Nolan, Han. Dancing on the Edge. Harcourt Brace, 1997. ISBN 0-15-201648-1. $16.00. 244 pp. A 5+ FI Reviewed by Wendy Bishop Miracle is raised by a rather unusual grandmother, Gigi, who solves problems through seances and the Ouija board. Unwilling to admit that she is driving her son (Miracle's father) too hard and incapable of facing the reality that her son has left home, Gigi holds a seance and tells Miracle that her father, Dane, has “melted.” Miracle then becomes obsessed with bringing her father back. Readers will find Miracle to be a very unusual child. Gigi claims this is because Miracle came out of the body of a dead woman. Gigi wants Miracle to become a prodigy like her father, but Miracle finds a different talent--dancing. However, when Granddaddy Opal finds bruises all over Miracle's legs, he begins to wonder what kind of dancing Miracle is involved with. Miracle not only dances into walls, but she also wears Dane's old bathrobe wherever she goes. Determined to get in touch with Dane, she decides to melt herself too in order to reach him. Gradually, readers see that when we dance on the edge of fantasy, we are in danger of falling over into reality. In Part II of the book, a young psychiatrist helps Miracle find the truth about her birth with the help of her Aunt Casey. Miracle begins to heal from her physical and emotional scars. She also comes to understand and empathize with her grandmother's inability to face reality. In Dancing on the Edge, Nolan helps readers realize that fantasies can sometimes mask our ability to see reality and that love requires honesty. In the end Miracle understands: I still don't know what love was, not yet. But I thought maybe it was like dance, and music, and poetry. I knew how they made me feel: real, and lit up from the inside, and like nothing in the world could ever really hurt me.
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