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The Red Shoe by Ursula Dubosarsky
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The Red Shoe (2006)

by Ursula Dubosarsky

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1204142,958 (3.62)16

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Matilda’s dad isn’t functioning well since he has returned from the war, Matilda’s mom is spending lots of time with an uncle, and what is going on next door? This little story, set in 1950’s Australia, shares a time of anxiety, both personal and societal. Beautiful writing. ( )
  debnance | Jun 27, 2014 |
The Red Shoe is a story with the child’s point of view at its centre. Set around Easter 1954 and looking back to a significant event of the previous Boxing Day, we see a family in a time of crisis. There are three daughters aged 6, 11 and 15, a mother, a father who is often absent on his ship, and Uncle Paul.

Around them are contemporary events involving Russian spies, children dying of polio, and various Sydney murders and misadventures, captured in newspaper clippings placed between many of the chapters. But there is also the possibility of going to the Royal Easter Show, family picnics, trips to the beach and school parades.

In spite of the child’s point of view, this story deals with some serious issues. The father is suffering from the after-effects of trauma so his depression and the shocking possibility of suicide create a fearful backdrop to the story.

Looking back on The Red Shoe is like viewing a tapestry that reveals greater depths as you move from capturing the big picture to looking into each detailed corner. There is much to discover here ( )
2 vote mthomson | Apr 16, 2008 |
Even though this is definitely a children's book, my inner gatekeeper was mercifully left shaking its head in confusion while I went ahead and engaged on my own terms. The seven-year-old Matilda, through whom we experience most of the action, tells us a lot more than she understands about the darkness of the adult world around her: it's a lot like Henry James's _What Maisie Knew_, only written for children. (Thankfully, there's a discreet warning note on the imprint page, 'For teenagers and adults.') Matilda sees herself as a spy, and the reader is pretty much positioned as a spy as well, having to piece together the full story -- as children all to often have to -- from hints, gestures, glimpses, overheard snatches of conversation, newspaper clippings, and so on. The climactic revelation, for example, comes in the midst of a scene full of sound and fury of only tangential relevance: the narrative plunges on after allowing the key character barely a moment of reaction and allowing us no time at all for reflection. We undercover-agent readers are left to join the dots for ourselves.
http://homepage.mac.com/shawjonathan/iblog ( )
1 vote shawjonathan | Jun 7, 2007 |
Three very different sisters’ observations of their mother and father’s life. The father is a sailor & has been greatly affected by what he has witnessed in the war. Matilda is the youngest and most outgoing. Frances is the serious quiet one and the eldest Elizabeth says she is not going back to school and refuses to go. In between their observations are newspaper reports (actual ones) about the Petrov affair which affects the family because Mr Petrov is actually hidden in the abandoned house next door. It’s an older students’book in so much as the father tries to hang himself and the uncle tries to have an affair with the mother and then shoots himself (newspaper reports)P110 – end of chapter.Girls go to the cinema to see Roman Holiday & are left by the uncle & mum for hours afterwards
  nicsreads | Mar 26, 2007 |
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Three sisters growing up in post-World War II Sydney, Australia, deal with their mentally unstable father, their possibly unfaithful mother, and the defecting Russian spy who lives next door.

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