Ice Charades: Penguins Behaving Badly and Other Follies From the Road

This book by Jenny Hall is about the story of a college girl in Minnesota who runs off to Europe to join an ice show. The jacket blurb calls it a coming-of-age story, and that is a good description. But this book puts a new twist on coming-of-age stories by giving the reader a glimpse behind the scenes in the unfamiliar world of professional ice skating. As it turns out, it seems skating shows are more glamorous on the ice than off.

As the show tours Europe, there is drama and comedy in turns, and we also get a glimpse behind the Iron Curtain as the show hits Prague before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The characters are believable and sympathetic. The reader ends up rooting for the success of the protagonist, both in the show and in her love life as well.

The book must be partly autobiographical, or at least loosely based on real events, as the author spent years touring with ice shows in Europe. It is a fun read, and brings the reader – at least readers who have never been professional skaters – into an interesting new setting. Recommended!

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