The life fantastic : a novel in three acts

by Ketchum, Liza, 1946-

Format: Print Book 2017
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Teen Department - Teen Fiction TEEN FICTION Ketchum
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Teen Department - Teen Fiction
Call Number  TEEN FICTION Ketchum
Northland Public Library Teen YA FIC KETCHUM
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Teen
As seen in the Publishers Weekly African-American Titles for Young Readers feature!

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.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Teresa spent her early years on the vaudeville circuit, until her younger brother, Pascal, was born, and performing became a thing of the past. Now, in 1913, 15-year-old Teresa rejects the life and factory job her controlling father has planned for her. Instead, she longs to sing, eventually hopping a train to New York City closely followed by the energetic Pascal. But New York is a different world: competition is fierce, and a decent living is hard to come by. Teresa and Pascal encounter Maeve, a girl who performs with dogs and encourages Teresa to enter contests. Meanwhile, Teresa's deepening relationship with Marvin Jones and his son Pietro, an African American duo who are only allowed to perform if they wear blackface, opens Teresa's eyes to racial inequality in America. The plot unfolds slowly and is a bit repetitive at times, but it provides much fodder for discussing race relations and the power of song. The script-style segments that open each part could be useful for engaging students in readers' theater.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In a historical novel that opens in 1913 Vermont, Ketchum (Out of Left Field) weaves a gripping story of racial discrimination in the performing arts. Money is always tight for Teresa LeClair's white family; although they have left their vaudeville life behind, 15-year-old Teresa dreams of a career as a singer. When Teresa's father wants her to risk her voice and health to work in the tuning rooms of an organ manufacturer, she runs away, and her younger brother, Pascal, follows. After Teresa meets a tap dancer named Pietro, who is black, the two begin traveling and performing together, but as they travel to New York City and then Colorado, Teresa's opportunities on the stage far outnumber those of the equally talented Pietro, which outrages her. Ketchum paints a vivid portrait of the difficult life of a performer and the indignities and prejudice endured by artists of color like Pietro, including being forced to perform in blackface. Lovers of theater and history will find a great deal to sink their teeth into. Ages 14-up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."

Additional Information
Subjects Singers -- Fiction.
Vaudeville -- Fiction.
Race relations -- Fiction.
Performing arts -- Fiction.
United States -- History -- 1913-1921 -- Fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher Blue Ash, OH :2017
Language English
Description 256 pages ; 23 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 255-256).
ISBN 9781440598760
Other Classic View