1937: Roller Skates

VERDICT: Trash

Sally’s Rating: 2/5

In Ruth Sawyer’s Roller Skates, Lucinda laces up a pair of skates and explores New York City, meeting a variety of people everywhere she goes.

Lucinda is a chatty 10-year-old girl with an unhealthy Shakespeare obsession. Not a shy bone in her body, she goes up to random strangers and becomes friends with them instantly. As a child with almost no adult supervision in the big city, the main character may appeal to kids who envy her freedom to do whatever she wants, away from an adult’s watchful eyes.

The majority of this book is aimless and lacks a coherent plot as Lucinda puts on a Shakespeare play, celebrates Thanksgiving and Christmas, and writes in her diary. Its mainly her skating through the city and doing what she wants. Most of the events she gets caught up in are mundane and lack any real excitement. Even the illustrations were fairly lackluster and did not add anything to the overall book.

While this book is a light read for the most part, it does delve into some more serious issues – the death of two of Lucinda’s friends. Somehow, one gets murdered (but it’s never expanded upon) and the other one slowly dies of disease. I thought the author handled Lucinda’s reaction to death very realistically, and the final chapters made this book a more meaningful read.

Overall, Roller Skates failed to meet my expectations. Despite having a fairly modern story idea – a girl roller skating through New York City – the book was forgettable and can easily be skipped for something with more substance.

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