One of my all time favorite books that I was recently, and blissfully, reunited with. Thank you, Mom, if you read this.
Noel Streatfeild's books were my constant companions as a girl. That sounds so incredibly drippy and naff but it's the truth. I read them all, and loved them all hugely. Ballet Shoes, Tennis Shoes, Circus Shoes, Dancing Shoes, Theater Shoes, Traveling Shoes, Party Shoes, Margaret Thursday's adventures and Gemma's successes- I couldn't (and can't) get enough.
Skating Shoes is one of my favorites of these, though, because, I think, Skating Shoes dealt with something I knew nothing about (I had more of an idea what the characters were up to in the other books tennis, ballet, music- well, not the circus one or the Margaret Thursdays) but also, because Lalla Moore in Skating Shoes does something so bad it's shocking. Streatfeild's characters are almost all good, very good, and although there is competition in some cases (Nicky and Susan Heath, in Tennis Shoes are competitive, but never directly, and although Pauline in Ballet Shoes often experiences success at Winifred's expense, it is never, ever intentional, and Pauline and her sister Petrova even offer to give up a part in a play that Petrova has already won, so that Winifred might have it.)
Lalla Moore, however, really is willing to tank her friend Harriet's chances of having a career- and it wouldn't even benefit her directly. Interesting stuff, and that Streatfeild was able to bring in that level of complex moral dilemma and have the reader (me!) understand why Lalla did it and why Harriet did what she did- well, I honestly think that it was for me an introduction into reading on a new level.
I know that sometimes I can seem ornery and point to something that looks trivial or seem glib when I say Skating Shoes made me a deeper reader, or that Gossip Girl books are damn good, but I do mean it. I guess that's why it's nice to keep this record, so I have a place to try to make sense of it.
Skating Shoes (good luck if you can get it- the books are (criminally) out of print, and I feel so so thrilled to have a copy) Quality: 10 Popularity: 9 Overall 19 C/YA/All