Wednesday 28 February 2024

My Family and Other Skaters - Fiorella De Maria - Skaters Book 1

My Family and Other Skaters
Skaters Book 1
ISBN 9781621644415
eISBN 9781639679997

My Family and Other Skaters - Fiorella De Maria - Skaters Book 1

This is the sixteenth time I have read a work by Fiorella De Maria. I have read all of her works but one of her non-fictions and I have read a couple of them more than once. This is the first in a new series jointly published by Ignatius Press and Mangificat. The category lists it as good for readers 9-18 making it tween, teen and young adult. But to be honest it is a great novel for readers of any age. It is the first in a series and if the offer offerings are as good as this one we are in for some excellent reads.

The description of the book is:

“With both realism and humor, this compelling and heartwarming novel describes, in first-person narrative, the joys and the challenges of a modern English family.

They are unique in many ways--for one thing, all of the six children are competitive figure skaters, and for another, they have a pet alpaca. Yet, they weather the storms of life with the same, sometimes clumsy attempts at patience and understanding found in most families.”

And the author bio states:

“Fiorella De Maria, an Anglo-Maltese writer living in Surrey, England, studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge. A winner of the National Book Prize of Malta, she has published eight other books with Ignatius Press, including A Most Dangerous Innocence, We'll Never Tell Them, and the Father Gabriel Mystery series.”

This story tells the tale of a family of figure skaters. They live walking distance to the rink, where they practice, are tested and put on shows. They family is close knit. They do not have a lot of extra money but they get by and live in a large home that was willed to them because of the kindness of their mother. You find out about that story in the story. We follow the family through the year from practice to nation testing, to competition to showcase. We spend the holidays with the family, including an unexpected guest that Rose invited. We witness ups and downs, successes and failures. We encounter Paddington their pet alpaca. We encounter their friends and even some adversaries. 

The characters are masterfully written. You will fall in love with this family and rejoice in their victories and feel sorry for their difficulties. The family and family dynamics are wonderfully written. As the oldest of three there was much I could relate to. Except for 2 of us were the hockey players on the ice before the figure skaters. But I have known many skaters over the years and this book captures many stories I heard from friends.

This novel really reminded me so much of Madeleine L’Engle’s Chromos novels. In that it is realtime, realistic experiences of the somewhat old-fashioned family. This could be a family you know from school, church or the rink. It could also be your family or part of your extended family. 

My only complaint is the 6 months gap between the release of the print edition and digital edition. I have a dual form of dyslexia and my son had eye tracking issues and we both greatly prefer digital books. I had a physical edition but kept putting of reading it, once I had the eBook I read it in 2 days.

This is an excellent novel. I gave away a copy to my boss and his family, for his daughter is a skater. I plan on giving a copy to our youngest daughters school library as well. This is a volume that would be great on any church, school, or home library. It is story that I can easily recommend. And it will leave you wanting more. When I checked with Fiorella she indicated book 2 will be out later this year it has a working title of The Second Skater of the Apocalypse. I cannot wait! I can easily recommend this book. And keep your eyes out for future books from the pen of Fiorella. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

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