Linda Gerber’s recent release, Lights, Camera Cassidy captures common tween conflicts such as searching for independence, navigating identity issues, and developing relationships with the opposite sex. Twelve year old Cassidy Barnett, daughter of reality television stars, likes a challenge and craves attention—until she is in the spotlight and experiences all the drawbacks of the limelight, which demands she wear a plastic smile and practice her princess wave. When she sneaks out of the house while in Valencia, Spain, to take video and pictures for the blog she writes to stay connected to her deceased grandfather, Cassidy inadvertently catches a contrabandista in the act of committing an artifact theft. Caught up in the drama of being a material witness in another country carries its own challenge in the form of negative attention for Cassidy who learns that the media is often not interested in the truth but in what makes the best story.
Although Gerber tells her story in a fairly linear fashion without any real depth, through ego-centric Cassidy she conveys a couple of interesting morals: determination can be both a blessing and a curse and our decisions can have far reaching effects on others. Gerber also remembers this period of adolescence well, as she describes Cassidy’s challenge to avoid trips toDisappoint-the-ParentsLandand Peers-Think-You’re-a-Wimp Land. Another aspect of the book that adds interest are the Travel Tips Cassidy shares. Through them Gerber offers sincere advice as well as Spanish culture details.
As an adult reader, the part of the book that resonated most with me was Gerber’s theory about food. According to character Julia Barnett, “a country’s story is told through the things they eat. Food, she says, is the end result of a person’s heritage and history. It brings back memories. It evokes moods. That’s why food is such a big part of our celebrations and our sorrows” (84).
- Posted by Donna