Sunday, July 24, 2016

Shall We Dance? by Rosemary Hayes

From the July 25, 2016 issue

Tagline: Beth was overwhelmed by the idea of waltzing at her sister's wedding...until the best man came to her rescue!

Observations: I had mixed feelings about this story. There were some things I liked and some I didn't. Let's start with the postive.

We immediately feel empathy for Beth when we read about how she fell of the stage in high school. I also know that I'd probably feel nervous too, if I were called to dance in front of everyone at a wedding. (I didn't particularly like dancing at my own wedding, knowing everyone's eyes were on me.)

I also liked how Hayes developed the relationship between Beth and Jacob. It was a slow and steady build, even if I didn't quite believe they were in love by the time the wedding rolled around.

I didn't care for the repetition of the "It's as easy as ____" line. I was fine with the first time...

"Dancing is as easy as baking a cake."

I laughed. "I haven't baked an edible cake yet--just ask Emily."

That was cute, a witty reply and we get some information about her as a character.

But when it happens again...

"Just remember," he said. "This is as easy as riding a bike."

"It took me months to learn to ride a bike--I even chipped a tooth."

I was a bit annoyed with her. To me, it felt like she was being contrary. I thought to myself, "the guy is only trying to reassure you." I even wondered if they got married, if this pattern would continue, with Jacob saying something encouraging and Beth responding with something contradictory.

The third time...

"You'll be fine. This is as easy as washing a dog."

I almost cracked up. "I have a Great Dane."

It was slightly humorous, so this didn't irk me like the time before, and by now I had caught on to the pattern. By the time we encounter the fourth and final time he tells her it's as easy as something, I had forgiven the author the repetition because there was a purpose behind it, but unfortunately, my opinion of Beth had suffered. I started out feeling sorry for her and identifying with her fear, but by the end I was ready for her to put her big girl panties on. I would like to have seen her grow as a character during the dance classes and evolve to a point where she felt confident going out onto the dance floor with Jacob.

Your mileage may vary. I can totally see how someone would read this and not feel irritated with her, which only goes to prove that this is all so very subjective.  And yet, when I think about Woman's World and how positive they are and how they publish those "Moments for You," they want women to feel empowered and I think the character Beth could have used a little of that.

Photo Credit: Danca via Flickr Creative Commons License


Tamara said...

I never saw the word "funnily" before. I had to look it up. I can see where the editor would like this WW-cutesy story.

Pat said...

I saw this story as totally positive. I thought Beth grew from terrifying experience as a child to one she could handle as an adult with the help of a fun guy she found along the way. I took all her comments as funny and cute rather than putting herself down. I guess that comes from being a long-time romance reader.

Cute story.

Shyra said...

Loved the wit. Loved the way the story unfolded over several weeks. Little uncomfortable with the falling in love reference at the end instead of just an acknowledgement of his attraction but understand how it fit into the 'as easy as' flow.

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