May Book Group Read: Meet Marie-Grace

Thank you so much for being patient everyone!  Everything is going fine here, or as well as can be expected.  I did have a nice, relaxing Thursday since my car was in the shop being worked on and I got caught up on a few things, including finishing the book!

I am ashamed to admit that I’ve had this book in my possession for nearly 3 years and I’d never read it.  This was part of my incentive to start the book group, I have a few more that I haven’t read as well as many others I don’t own, and I wanted to change that.  And am I ever glad!  I totally loved this book and I was very disappointed when I got to the end of it.  So much so, that I’m going to look on Amazon for the rest of the series, I enjoyed it that much.

Meet Marie-Grace caught my attention from the very beginning.  I’ve always been interested in New Orleans culture and after taking several years of French in school, it was fun seeing how the language fit in to the story line.  Another part I thought that was very good and very informative was the part about the blacks who weren’t slaves, the “free people of color”.  I liked how the subject was brought up and how it was explained.  I can honestly say that I don’t ever remember learning about the subject in my school history classes and given our current social climate, I think it’s an excellent lesson to be taught.

And then there was Lavinia.  I much preferred the way they handled the situation with her as opposed to the antagonist in Isabelle.  They made her the appropriate amount of annoying without it dominating the storyline.  As I read of the encounters and her attitude, I felt as though she was Marie-Grace’s version of Nellie Olsen from the Little House On The Prairie stories.  All that was missing was her horrible little brother!  (Shhhh, don’t tell me if he turns up later.)

The budding friendship between Marie-Grace and Cecile was fun to read about, particularly the part about the ball and their little bit of mischief.  I also liked the descriptions of the market and the school.  I felt completely immersed in the culture and could picture the scenes vividly in my head.

The only part I didn’t like about this book?  That it came to an end too soon!!!  I was ready to keep reading, and I guess I will just have to get the rest of them so I can.  I completely enjoyed the book and look forward to hearing more of the adventures of Marie-Grace and Cecile.  It’s a shame that these dolls didn’t catch on because it was such a fun story with a lot of valuable, but not commonly written about history involved.

Did you enjoy Meet Marie-Grace?

The book for June is Lea and July is Meet Rebecca.  I’m going to try my best to get the post up on June 15th as is customary, but it may be delayed as we now have our hands very full with a 2nd house!  Fingers crossed that once we get to a certain point, it won’t be too bad, but we have a lot of preparations and such that need to be done before we put it on the market.  Thanks everyone for understanding!

Book Group Reminder–Marie-Grace

Just wanted to remind everyone that on Monday we will be discussing the book Meet Marie-Grace.  Looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks about it!  I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me, this has been a great incentive to read some of the books I haven’t read before.

For June we will be discussing Lea and July will be Rebecca. We will take August and September off because I know a lot of people will be busy with the annual “back to school” stuff. We will start up again in October.

April Book Group Read: Isabelle

Hi everyone!!!  Are we ready to talk about this month’s book group read?  Let’s get started!

This months book was Isabelle by Laurence Yep.  In case you didn’t know, Isabelle was the Girl Of The Year for 2014.  She’s a dancer who has recently been accepted in a performing arts school where her sister attends, and unfortunately, finds herself living in the shadow of her big sister, also a talented dancer.

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t read this book prior to this, probably because the subject matter didn’t interest me. I wasn’t a dancer when I was younger, and I didn’t have any friends who were either, so it was a story I couldn’t relate to at all. However, there were some aspects to the dance side of the story that I did really like! I especially liked the positive idea of how everyone is an individual and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others when it comes to our talents. As I read the book, I was continually thinking about the 80’s TV Show “Fame”, picturing the busy hallways and all of the different kids throughout the school, developing their artistic talents. And I loved the Washington DC references! My husband and I have been to Washington many times, and the descriptions of the different places were easy for me to picture in my mind as I read because of that. Washington DC is a wonderful place to visit, and I have to admit that I have always been a bit envious of anyone who lives in the area and can visit on a regular basis. So much to see and do, and I thought that was well represented throughout several parts of the book.

What I didn’t like–how the book started with a negative encounter between Isabelle and Renata. I would have rather had more development about Isabelle and Luisa at the beginning with the issues between Isabelle and Renata occurring later on. I also didn’t like how the book ended with Isabelle questioning her ability yet again. I realize it was probably done that way to encourage the reader to make sure they picked up the second book, but I didn’t care for the way it was presented.  Too much emphasis on negativity, and that bothered me.

I was also very surprised, in our politically correct culture to find that Isabelle’s sister and her group were going to be dancing as “gypsies”. Gypsy is one of those words that has a negative connotation in regards to a certain group of people known as the Romani, and for some members of that group, can be considered highly offensive. When I got to that part of the book I have to admit that I was a bit stunned. There were so many cultural and ethnic references throughout the book, not sure how this one got through.  They could have made the group as something else that wouldn’t have offended anyone. Not one of the best decisions on the part of whoever greenlights the books at American Girl.

My final take on the book is that I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I felt sort of middle of the road about it and I definitely did not enjoy it as much as I have some of the other American Girl books. I doubt I will take the time to look for the 2nd book in the series, although if I come across it at a yard sale or thrift store in my travels, I might pick it up.

What did you think of Isabelle?

Next month we will be discussing Meet Marie-Grace. June we will read Lea and July will be Rebecca.