Tendril Press (2013)
Reviewed by Taylor Whalen for Reader Views (12/13)
Article first published as Book Review: ’84 Ribbons’ by Paddy Eger on Blogcritics.
“84 Ribbons” by Paddy Eger is a coming of age story set in the 1950s in the Midwest. Aimed at a young adult audience, the author takes us on a journey of trial and error as a young girl, Marta, receives an opportunity to fulfill her life-long dream of being a professional ballerina. As we watch this 17 year old girl become independent and turn into a grown woman, the difficulties and loss of innocence that she encounters can touch every reader. Paddy Eger does a great job of pulling in the emotional aspects of growing up and how difficult it can be or was for every adult.
I was pleasantly surprised with this storyline as Marta encountered serious obstacles that were very believable, instead of just a sweet story with no real issues being dealt with. However, the author’s writing style occasionally got lost in too much description and depth in places that I did not find necessary. There were also more grammatical and punctuation errors than I would have liked.
Overall, I think that 84 Ribbons by Paddy Eger was very well done, and will please any young adult who is wondering what it is like to grow up. I think that the descriptions of the ballet world were very in depth and accurate, so I think that this will be a pleasant aspect of the novel that will please the dancing audience. There are too many coming of age stories out there where the main characters are very whiny, but in this story, the main character is likeable and, as I mentioned before, deals with very serious problems that many others were facing at that time as well.
I recommend this book to any young adult, and even parents of teenagers who are about to go off on their own. It is good for everyone to go back into their earlier years and remember what it was like facing the world on your own and how scary it was.