Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dancing in the Dark (review)

2.5/5 stars

Dancing in the Dark wasn't terrible.  But considering it has two of my favorite things, dancing stories and religious doubt, and I still couldn't like it, that's not a good sign for the book.

The biggest problem with this book is that it feels to juvenile.  Yes I understand Ditty lives with an overprotective orthodox Jewish family so she's expected to be naive.  But naiveté alone does not make a story juvenile.  This story has the great opportunity to show those who are kept away from the world are not somehow less.  It should have great conversations about faith, doubt and family.

Instead it's tedious, having a few really good moments (the beginning I liked) then dragging again.  The pacing is just terrible.  There was a point when the story briefly got exciting and I thought "okay let's turn this thing around," then Ditty slept for 2 straight weeks.  Stories need to move and this one just didn't.

Sometimes the book did not use appropriate language, for example when 17-year-old Ditty says, "The butterflies in my tummy are still beating their wings..." I cringed because that's just terrible writing and even worse editing.  I don't care how protected Ditty is, using the word tummy over stomach in any context just doesn't work.

There is nothing horribly offensive or terrible about this book, nor is there anything to highly recommend it.  It has it's moments.  I enjoy seeing into a different faith than my own, but Ditty is never developed enough to carry the conversations that this book needs to be great.

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