Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph

‘Dancing in the Rain’ by Lynn Joseph is a beautiful, lyrical, optimistic novel, in the midst of the some of life’s darkest hours. Set in the rich oppositional settings of New York City’s hustle and bustle, and the lush beauty amd beaches of the Dominican Republic, ‘Dancing in the Rain’ follows the lives of two families that converge following the tragic terrorist events on September 11th 2001 in New York. Jarad, Brandt and their mother, Izzy have made their lives in New York City – until the planes hit the Twin Towers and their world came crashing down around them. Unable to escape from the sorrow the traumatic events bring on, Izzy moves her family to her father’s home in the Dominican Republic in an attempt to make a fresh start. Elizabeth lives in the Dominican Republic with her Mami; her Papi works in New York City in a restaurant at the very top of the Twin Towers. The readers experience how the family only becomes whole again during beloved Papi’s brief visits home, before we experience how Elizabeth’s world changes irrevocably when Papi is killed is the terror attacks. Brandt and Elizabeth meet, become friends and embark on their quest to make Mami and Izzy happy again! I loved this story. The innocence and simplicity with which Brandt and Izzy attempt to ‘heal’ their mothers’ lives is heartbreakingly lovely, as is their realisation that they cannot make someone happy by their external actions alone; true happiness has to come from within. Elizabeth is wise beyond her years as she learns this lesson alongside Brandt; and their disappointment at the failure of their actions turns to optimism that in being happy themselves, the children’s happiness will eventually rub off on their family. The final scene is a powerful one with a message of hope, bringing to mind the famous quote by Vivan Greene: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.’

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