Tuesday, May 29, 2012
By. Hannah Barnaby
About: “…Except, that’s a lie. I lie all the time. When mother asks me if I’ve been near the elephants again, I lie. When Mosco accused me of being the one who switched Marie’s knives around, I lied then, too. (I didn’t really mean to switch the knives, though. I was just looking at them and then I guess I put them back wrong. It wasn’t really my fault—they all look the same.)” –page 236
Portia is a 13-year-old girl growing up in the Midwest during the depression. Her family of assumed gypsies has left her in the care of her Aunt Sophia who encourages her wild imagination and lets her stay up late reading pulp novels. When Aunt Sophia can no longer care for Portia she is sent to a home for wayward girls that is run by an evil man that goes by the name of “Mister”. After a tragic accident that kills Portia’s best friend, Portia runs off to join a touring vaudeville show. She travels with them in order to escape Mister, the guilt she holds for the death of her best friend, and to hopefully find her father who never misses a show.
Why I picked it up: I loved the cover’s illustrative qualities and I usually enjoy books that explore vaudeville culture.
Why I finished it: This book is well written, descriptive, and wildly creative. I found Portia to be a great role model for girls and I think this book would be of interest to a lot of different audiences. Also, the vaudeville characters of the novel are based on real people and their personal history is told in the back of the book. You will read this book, love it, and spend countless hours looking up the people that inspired the characters in the novel.
I’d give it to: Everyone, but especially girls that have a wild imagination and people that are interested in esoteric historical fiction