When I was in elementary school, the denominational private school I studied with had a series of readers that drew from all sorts of children’s/young adult novels that I wrote down and later planned to read in whole. This and the next two CBR Reviews will focus on them. First is Barbara Corcoran’s 1974 novel, A Dance to Still Music.
Margaret is a teenager who has lost her hearing from an unexpected sickness. Trapped in a silent, lonely world, she and her mother have moved from their Maine home to Florida in hopes of prosperity. Margaret’s mother has bad luck with men, and having been conned by one to this Florida job, is bitter and angry. Margaret is too, but because, you know, she can’t hear. She decides to run away back to Maine, but is stopped by two fateful meetings: the hitting of a young fawn on the highway, and its subsequent rescue by a quirky and self-sufficient woman named Josie. Together, these women nurse the deer and form their own unconventional family.
What I liked most about this novel is its attention to someone who is facing a challenge or health issue. Margaret’s voice is evocative, letting the reader into her thoughts and providing us a chance to feel empathy for those who may not possess all their senses. This book is probably out of print, but I was able to borrow a copy from my local library. It was a fast and interesting read, filled with the kinds of characterizations one can only find from the YA writing of the 1960s and 70s.