Friday, July 1, 2016

The Gallery by Laura Fitzgerald - ESSENTIAL

Fitzgerald, Laura Marx The Gallery 321 pages.  Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016. $16.99.  Mature Content:  G; Language: G (0 swears); Violence: G. 

Brooklyn, 1928: Martha O’Doyle is living with her mother and brothers, and feels stifled by school and other responsibilities.  An outspoken student, she pushes her teacher too far one day with her “wonderings” and is thrown out of school as a result.  Her mother, head housekeeper in a Manhattan mansion, takes Martha on as a maid in the household to teach her what real work is like.  Martha soon learns that the lady of the house is mentally ill and displays acutely odd behaviors, while the husband is doing all he can to restore her to health.  Once Martha discovers there are messages hidden in the art displayed in the gallery, she realizes nothing is as it seems in the house.

This book moves quickly, and events are factually situated in the historical context of the 1928-29.  Through Martha’s eyes, the reader is introduced to a number of interesting artworks, politicians, authors, and concepts in the story in a very natural way.  Her questions about issues and beliefs ring very true to our present state of affairs in the U.S.  There was only one character I felt I did not know enough about to behave as they did; otherwise, the development and actions were all spot on. 

EL, MS  - ESSENTIAL.  Reviewer:  JA, High School Librarian

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