Your Friend in Fash­ion, Abby Shapiro

Amy Axel­rod
  • Review
By – January 10, 2012
Abby Shapiro dis­tracts her­self from her mis­er­able home life by design­ing clothes. When her alco­holic father moves out, Abby’s moth­er, already in pret­ty bad shape, gets even worse. Abby works through her dif­fi­cul­ties dur­ing that tumul­tuous time by pour­ing her heart out about her fam­i­ly in let­ters to Jacque­line Kennedy, wife of Sen­a­tor (and pres­i­den­tial hope­ful) John F. Kennedy. In her chat­ty let­ters, she tells Mrs. Kennedy about school, her friends and the Jew­ish hol­i­days and she enclos­es sketch­es of out­fits she has designed espe­cial­ly for her. Though Abby is dis­ap­point­ed not to get any response, she con­tin­ues writ­ing and design­ing. Axelrod’s vivid descrip­tion of Abby’s dif­fi­cult home life is painful to read and read­ers will feel great sym­pa­thy for her. Her family’s prej­u­dices, all too com­mon in that peri­od, may be jar­ring for some mod­ern read­ers. Nonethe­less, Abby is an engag­ing girl, try­ing hard to get by and read­ers will be near­ly as pleased as Abby when her sit­u­a­tion final­ly starts to improve. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 11 – 15
Mar­ci Lavine Bloch earned her MLS from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, a BA from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia and an MA in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture from Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty. She has worked in syn­a­gogue and day school libraries and is cur­rent­ly fin­ish­ing her term on the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Committee.

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