Raised on the alley with vaudevillian parents and able with a aureate voice, adolescent Teresa LeClair sets out to “shoot for the stars—or die trying” in Ketchum’s newest actual novel.
Though Resa longs for acclaim and the bright lights of the stage, her French-Canadian ancestor has added plans. He expects the 15-year-old white babe to put her absolute angle to assignment at the Estey organ factory in Brattleboro, Vermont. Victory in a bounded singing antagonism and taunting advance from a adolescent African-American tap dancer, Pietro Jones, bulldoze Teresa to run abroad to New York City rather than achieve for a life in the affability apartment of Estey. Restrictions on adolescent performers as able-bodied as the bogeyman of allegory and ancestral asperity are constant trials throughout the story. Discussion of the convenance of blackface will acceptable give some readers pause. The clip is quick, but at times it’s to the damage of narrative flow, as readers charge abeyance to adapt how they accustomed at many plot points. Many characters appear and go after abundant development, as if plugged in artlessly to ample holes, but this additionally serves to allegorize the transient nature of activity in the theater.
A jam-packed ride through early-20th-century performance culture, if one can authority on. (list of songs, author’s note, glossary, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12-16)
Will Teresa Find Fame But Lose Her Soul?
It's 1913 and vaudeville is America's most popular form of entertainment. Thousands of theaters across the country host vaudeville troupes. In Brattleboro, Vermont, fifteen-year-old Teresa LeClair--who has a voice like a nightingale--remembers the thrill of singing onstage as a child. But her parents have given up life on the road, and her father has decided that Teresa, blessed with perfect pitch, should drop out of school and work in the tuning rooms of the organ factory.
Determined to escape the life her father wants for her, Teresa wins an amateur singing contest in Brattleboro's opera house and steals away on the night train to New York. She hopes to become a star on Broadway's Great White Way, but has no idea of the challenges that lie ahead. There she runs into Pietro Jones and his father, talented African American dancers. Teresa and Pietro become competitors as well as unlikely friends.
At a time when young black men could be lynched for simply looking at a white girl, Pietro understands, better than Teresa, the danger of their relationship. Teresa's quest to find her voice onstage and in her life, far from the support of her family, takes place against a complex racial backdrop of American history.
The Life Fantastic: A Novel in Three Acts
- BookThe Life Fantastic: A Novel in Three Acts
- Author:Liza Ketchum
- Publishing Date:2017-01-01
- Publisher:Merit Press
- Number Of pages:256