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There Should Be More Dancing

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  537 ratings  ·  75 reviews
(Publisher’s synopsis)

Margery Blandon has led a life of principles. Now she finds herself sitting on the 43rd floor of the Tropic Hotel, preparing to throw herself to her death.

Margery Blandon was always a principled woman who found guidance from the wisdom of desktop calendars. She lived quietly in Gold Street, Brunswick for sixty years until events drove her to the 43r
Paperback, 345 pages
Published 2011 by Vintage (Random House Australia)
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Average rating 3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  537 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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May 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, secrets kept and eventually revealed, dysfunctional families, problems of ageing and trying to keep your independence, ignorance and blinkered to what your actions have done in the past and how it affects people around you, friendships and enemies - it's all here in a somewhat bittersweet book by Rosalie Ham. I really enjoyed it - with the exception of one page concerning some poor mice.
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a great story, I laughed out loud, because some of the things the old lady in the story does, is just like my mum. Easy to read, this story is about an older lady who thinks her whole family is out to get her...are they?
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
The author has quite a different writing style which took me awhile to get used to. The chapters too are written alternately in current and prior time lines which also takes some getting used to. But keep reading as the story is wonderful. Margery and her family are all quite dysfunctional - as are all the characters, but they are true to life and delightful - we will all recognise characteristics of our own family members with out a doubt! The theme of elderly family members struggling at home ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bookclub
If this had not been a book club book, I would not have finished it. A dreary tale that tries to be funny, with a bunch of execrable characters. It goes on and on for abut 350 pages - I thought it would never end. Rosalie Ham does have a quirky style and a good turn of phrase - but.... much more editing needed.
I loved this author's first novel 'The Dressmaker' on its release for its quirky and eccentric characterisations. I came to this one as it was scheduled for my bookgroup as our lighter end of the year fiction read. This one has an urban setting and features the first person narration of Margery who is dealing with family who would like to see her whisked off to a nursing home. Margery has lived a quiet life in a Brunswick Street taking wisdom from desktop calender quotations and spends her days ...more
Dec 10, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this but felt that maybe the author was trying to make too many different points about relationships instead of focusing on one main point and doing it well. At one point I nearly gave up on the book all together. The bit I liked the most was the comment, "There's no point living for things we can't have because you don't get the life you could have had."
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
My mum recommended this to me as it was her book club book for the month. I think there was a lot in the book which she recognised and enjoyed - the Brunswick setting, the difficulties of aging, not particularly liking your relatives - but which I didn't have much point of reference to. I didn't find myself very interested in any of the characters, nor find their exchanges entertaining. A shame.
Central Highlands Libraries
almost as good (as the dressmaker)
Margery is about to turn 80 and we meet her family at her birthday lunch, knowing that this is when things first started to 'fall apart' for her. The novel is told in flashbacks, from Margery's point of view and from an omniscient narrator, and gradually family secrets emerge. There are some great characters in this novel, like the almost silent Mrs Parsons next door, Judith (who really wants to get her hands on Margery's pearls!), and Walter (who's boxing career ended abruptly and had consequen ...more
Anirav Petersen
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Delightfully hilarious!
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australia
Yes indeed there should be more dancing as people age!

It takes remarkable skill to write well about the very old. Constrained by the inevitability of time running out for the character, and limited also by the realities of decline, an author not only has to resist being mawkish or sentimental, but also has to work credibly with how the surrounding characters behave towards the elderly. The fiction I’ve read has revealed a horrid truth: that old age tends to bring out the worst in the people arou
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Rosalie Ham appeared at the Canberra Writers Festival as part of a morning tea session on my birthday bless her. It's not the first time I've seen her speak on the writers festival circuit and I dare say won't be the last, she's quite entertaining. Rosalie mentioned that she loves writing, growing up she had a cast of thousands of people in her head.

And now she's written this, 'There Should Be More Dancing' a novel from the perspective of 79 year old Margery Blandon who lives her life guided by
Book Bazaar
Customer review from Penny:

I know there will be many in my age group (seniors) who will wholeheartedly agree with The Australian's comment on the front cover, (Ham's eye for the absurd, the comical and the poignant are highly tuned) but I don't. Having said this, I would give the author 3/10 for her descriptive ability. She has brought the characters and situations to life so perfectly, it was so easy when reading to see them in front of me.

A little long perhaps but I think many people will rela
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure if I should have but I laughed and laughed and laughed at this book. Every page just had me bent double with ridiculous snippets that had me looking around for someone to read it aloud to! It's full of fabulous, crazy characters and ordinary, everyday events that just had me i stitches.

