Brooke Shirts's Reviews > Ten Cents a Dance

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher
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Apr 03, 2009

really liked it

We always hear about young boys who lied about their age in order to enlist in World War II. Here's a tale of a girl -- fifteen year old Ruby -- who lies about her age in order to become a dance hall hostess, circa 1942. It's not prostitution -- she charges men ten cents a piece to dance with her -- but it's not exactly respectable, either. But how else is Ruby going to get her mother and sister out of the stockyard slums and into a better life?

There was so much that was good about this book -- Fletcher includes details about Chicago's seamier underside that I had never heard of, such as "black-and-tan clubs," (establishments designated for the use of interracial couples), the African-American gambling establishment, etc. What's especially lovely is the unabashed affection for '40s slang. Read this lil' number, and not only will you suddenly have a desire to swing dance, but words like "hotsy-totsy" will suddenly pop up in your everyday conversation. It's strictly on the level, dollface.
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