September 2016
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At Freddie’s by Penelope Fitzgerald

In this book, a subtly tyrannical, though hugely popular, woman named Freddie runs a theater school for young talents, although some of them turn out not-so-talented. The characters are enigmatic and interesting; they don’t quite reflect real life, it seems to me, although they try. My personal favorite is Jonathan, an extremely talented 9-year-old who only acts when it suits him to do so.

The book was okay, not one of my favorites. I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters in particular, and the story is not very interesting, to be honest; the theater school is poor, but that’s nothing new, though there is someone new thinking about investing; one of the teachers falls in love with the other; the children occasionally compete with each other, particularly Mattie with Jonathan, though not the other way around. The end feels unresolved to me, sort of as if the book was a snapshot of this particular school and these particular lives, but only the love affair really was interesting and went somewhere. I think I’ll get more out of this book once it’s discussed in class this week, but for now it’s left me somewhat discontented.

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