ridge, Molly’s childhood home.  It definitely helped me for me to see the transitions very clearly because god knows, I would be confused all over again.

So Molly, the main character, was a very complex character.  I liked her when she was 14 and I liked her when she was 34; however, I didn’t at all like her when she plagued herself with something that happened 20 years ago and let it affect her marriage and potential future adopted child and I really hated her when she was growing up during that summer so long ago.  She was so innocent in the beginning of the book with her simply aiming to please her parents especially her father whom she absolutely adored.  However, due to a rather toxic friendship with a nearby girl, she grew up in the worst manner.  She was only 14 yet her innocence was taken from her because she tried to “be like the others” but the only person she hung out with was Stacy and that was only 2-3 times before the incident.  And because of all this, she allowed herself to disobey her parents, caused her to sneak out and do drugs, and ended up in a situation that she had regretted the rest of her life.  She was so immature and rude at the end that I really couldn’t stand her.  I don’t ever remember my childhood being like that.  I think the difference between me and her though was the fact that I wasn’t so sheltered that I knew what was right from wrong whereas she grew up in a plantation pretty much as the only kid (other than her cousin Dani who was 3 years older and therefore didn’t like each other much) and all of the parents adored and spoiled her.  Regardless, I still admired the woman she grew up into but was sad to see what had haunted all those years ago and how much it had affected her life.

There were a lot of sensitive topics that were discussed in this book: open adoptions, biological mothers, racism, underage sex, drug use and many others.  I was actually retarded and didn’t link the whole parallel thing with the open adoption Molly was currently trying to do with her husband with her childhood circumstances until it was pointed out to me in the book and then I was like oh wow duh.  I was also surprised to see drug use in the South during the 80s (I’m assuming it’s the 80s).  For some reason, I feel like the South is very, very isolated and in their own world half the time that it just surprised me.   Also I was shocked to find out the origin of Molly and her parents and her true biological mother.  For a place as conservative as the South, it seemed almost scandalous to think so.

The ending was so good – so heartwarming.  I was glad to see how everything came together at the end and the result with Molly and her husband’s adoption plans.  I also found out that this is book one in a series but I haven’t seen anything about a book two so…maybe it’ll be more on Molly and her life or perhaps a different individual altogether.  I’d definitely be interested in picking up the second book.



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