Rave Reviews Log: Historical Fiction

September 24, 2011

The Lovely Shoes

By Susan Shreve
Era: 1950's America
Rating: 3 3/4 stars

Franny was born with a deformed foot and all of her life has had to wear clunky orthopedic shoes with lifts in them to help her walk.  To cover up for this glaring thing, Franny has always been a goody two-shoes--always helpful and compliant with everyone.  She is afraid of the high school dances, afraid of what she may or may not be able to do with her ugly clunky shoes.  Then her mother puts her in a pair of her own shoes with toilet paper stuffed in the toes and Franny feels beautiful...she even gets to dance with her secret crush.  But when the toilet paper begins trailing out of her shoe, Franny feels disgraced and won't come out of her room.  Suddenly Franny realizes being nice all of the time has gotten her nowhere and her mother's big plans for her may never come true.  Until her mother writes to a famous Italian shoemaker who invites them to come to Florence, Italy where he will make a mold (a "last") from which he will make Franny not some clunky shoe, but a beautiful pair, a lovely pair.  And Franny begins to slowly discover the self she really wants to be.  A story about figuring out who you are and who you might want to be.