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*****= An all-time favorite
*****Best Foot Forward
by Joan Bauer
Reviewed July 13, 2005.
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 2005. 183 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (J MCN F BAU).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#2, Young Adult Contemporary Fiction)
Hooray! Joan Bauer has written a sequel to her wonderful Rules of the Road, my favorite of her books next to Hope Was Here, which won a Newbery Honor Award. (A huge thank you to Dr. Davis for recommending Rules of the Road to me, as I think that was the first I’d heard of Joan Bauer.)
Joan Bauer specializes in characters with passion. She also tells stories of people doing small things in a big way and about standing up for what’s right. But don’t think that all that moral high ground and wisdom make for a boring story. Jenna Boller’s passion is shoes, and giving people a better life by making their feet comfortable.
I’m afraid there’s something inherently humorous about someone with a passion for shoes.
Joan Bauer’s books give you characters to care about, but they also give you plots that keep you turning pages. In Rules of the Road, Jenna watched as her mentor Mrs. Gladstone didn’t give up on the company her family had made great, and was installed as Gladstone’s new Director of Quality Control. They were assured that Gladstone’s would always stand for quality. So why was Jenna’s new pair of Rollings Walkers hurting her feet?
Then, in an act reminiscent of Les Miserables, Mrs. Gladstone gives a job to a young man who tried to steal shoes from the store. It doesn’t help that this young man is good-looking and sweet to his little brother. Jenna doesn’t want to be his manager.
Jenna deals with all this with grace and humor. I came away from this book feeling inspired. As Jenna says, “Some people say there should be more to life—more money, more prestige. I don’t think much about that. I just try to focus in full on the person’s two feet in front of me.”
Reviews of other books by Joan Bauer:
Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund. All