Dance, Gladys, Dance by Cassie Stocks
” BEAUTIFUL old phonograph for sale. 78 record player. Excellent condition. Gladys doesn’t dance anymore. She needs the room to bake. Bring offer. Ph. 254-9885.
27-year-old Frieda Zweig is at an impasse. Behind her is a string of failed relationships and half-forgotten ambitions of being a painter; in front of her lies the dreary task of finding a real job and figuring out what “normal” people do with their lives.
Then, a classified ad in the local paper introduces Frieda to Gladys, an elderly woman who long ago gave up on her dreams of being a dancer.
The catch? Gladys is a ghost.
In Dance, Gladys, Dance, Cassie Stocks tells the uplifting story of a woman whose uncanny connection with a kindred spirit causes her to see her life in a new way—as anything but ordinary. Dance, Gladys, Dance tells the story of women and art with a bit of profanity, bearnaise sauce, death, doilies, ghosts, Goths, men, and missing shoes.”1
Dance, Gladys, Dance is the January read for the book club I have joined. It is written by local Canadian author Cassie Stocks. The novel is about a girl who denies her passion in life because it isn’t what is considered to be a normal career. Despite having considerable skill she is discouraged by her college professor as well as those in a position to critique art. Critiquing any form of art, whether it is fine arts, music, sculpting or even writing can be done easily and by anyone. Its hard to say who put those people in power in their positions. As an aspiring writing and someone whose artistic abilities come naturally, it is pretty hypocritical of me to be critiquing the work of others when I know how difficult it is to create a good work of art. When you think something is good, what difference does it make what others think? But when I get the chance to share a good book, movie or whatever or advise when time could be spent on other things I don’t see the harm.
Dance, Gladys, Dance creates an eclectic mix of wonderful characters. Frieda tries to discover what it is to be ordinary by surrounding herself with others, only to find out how crazy other people can be. Each character has their own personality and quirks that they bring to the story making it entertaining and full of laughs.
This is a book I would never have picked up in a million years. Even when someone had mentioned it in a previous book club meeting I didn’t bother to write it down. Even when it was decided we would be doing the book in January I didn’t bother looking into it until the last minute. Thats when judging a book by the cover (which usually pans out for me) would have deprived me of this gem. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wasn’t thrilled with the ending, I suppose I’m more of a fairy tale romantic type, but such is life. Cassie Stocks has created an entertaining laugh filled novel that represents Canadian authors proudly.