Friday, August 08, 2008

Alive and Well in Prague, New York, by Daphne Grab

When Matisse's father gets so sick with Parkinson's that he can no longer do his sculpture, her parents decide to move out of New York City and go Upstate to the tiny town of Prague, where excitement is a hayride and the art teacher does not know the difference between Matisse and Monet. It's a rough transition for Matisse and she does little to ingratiate herself into Prague's cliques. But then, she is also struggling to accept her father's condition and deal with her mother's denial.

As with the last book I reviewed, this one has a good premise for a story, but Grab's novel lacks subtlety. The narrator's voice (which never sounds authentically adolescent, but rather borders between selfish and jarringly reflective) does not quite work for me and the resulting story is clunky. I liked what the author was trying to do, but I can't really recommend the book.

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