Saturday, August 6, 2011

Book Review: The Mother-Daughter Book Club

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The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick
Drama is required reading.

When four women in the same yoga class put their heads together, the result is a group of four girls who would rather be anywhere but discussing Little Women with each other and their mothers.  Throw in a typical exclusive clique, a love poem read aloud, and an unusual hockey try-out, and these girls are in for a very abnormal school year.

The story shifts between the points of view of each daughter in the club.  There's Emma, whose mother started the club and whose hand-me-downs are a point of constant trauma.  There's Megan, the Asian-American with an environmentally crazy mom and a secret passion for fashion.  There's Cassidy, the eyesore who wishes she were a boy and has never been the same since losing both her dad and her chance at the hockey team.  And then there's Jess, the quiet one who helps her dad around the farm and wants nothing more than for her mother to come home.

As the year progresses, the girls learn that their mothers can be more fun and understanding than they ever thought.  They begin to see things from others' perspectives, and decide where they truly stand in the world of girlhood friendships and betrayal.  And they start to see that Louisa May Alcott understood more about life than any of them could have known.

Heather Frederick has a fresh, easy-to-read style and the right voice for her young characters.  The situations each of the girls faces are true-to-life and very easy to relate to.  I did feel that the general voices and actions of her characters were a little too mature for typical sixth graders, which made the less-common typical actions seem out of place.  Other than that, though, I found nothing wrong with this book.  It brings up a variety of issues, from Cassidy missing her late father, to Megan choosing who to befriend, to Jess and Emma learning to stand up for themselves.  I give The Mother-Daughter Book Club four stars, and hope to find the sequel, Much Ado About Anne, soon.

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