It's the story of Marge who has decided to kill herself instead of letting her family put her in an old peoples home. Her family take her to a fancy restaurant for her 80th birthday (its actually only
Therese Spruhan
Jan 22, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a different sort of book. The characters seemed a bit like caricatures but at other times believable and real. The main character Margery Blandon was very well told - a woman of routine and order, detached from the world, cross-stitching her way through life since the death of her twin sister in her early teenage years. In her old age Margery desperately tries to maintain her independence despite her children trying to push her into a nursing home. In the end she realises she has been p ...more
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting, at times entertaining. It took me a few pages to adjust to the structure of the book which alternated between first person account of the climatic event in a ruminatory style and an omniscient 3rd person narrative the events leading up to the climax. What made it a bit harder to read though was that most if not all the characters, including the protagonist, seemed more like caricatures trying to be funny than well rounded people with all their redeeming qualities - as well as their ...more
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good read, sad and sometimes funny like life itself. Margery had been unhappy with her life ever since her twin sister had died when she was 15. She never moved on. Her sadness blighted her marriage, children and old age but she always tried to do what she thought was RIGHT. She never truly lived - just existed. Secrets were kept from her and she lived in this timeless, protected bubble until, in her old age, the past started to seep out. Eventually she was forced to face up to the fact that h ...more
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Jan 12, 2012 rated it liked it
I was really excited when Rosalie released her new novel, I absolutely adored her first two novels.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this one, it just didn't capture me as I expected. Her character construction is again terrific, with vivid lifelike quirky character traits. I think it was perhaps the age of the main protagonist, which I found difficult to engage with. I felt like I was waiting for something to happen, but with the changing time perspective and switching from first to th
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
It took me awhile to get this book, to understand the characters and what was going on. But never once was I not captivated. I simply couldn't stop reading and it very nearly took over my life.

Rosalie Ham has a way of writing that really gets under your skin. She is do very good at drawing you in. And she never gives you a rest. I wouldn't suggest any of her books unless you have some serious free time on your hands!

'There Should Be More Dancing' is a great read. The characters are perfectly dev
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I thought that this would be a good read but didn't quite enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The short chapters hop back and forth so, for me, it didn't flow as well as it might. The majority of the characters aren't particularly appealing. I liked the characterisation of Margery and the perspective of an elderly lady struggling to live independently whilst her family try to take control. The home help, Anita was a good character but most of the others have few redeeming features. Overall I ...more
Belinda Rule
Oct 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary
I know Rosalie. :)

A comic tragedy about a sometimes-outlandishly kitschily Ocker family, and its unhappiness coming home to roost as the matriarch starts to lose her health. Scenes in a nursing home especially are vivid, tender and completely terrifying - I know Rosalie used to work in one.

I wasn't sure I quite bought the uplifting notes of the ending, where closed and inarticulate characters suddenly became expressive and self-aware.
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it
There should be more books by Rosalie Ham! Her first book, The Dressmaker, was definitely my favourite but after a slow start I enjoyed this one too. It's about the life of an elderly woman and her connection to her family and the community, often humorous, sometimes sad. Ham's characters have a wonderful quirkiness about them. This book is set in Brunswick and the local references are enough to make it worth reading.
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: australian

I loved The Dressmaker and was a little disappointed by this book. It was terrifying at times to realise the harsh reality of the manipulation and control children can have over elderly parents. I was constantly angered by the behaviour of the characters surrounding Margery, and Mrs Parsons story brought me to tears on several occasions. A thoroughly depressing read, a bit scattered, hard going but I'm glad I finished it because it wasn't a bad read.
Newtown Review of Books
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
There Should Be More Dancing is Rosalie Ham’s third novel (the others are The Dressmaker, 2000 and Summer at Mount Hope, 2005) and introduces Margery Blandon. Right at the beginning Margery declares, ‘Everyone I’ve known for the last sixty years has betrayed me,’ and indeed this tale of old age and grasping adult children contains some devastating revelations for Margery. See full review here: ...more
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this! Funny and sad and incredibley poignant, it is a wonderful snapshot of suburban Melbourne in the last 60 years. The main character aroused pity and concern and fondness while the supporting characters are by turns dislikebale, infuriating, and curious. Rosalie Ham does not rush her novels and are well worth the wait.
Jennifer Rolfe
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of those books that when I started reading couldn't put it down. Loved the structure and loved how the main character was portrayed. A very flawed character that was presented in a plausible way. I really like Rosalie Ham's writing and this is the second book of hers I have read. Will get the third one now.
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
what a great little story. I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this, and how much I enjoyed Marjery! I think we all live a little like her sometimes -blinkers on to what we don't want to know, and in that way she is completely relatable. I'm inspired to read The Dressmaker now, as it is miss Ham's better known book.
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
If I could give it 3.5 stars I would as it is better than the 3 star books I have read but not quite in my 4 star list. I did like it a lot though. The writer has great "voice" and the story made me laugh and even feel sad. It's good to read a yarn that is true to our age and lives in Australia or New Zealand. Excellent contemporary feel and good story.
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it
A book about aging and the good and bad of having families. Marjory is tired of life but on her birthday her family gather round, emphasizing all the of things she likes and dislikes about them. It is funny, but close to the bone on many points. An excellent title for book groups.
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Melbourne Library...: Melbourne Book Club - May 1 13 Jun 02, 2016 11:06PM  

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Rosalie Ham was born, and raised in Jerilderie, NSW, Australia. She completed her secondary education at St Margaret's School, Berwick in 1972. After travelling and working at a variety of jobs (including aged care) for most of her twenties, Rosalie completed a Bachelor of Education majoring in Drama and Literature (Deakin University, 1989), and achieved a Master of Arts, Creative Writing (RMIT, M ...more

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