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Pretending to Dance by Diane ChamberlainPublisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
My rating: 5 stars out of 5
TBT Review Date: October 5, 2015
My ReviewOh the tears! Do yourself a favor and have tissue close by. What a compelling book - so many emotions, so much hurt over so many years with a beautiful, beautiful conclusion. Pretending to Dance is told in first person from the perspective of Molly - Molly both as a 38 year old attorney who seemingly has it all together and a 14 year old girl in the worst summer of her life.
Modern day Molly and her husband Aidan have it all together and are living an active, fulfilled life - or so it seems. After having a tragic miscarriage that leaves her unable to have children, they are pursuing an open adoption. Aidan comes from a deeply, loving family while Molly has no living parents - or at least that what she has told Aidan. But as Molly comes to terms with all the emotions surrounding adopting a child, she finds that she must also come to terms with her past.
We visit Molly’s past through the eyes of a 14 year old on the cusp of young womanhood. She sits between the little girl world of boy band crushes and the all-too-real world of older boys and dangerously foolhardy friends. She is a devoted daughter to her father, a brilliant therapist who is rapidly losing the fight to MS. Molly is, through and through, a Daddy’s Girl and, as such, is not close to her mother, Nora. Tragedy strikes that fateful summer and Molly always blames Nora.
The tale is woven beautifully. Ms. Chamberlain takes the reader to the idyllic Swannanoa Mountains in Western North Carolina to the homestead of Molly’s extended family.Your heart aches for Molly. Even in the mistakes made by a young teen, the ones you can see coming from a mile away as the reader takes it in with an adult eye and adult knowledge, will leave you aching for this woman and the pain that she’s going through. The story centers a lot on adoption and all the myriad emotions that go along with it. It also delves deeply into the death of a beloved parent and the challenges an end-stage illness brings to everyone in a family. There is some relatively graphic sexual content (in scenes with the aforementioned “older boy”) that make this an adult book. All of these deeply emotional situations were woven together into a masterful story with a gratifyingly redemptive ending. Ms. Chamberlain’s writing swept me away into Molly’s world and had me wishing I could just give her a much needed hug - both scared and lonely teenaged Molly and scared and worried adult Molly.