Pretending to Dance

Pretending to Dance

Large Print - 2015
Average Rating:
9
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Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She and her husband live in San Diego, where they hope to soon adopt a baby. But the process terrifies her. As the questions and background checks come one after another, Molly worries that the truth she's kept hidden about her North Carolina childhood will rise to the surface and destroy not only her chance at adoption, but her marriage as well. She ran away from her family twenty years ago after a shocking event left her devastated and distrustful of those she loved: Her mother, the woman who raised her and who Molly says is dead but is very much alive. Her birth mother, whose mysterious presence raised so many issues. The father she adored, whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison Ridge. Now, as she tries to find a way to make peace with her past and embrace a future filled with promise, she discovers that even she doesn't know the truth of what happened in her family of pretenders.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine :, Thorndike Press,, 2015.
Edition: Large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781410480408
1410480402
Characteristics: 603 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.

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JCLColleenO Jul 06, 2017

Molly and Aiden are unable to have children and so decide to go for an open adoption but Molly has a problem there are many questions about her past life and own childhood and she has lied to everyone since leaving her family home when she was 18. She has even said that her mother is dead when she is very much alive. Gradually truths start to come out and the story is told by the present day Molly and the much younger one so you get to realise why she has told so many lies but will her past life affect her future one and how will Aiden react if he finds out the whole truth. A great story with many twist and turns along the way to keep you guessing.

h
hawchoo
Apr 26, 2017

Oh the tears! Do yourself a favor and have tissue close by. What a compelling book - so many emotions, so much hurt over so many years with a beautiful, beautiful conclusion. Pretending to Dance is told in first person from the perspective of Molly - Molly both as a 38 year old attorney who seemingly has it all together and a 14 year old girl in the worst summer of her life.

Modern day Molly and her husband Aidan have it all together and are living an active, fulfilled life - or so it seems. After having a tragic miscarriage that leaves her unable to have children, they are pursuing an open adoption. Aidan comes from a deeply, loving family while Molly has no living parents - or at least that what she has told Aidan. But as Molly comes to terms with all the emotions surrounding adopting a child, she finds that she must also come to terms with her past.

We visit Molly’s past through the eyes of a 14 year old on the cusp of young womanhood. She sits between the little girl world of boy band crushes and the all-too-real world of older boys and dangerously foolhardy friends. She is a devoted daughter to her father, a brilliant therapist who is rapidly losing the fight to MS. Molly is, through and through, a Daddy’s Girl and, as such, is not close to her mother, Nora. Tragedy strikes that fateful summer and Molly always blames Nora.

The tale is woven beautifully. Ms. Chamberlain takes the reader to the idyllic Swannanoa Mountains in Western North Carolina to the homestead of Molly’s extended family.Your heart aches for Molly. Even in the mistakes made by a young teen, the ones you can see coming from a mile away as the reader takes it in with an adult eye and adult knowledge, will leave you aching for this woman and the pain that she’s going through. The story centers a lot on adoption and all the myriad emotions that go along with it. It also delves deeply into the death of a beloved parent and the challenges an end-stage illness brings to everyone in a family. There is some relatively graphic sexual content (in scenes with the aforementioned “older boy”) that make this an adult book. All of these deeply emotional situations were woven together into a masterful story with a gratifyingly redemptive ending. Ms. Chamberlain’s writing swept me away into Molly’s world and had me wishing I could just give her a much needed hug - both scared and lonely teenaged Molly and scared and worried adult Molly.

This review appears on my blog, Purrfectly Bookish.

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Dec 11, 2016

I really couldn't get into this book. It felt like I was reading three different books; one about a girl whose father has MS, another about a girl influenced by her new friend, and another about a woman trying to adopt. Molly was not a consistent character at all. The only consistency throughout the book is that 14 year old Molly is failed by nearly every adult in her life.

o
onarock
Aug 20, 2016

great story. i knew what was going on, but i am sure a 14 yr old with things on her mind wouldn't. i loved the way the tale unfolded. the writing style.
will have to read another of her books

k

l
Liselara
Jul 26, 2016

I thought that this was a rather bizarre novel, especially the "Pretend Therapy" practiced by one of the characters. Once I became familiar about the family "compound" (I appreciated the map) young Molly was forced to exist in, I understood exactly why she would leave as soon as she could. Perhaps if I had grown up adopted or in a blended family, I would have understood this better. In the earlier days, I found Molly acted more like 12 than 14 years old.
The Chapters on the "older" Molly are very poignant (the novel goes back in forth in time). However, had this been the first book that I had read from Chamberlain, I doubt that I would have picked up another. Chamberlain's "The Silent Sister" blew me away; read that in one sitting.

a
aprilhansen1234
Jul 21, 2016

good book but the book had nasty food prints and alittle water damage inside it too

karcoldelharvic5 Apr 02, 2016

Great read. Haven't got one of her books I didn't like

m
MLovgren
Mar 07, 2016

One of Diane Chamberlain's best books!

e
epelto12
Oct 30, 2015

Molly and her husband, Aidan, live in San Diego. They've tried unsuccessfully to have children of their own, so now they are going through the adoption process. During the lengthy and intrusive questionings by the adoption agency, Molly tells some lies. They are the same lies she has told Aidan. About her family in Morrison Ridge -- what happened to her mother and father, as well as the rest of her family that she does not keep in touch with. This whole process causes Molly to remember what really happened back then, when she was just a teenager.

Flashing back to Molly's life at 14, she is bespectacled, loves New Kids on the Block, and is just exploring her teenage freedom. Molly's father has MS which has paralyzed him to the neck, so he is wheelchair-bound and has a live-in assistant named Russell. Her father is a psychiatrist who specializes in "Pretend Therapy" (e.g. pretend you aren't shy, and eventually you won't be). Molly spends a lot of her summer with her dad, helping him write his book and then going on a book tour. During the summer, Molly finds out some shocking details about her parents that change her view of them forever.

Molly also has a new friend. Stacy is the only girl her age that has stayed in town for the summer, and she is very mature -- she has a high school boyfriend that has a friend who is interested in Molly. Molly is nervous, but Stacy lends her a copy of Judy Blume's "Forever" to read to catch her up.

Molly's innocent side (hanging out with dad, crushing on the New Kids on the Block) clashes violently with her new, growing up side (sneaking around with boys). That summer will change her life forever, in more ways than one.

"Pretending to Dance" is a masterfully woven story taking you from the past to the present effortlessly. It has great writing and keeps you guessing, giving you false paths to follow until the true ending is revealed. Highly recommended.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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