Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Historical Fiction
Your Friend in Fashion, Abby Shapiro

Your Friend in Fashion, Abby Shapiro

Fall 2011 Historical Fiction
Ages: 9 & Up
Author: Amy Axelrod
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2340-8
Hardcover Price: $17.95

There are some harsh realities in Abby Shapiro's sixth-grade life. Her father is a mean alcoholic, her mother is depressed, her nemesis, Susie, constantly torments and yet her life is also an enviable one. She lives with her doting aunt and uncles, along with her parents and brother, in an interesting rambling old house. Her Uncle Max's girlfriend is glamorous and fun. Then there's the family's fashionable shoe store where no less than Jackie Kennedy shops.

The time and place is 1959, small-town Massachusetts, and the dashing Senator John F. Kennedy is on the cusp of a White House run. It was an exciting time in history and Axelrod does a nice job of capturing it, with details like the frenzy caused by a new busty plastic doll named Barbie. Abby desperately wants both a Barbie and a bra and in an entrepreneurial attempt to earn the money to buy them, she launches a fashion line-Abilea Couture. She decides to make the Possible Future First Lady Mrs. Kennedy her first customer.

Abby is creative and has a good head for business. She's tough because she has to be, but she's also a sweet little girl. There are traumatic scenes in Abby's house, but Axelrod is a sensitive and skilled writer and handles them well. It's a good story, and offers an insightful peek at mid-century, middle-class Jewish culture in a solid rendering of an historical time.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2011 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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