Hey guys, it’s Claire with Bluebird Real Estate + Art in Denver, Colorado! Today I’m reviewing a book!
Moving. The stress, excitement, and overall upheaval of moving is a huge part of so many of the stories in the popular imagination. The Joads’ travels from Oklahoma to California in The Grapes of Wrath, Andy and Elizabeth Farmer’s move to the seemingly charming town of Redbud, Vermont in Funny Farm, Riley’s family’s move from Minnesota to San Francisco in Inside Out, Harry Potter’s move from Privet Drive to Hogwarts. Moving makes such a great inciting event in a story, it has all of the elements that create tension and conflict, contrast, setting, adventure, opportunities for the characters to overcome anxieties, limitations, and prejudices. These stories are relatable because so many people have lived them.
When I was 14, my family moved from Texas to California and it was my personal mission to make my parents regret the relocation by making them completely miserable. Texas to California, as an adult I sometimes feel like I have a split identity! Over time, I came to appreciate the differences in place and broadened horizons that the move made possible. More than anything I learned that culture, values, and perception of reality can be tied to a place and time and the people who live there.
Stories built around a big move will always resonate with me. I like to read about them, I like hearing moving stories on my favorite podcasts, and I love moving-themed films.
This week, I read My Life in Dioramas, by Tara Altebrando.
Kate Marino, a 12 year old girl, living in a small New York town, is happy with her life-long best friend, her middle school, her dance classes and her predictable routines. But then, she finds out that her parents have decided to sell their red farm house, the quirky, sprawling place everyone calls, “Big Red.” The worst part is… they have no idea where they will be going next. They are broke and just have to get out from under that Big Red Mortgage.
As a real estate agent, I found Kate’s shenanigans to foil their realtor, Bernadette, to be hilarious and alarming. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone, but her attempts are enough to make any agent wary of a 12-year-old daughter of clients.
As a “creative type,” I found Kate’s coping method of building shoebox dioramas of her memories in Big Red to be completely charming. She made an amalgam of memories that captured the feelings of life at Big Red more than the exact details.
This “YA” book is filled with heart and humor and if you have a few hours in a row to hang out and read, then pick up My Life in Dioramas. It’s a good read-all-at-once story, enjoyable for adult readers as well as young ones, and it’s available at the Denver Public Library.