Ten Cents a Dance

Ten Cents a Dance

by Christine Fletcher
4.3 33

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Overview

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher

With her mother ill, it's up to fifteen-year-old Ruby Jacinski to support her family. But in the 1940s, the only opportunities open to a Polish-American girl from Chicago's poor Yards is a job in one of the meat packing plants. Through a chance meeting with a local tough, Ruby lands a job as a taxi dancer and soon becomes an expert in the art of "fishing": working her patrons for meals, cash, clothes, even jewelry. Drawn ever deeper into the world of dance halls, jazz, and the mob, Ruby gradually realizes that the only one who can save her is herself. A mesmerizing look into a little known world and era.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599904627
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 03/30/2010
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Christine Fletcher grew up in California. After receiving her veterinary degree from the University of California, she lived for three years in the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee. She writes, teaches, and practices veterinary medicine in Portland, OR. www.christinefletcherbooks.com

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Ten Cents a Dance 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
It is the 1940's and 15-year-old Ruby Jacinski has had to step in and support her family. Her father is dead and her mother is now too sick to work. The family has had to move to a poorer neighborhood and the only work Ruby can get is at the meat-packing plant, earning $12.25 per week. Her only escape is when she meets her friends to go dancing.

One night, Ruby's entire life changes. Tough-guy Paulie Suelze tells her how she can earn up to $50 a week. That much money could change Ruby's life. She could pay off the families grocery bill, get her mother's wedding ring out of the pawn shop, and maybe even get her mother and sister out of the Back of the Yards and into a decent house.

There is a hitch to the idea. The job isn't exactly a respectable one. She would be working as a taxi dancer, a girl who dances with men for money. For the cost of a dime, lonely men purchase the illusion of having a pretty girl who is interested in them, even if it is only for the length of a song. Since dancing is what Ruby does best, she figures there will be no problem earning that much money.

Ruby quits her job at the plant and devises a story so that her mother will let her stay out late every night, when the Dance Halls do their business. Ruby soon finds herself leading two lives and hiding each from the other.

Taxi dancing proves to be more complicated than Ruby thought. There is a hierarchy of girls to navigate through and earning good money means learning the act of subtle manipulation with the clients. Ruby soon learns that the world of taxi dancing is a complicated one and, as her new friend Peggy tells her, "every taxi dancer has a story."

Will Ruby be able to separate herself from this new world or will she become another one of its casualties? Will she ever be able to return to her old life? Is it possible to return to an innocent existence after seeing another side of life?

TEN CENTS A DANCE was inspired by a member of author Christine Fletcher's own family. The story of Sofia, as explained in the book, is about a family member who was lost for several years. She had been shamed and banished from the family only to return years later. Sofia had been a taxi dancer and went to great lengths to hide her true life from her family. It was only after her death that the truth came to light. Fletcher began to research taxi dancers, which led to the creation of Ruby.

This is an amazing story that vividly describes what it must have been like to be young and offered such a great opportunity and terrible burden at the same time. Ruby is a very realistic character with enough spunk to inspire anyone. The dialogue is rich with the language of the time and the spirit of pre-war America has been accurately represented.

TEN CENTS A DANCE will leave a lasting impression.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in two days! Its absolutly amazing!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely great book. Entertaining but also you learn alot. The best of both worlds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved background and history of book-overall a great book with a wonderful plot, and well narrated characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ive read thus far!
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
Christine Fletcher captures the life of the poor in Chicago of the 1940s with such realism that you feel for the characters, especially Ruby Jacinski. Wanting more for herself that what the slums have to offer, she takes a job as a taxi dancer. We learn that life is not always greener on the other side. But Roby is strong and learns to overcome her obstacles. I enjoyed this book, but when I learned that the inspiration for this story was based on the author's long lost family member Sophia who was a taxi dancer made it all the more special. Although this book was written for the young adult reader, it is also enjoyable for us older adults.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Chicago, 1941: When her mother becomes too sick to work, Ruby Jacinski knows it's her responsibility to look after the family and make sure money is coming in. Ruby doesn't mind dropping out of school. But working in the factory just about kills her. Leave it to Ruby and her fiery temper to lose a sweet spot slicing bacon and end up working in Pig's Feet. When a local legend and all-around tough guy suggests that Ruby could use her talents as a dance teacher to earn some real dough, Ruby jumps at the offer. But teaching dancing is the last thing on the clients' minds when Ruby begins working as a taxi dancer. With no other choices, Ruby immerses herself into the world of taxi dancing and learns the fine art of drawing extra gifts in the form of meals, clothes and even cash from her clients. Soon, Ruby is making more money than she could have imagined. Soon Ruby realizes that the unsavory aspects of her work are starting to stick to her as much as the stink of pickled pig's feet used to. With no one else to help, Ruby knows that it's her choice to make another change for herself in Ten Cents a Dance (2009) by Christine Fletcher. Ten Cents a Dance was partly inspired by one of the authors relatives as detailed in the author's note at the end of the novel. Fletcher offers a well-researched novel that brings the world of the Chicago Yards neighborhood to life. Ruby is a tough as nails heroine who isn't afraid to make hard choices to get what's coming to her. If Ruby is coarse or gritty during the story it is because she has to be to survive. While Ruby's decisions are often fueled by impulsive judgments of painfully naive notions, she is a very authentic heroine and one that readers will understand. Although Ruby makes mistakes again and again (and again) during the narrative she always owns up to the them. She always acknowledges what she did and works to make it right. Ten Cents a Dance is a vivid story of the darker side of pre-war Chicago. Sure to appeal to readers looking for a noirish read they can sink their teeth into. Possible Pairings: Strings Attached by Judy Blundell, The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, Vixen by Jillian Larkin, The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff, Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross, Bowery Girl by Kim Taylor
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This I loved this book and have previously written a review for it, however I need to say that this book cover change is horrific and gives you the WRONG impression about what Ruby's story is all about. It's just ridiculous.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stop wasting your time looking at reviews and just read! This book is amazing!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was indeed a pretty good book. I'm saying this and giving it 4 stars becuase it was not really my style. What drew me in was the fact that it was about a taxi dancer and being that dance is one of my passions I was really curious about the taxi dancer profession. So indeed it was good. It just wasn't what I was expecting. I was looking forward to a bigger dance scene or rather just something more on the profession. It's more of a love story but it's not at all mushy. In fact it is hard and real. Overall it was a good read just not one of my favorites.
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Charlie-in-Iowa More than 1 year ago
I am an avid (rabid) reader so I like free books. This was the first thing I bought on my Nook. It may seem pricy to your at $7.19 if your a thrifty fourteen year-old girl like me. The book had the main person of interest, Ruby, show change and emotion. Hope for getting to a better home, working over the greed that comes with money, and putting back together a family bond. Add in an interesting boyfriend and a true taxi dancer story you are in for a gret read. 276 pages.
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so_death_bye More than 1 year ago
this book is great i wish i had it. i never thiough a school libraty book would be this good. it is great and no book is like it. it's so good that i read it cover-to-cover. and happy about it. it's kind of a true life hidden storie to the Christine Fletcher. she is really good and i never wanted to put it down. when thigs were going right in the book, she kept going and made it solid. meaning truthful by solid to real life problems.