Dancing Backward In Paradise by Vera Jane Cook is a brilliant debut novel that explores the definition of happiness and tries to make sense of the unexpected turns that create the richness and texture of life. Grace Place is nineteen-years-old and lives in Paradise, the Paradise Trailer Park in Hixon, Tennessee. The year is 1966 and Grace is content exploring the back roads, swimming in the cold waters of Tennessee and dancing in the wind. When her life is thrown off track by a man named Lenny Bean, Grace becomes entwined in a medley of lies, murder and betrayal. Trying desperately to remain true to herself, while the life she has created begins to crumble, Grace is more determined than ever to change her destiny.
“You’re going to New York City, honey” her mother told her. “It’s the only place I know of where things are so damn crazy and mean, so miraculous and exciting, so painfully alienating that you just might find yourself amongst the confusion.”
Accompanied by the most unlikely of friends, Ginny Jo, (a girl who thinks she's the only lesbian in Hixson)Grace is on her way to New York City. This is the city that her mother had long ago told her was the only place where her life would become something worth living. There amidst the 1960’s world of civil rights, hippies and ambition, Grace begins living the dreams that her mother always held and that she never believed existed. A place that can only be called Paradise.
Absorbing and compelling, Dancing Backward In Paradise poses the question: Can we find ourselves? Cook immerses us into a world so full of authentic characters and unlikely events, with a heroine so exceptional and genuine that we can only be inspired to find our own definition of paradise.