From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
5 STARS! Set in Moore County NC in the sixties, the author draws on the real tension between the races to create a story about healing relationships. The main character, Flannery, is a teenager who has to work through difficult relationships with her family, her neighborhood, and her friends. The wisdom and love of a neighboring family who, as the only black family in a white neighborhood, have to endure persecution, give Flannery the courage to face her own demons.
Hickman allows us to feel Flannery’s pain and watch her grow into a wise young woman. It doesn’t descend into the melodramatic or paint a syrupy sweet picture of teenage life; Flannery is a very real character, dealing with real issues, such as death, divorce, step-parents, financial worries, discrimination, and the uncontrollable circumstances of life.
I really enjoyed it, and have to confess I put off doing other things in order to finish it, which is the test of how good a book is. The characters are engaging, the story is fast-moving, and the resolution is satisfying. What more could you ask for in a novel? Another winner from Patricia Hickman!
~ Amazon Reviewer, TINY DANCERtinyurl.com/lyjrq6c
And 5-star Reviews coming in on Goodreads:
One of the best books I’ve read this summer…there’s a lot of depth to it and it was fascinating all the way through with a lot of unexpected plot twists. Reviews compare it to The Help and The Secret Lives of Bees. It does have similar tones to both of those great reads, but can certainly hold its own. I highly recommend it!
~ tinyurl.com/lyjrq6c Amber, Reader Goodreads
The reviews are coming in–Thirteen 5-star reviews for Tiny Dancer! Here’s one:
I am a sucker for coming of age books about hard life lessons moving a child into adulthood–this book has a twist in which the kid IS the adult and her parents are the ones who need the hard life lessons to grow up. Most authors go from one extreme to another–either parents are the Waltons and Cleavers or else drunken abusive monsters. This is one of the rare in-between books about a really human family of flawed and foolish but well-intentioned losers, trying hard to force their kids into their own misconceived loser mold but too proud and set in their stubborn loser ways to learn better until life smacks them upside the head–more than once. This is not fluff fiction but heart and soul realism, tragic at times but filled with enough human spirit and resilience to not be dismal.
Hickman is one of my favorite authors, I have got to read the rest of her novels just to see if she has ever written any book that is less than wonderful. tinyurl.com/lyjrq6cBuy Tiny Dancer Today on Amazon!
5 Stars! Next time I read it, I can breathe. ~ Amazon Reviewer
Dark Secrets . . . Beautiful Surprises
Tiny Dancer is a soulful novel that isn’t afraid to tackle issues such as awkward teen crushes, survivor’s guilt, and becoming who you’re meant to be.
Flannery Curry is a girl driven by her deep desire to break out of the sameness afflicting her dad and stepmom, or else explode. Her lifelong crush on her dance coach, Billy Thornton, is her constant obsession, and one she can’t hide from her annoying best friend Claudia. Between her jealousy over Claudia’s perfect parents and daydreaming about elusive Billy’s beautiful face and silky long hair, her unspoken frustrations may cause her to do something drastic—like leave the safety of her own backyard to explore what’s on the other side of a forbidden sunflower forest.
Tiny Dancer is a teen novel that will appeal to fans of The Fault in Our Stars and The Beginning of Everything. Funny and smart, it proves that breaking through stereotypes and befriending the wrong people can come packaged with dark secrets and beautiful surprises.
Like most authors, I work long hours as a writer and I’ve worked longer hours marketing my books. But if I am to be honest, I haven’t always achieved the success I set out to achieve. This realization led me to ask myself another rather painful question—as an author, am I a doer or an achiever? Do I spend my time in the same daily rituals of doing versus breaking new ground, especially in the realm of marketing my novels? And if I am merely “doing”, am I unconsciously deep-sixing all of my efforts? It was while analyzing my own marketing weaknesses, I discovered three deadly bombs that were killing my success as an author.
to confront: The need to ask permission can kill your success.
Tiny Dancer has been one of the most complex stories to write and that may surprise some readers. Fifteen-year-old Flannery Curry, the heroine of this 60s based story, seems like a simple character. She lives in an idyllic village-like town in the North Carolina Sandhills. She is treated like a member of an affluent and influential family and that provides her with opportunities socially that would otherwise not be afforded her.
But when I set out to write a story about a teen girl who crosses through a forbidden garden, it took a great deal of time to shake out all of Flannery’s secrets, flaws, hidden motives, and the deeper things that drive her into her summer of rebellion.
I had written in my journal two words–survivor’s guilt. It is something that can weigh on the human senses and take on other powerful and destructive faces. Shame is one and an eroded sense of one’s identity is another and that is how Flannery carries her own survivor’s guilt. But I needed something more if her story was going to rise out of the ordinary.
I searched for the missing element to exhaustion. I visited places outside the Sandhills where I picked
up scenes like the clam bake scene. I took notes in dark movie theaters, in outdoor cafes, and while walking the grounds of golf resorts. I had this strange sense that the element I sought was outside my normal daily routines. I was right.
We often attend Irish festivals because my ancestors were Irish. I’m from the clan of Muir. Our nephew, Jason Hickman on hubby’s side, is a highly gifted Irish dancer in another state. But it was at one of these events that a story unfolded in front of me. We were seated on a stadium bleacher where we watched the step dancers perform. A trio of girls were performing a hard shoe dance, a show stopper. Two teen girls bookended a tiny dancer in a curly blonde wig. They danced to perfection. But the tiny blonde dancer began to cry. She did not miss a step, but she didn’t want to be there.
I grabbed my journal, my heart racing. Here in a place that celebrated my ancestral roots I connected with the missing key to Flannery’s emotional architecture. It would not be the last component that I would chance to stumble upon. There were other secrets lurking behind the walls of Southern gentility. If I kept mining, would I find them?