Rosie is alone in the world. Okay, not really, but for all intents and purposes she may as well be. It's not that everyone has disappeared from the face of the Earth leaving her behind to fend for herself, but it can sure feel that way to a young girl. Let's take stock of her current situation. Her father ran off with someone else several years ago, yet tries to show his "love" by sending her money every week (hence the box of growing bills hidden away in her room....the hidden part, definitely reveals how she's dealt with the feelings from this situation). Her mother, unable to move on finds solace in her work and perhaps the arms of another that aren't exactly free to accept visitors. Her friends are scattered about since it's summer time and each had their own agendas, most not including her. Her grandfather....is dying. (I'll give you a moment to digest that shorter sentence....all better? Okay, let's continue....)
One day after coming home from window washing (her work), Rosie's mother drops this heart-wrenching news on young Rosie. The only thing is that while it is a bitter pill to swallow, the real tragedy is that she has yet to truly get to know him...a simple fact that is about to be rectified. Unable to come to terms with her father since the last disagreement they had any more than she can with her ended marriage, her mother suggests Rosie visit with him throughout the summer. Spend some time with him, get to know him...the works. Begrudgingly, Rosie takes to the task at hand if only to escape her life as it now stands. Little does she know the change in herself as well as her world that is about to take place thanks to the forever bonds of family and the colorful world of dance. Watch as one persons small steps within a growing crowd, enables a garden of color to blossom before the eyes of a loved one simply as a means to remember and be remembered.
The House of Dance is not only the book's title, but also the dance studio within the novel. It becomes a source of great joy for Rosie as she trains to bring the vibrant world her grandfather has traveled to in his mind and memory to life once again through dance. Anyone that has ever taken a dance lesson (*raises hand* ....ballet and tap for me when I was younger) or even attempted to learn a new step on their own can appreciate the dedication even the smallest venture requires as well as the heart necessary to really make it shine. You've seen people on TV dance before. You can tell who is having the time of their lives (okay, stole that line from Dirty Dancing, the movie...but it fit perfectly) and who is merely going through the motions. It shows on their faces, in their body language, and during the overall performance. Dance is an expression of oneself that can communicate our true feelings and emotions for better of worse...that's why I think it works so well for this story. The author's choice for Rosie to truly make a final connection with her grandfather, her mother, and the whole of the town as one through dance is a graceful way to show that the bonds of life run deep....much deeper than we can even know...and that making someone's experience here better starts with just one little step in their direction.
Special thanks to HarperCollins Children's Books/HarperTEEN for the review copy. (THANK YOU!) For more information on this title and many more, stop by their site or follow along on Twitter! Look for a special post featuring another review on a title from this author (The Heart Is Not A Size) coming in May as an informal book tour (organized by Amy over at My Friend Amy) makes its rounds here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!
It's a simple question really.....in addition to any comments you'd like to share about the book or review, I'm curious to know....do you dance? If so, why? What type of dancing do you enjoy? Be it fast or slow, rumba or ballroom....feel free to share!
Until next time....happy reading!