The Lovely Shoes is the poignant story of a girl born a cripple. Frankie misses out on so much – dancing, boys, normalcy. People call her “gimp” or something along the lines of that, and one day she has enough of it. After being embarrassed at her school dance in front of the boy she loves, Frankie shuts herself in her room and refuses to come out. Nobody understands her.
Her mother is worried, and when she sees an article about a crippled Italian shoemaker who caters to the stars, she dreams up a crazy idea. She writes to him, explaining her daughter’s situation and hoping that he might be able to make Frankie happy again. She wants the perfect pair of shoes to make Frankie feel beautiful. When he writes back with a yes, they plan the trip of a lifetime.
In Italy, Frankie finds a new version of herself. Beautiful and carefree, she tries new things, gets a boyfriend, and finds the perfect pair of shoes. Will Italy be enough?
I loved The Lovely Shoes. Although it is not the type of book that I usually read, I loved Frankie and her mother, and found myself both laughing and crying. It was tender and heartfelt. The relationship between Frankie and her mother was one of my favorite parts of the book, because although there were fights and Frankie got mad at her sometimes, they loved each other and helped each other throughout the book.
In Italy, Frankie fell in love, helped little girls, and was a constant presence among the usual clientele of Signor’s. She finally felt special and beautiful and I enjoyed going on the journey with her.
Overall, The Lovely Shoes was a sweet coming-of-age story. Tender and nice, Frankie’s character shone and the adventures were lovely. The ending was a bittersweet goodbye to the story that I grew to love.
Grace Soledad is a teenage bibliophile who runs the blog Words Like Silver. She is described as “antisocial” because she constantly has her nose buried in a book or a notebook. When not reading, she can be found dancing, writing, or at the beach.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Arthur A. Levine Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.