Friday, January 11, 2013

Guest Book Review: Finger Dancing

By Meredith Schorr

I was asked by Melissa Amster to review Finger Dancing by Sam Manty for Chick Lit Central and was given a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. (This originally came from Magna Carta Public Relations.)

At the beginning of Finger Dancing, 29 year-old Roxi Drax, a single Jewish woman living in Cape Town, South Africa, is torn between following her heart, living the life she wants and doing what her family expects of her, specifically her overbearing no-nonsense mother, Rosa and her play-it-safe married older brother, Adam. After getting canned from yet another corporate job, Roxi’s friend Mark (“Wiggis”) suggests that Roxi take a course in hypnotherapy. Roxi knows her mother and brother would disapprove but since she’s convinced that climbing the corporate ladder is not for her, she cautiously agrees. Roxi surprises herself by finding hypnotherapy to be extremely satisfying and is even more pleased to discover that she is quite a natural. As Roxi continues to learn and grow in the field, she realizes that going back to the life her mother wants for her is no longer an option, but making her mother understand will not be easy.

Finger Dancing was a deeply layered novel that was not only about Roxi but also about her mother and her brother and how drastically each of their lives changed throughout the book. I really liked how all three characters developed throughout the course of the novel and learned to open themselves up to new experiences and trust their own hearts. I would say that character development was the strongest aspect of the book. Additionally, I had never read a book set in Cape Town and the author’s descriptions really put me in the scene. Finally, there were many twists and turns in the book and I never knew where the author was going. The book was not at all predictable or formulaic. I found the ending to be very satisfying.

I did have some problems with the book. While, as stated above, the book was not at all predictable, I felt that some of this was a result of a lack of story structure. I didn’t quite get the plot of the novel until about half-way through. The transitions from scene to scene were a bit choppy and I was often confused and had to read the paragraphs more than once. While the writing itself was very good – the author has a very unique writing style and is quite skilled at description - some of the punctuation threw me for a loop. There were times the author used a question mark when I didn’t feel a question was being asked. I think the book could have used a better editor to tighten things up. While I enjoyed the romantic elements, I wished there was more lead up so that I could feel more vested in the outcome of the relationships. Finally, I had trouble liking Roxi throughout much of the book. Her inner thoughts about some of the other characters – how ugly or fat they were – and referring to one of the men in her hypnotherapy class as “beautiful gay boy” left a bad taste in my mouth. She was often extremely self-absorbed and childish but would then contradict herself by doing something very unselfish. My favorite character in the book was definitely Bella, the grandmother of Roxi’s love interest. I felt that Bella helped Roxi become a better person and gave her the strength to trust her instincts and follow her own path.

In a nutshell, I enjoyed Finger Dancing but think another round or two of edits would have gone a long way toward improving the flow of the story and my overall reading experience.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this book. A light read with some unexpeced insights into human nature.