Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sugarless Plum” as Want to Read:
The Sugarless Plum
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sugarless Plum

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  182 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
It started as the perfect story. Zippora Karz was a member of the famed New York City Ballet by the age of eighteen. By twenty she was starring as the Sugar Plum Fairy in "The Nutcracker, " dancing roles created by Jerome Robbins, and traveling the world.It was the stuff dreams are made of until, at age twenty-one, Karz became exhausted, dizzy and excessively thirsty. ...more
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published October 20th 2009 by Harlequin (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sugarless Plum, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Sugarless Plum

Beautiful Affliction by Lene FogelbergThe Carer by Scott  NelsonA Kick-Ass Fairy by Linda ZercoeComplications by Atul GawandeBrain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
Compelling Medical Memoirs
77th out of 110 books — 58 voters
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenDaily Thyroid Routine by Jay AuthorOvercoming Arthritis by David BrownsteinLuna Tree by Maya BergerMy Invisible Cosmic Zebra Has Sjogren's Syndrome - Now What? by Jessie Riley
17th out of 26 books — 9 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 03, 2009 Crystal rated it it was amazing
I am really starting to enjoy memoirs - I have gone from being a straight fiction reader, to reading non-fiction and enjoying it. This is just one of the things that reviewing books has done for me.

The Sugarless Plum was a very enjoyable memoir of the life of Zippora Karz while she was growing up and in the New York City Ballet dealing with Type-1 Diabetes. It was a fascinating look inside the life of a ballerina. I had no idea what all they go through during the day and how many performances th
Mishel Zabala
Dec 20, 2009 Mishel Zabala rated it liked it
Shelves: for-review
THE SUGARLESS PLUM is a powerful story that will reach out to those who suffer from diabetes and even touch those who have never encountered it on a personal level. Zippora's struggles are portrayed honestly and with a lot of emotion as she re-tells the story of her younger years, her ballet career, and struggling to balance her life with her diagnosis. She not only shares her personal and professional life to readers but she reaches out to others with diabetes by providing resource materials ...more
Jan 12, 2013 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book! I bought this for my 11-yr old daughter, who like the author has Type 1 Diabetes and is a ballet dancer. But I started reading it and couldn't put it down. Zippora has a great way of telling a story and I appreciated her honesty about dealing with a diagnosis that could have ended her career. Her trials, tribulations, and ultimately her triumph touched me very deeply. I am so impressed with her tenacity and drive - I wish my daughter could meet her and take a ballet class from ...more
Feb 04, 2010 Briony rated it liked it
This was very quick and mostly enjoyable read. I love any memoir detailing the life of a ballerina and this book was no exception. I enjoyed reading how Karz rose through the ranks to become a part of America's most prestigious ballet company, New York City Ballet, only to succumb to diabetes during her prime dancing time. It was also interesting to see how she and NYC Ballet Company responded to this disease. The only time Karz started to lose me was the last 30 pages, probably because I was ...more
Nov 11, 2012 April rated it liked it
The Sugarless Plum by Zippora Karz is about the author's experience living with diabetes. Karz's case is a bit unique, as she's a ballerina, so she must walk a fine line in her insulin and sugar intake.
Read the rest of my review here
Crystal Starr Light
May 12, 2011 Crystal Starr Light rated it really liked it
"I could not let my excuses, my fears, even if they were valid, interfere"
NOTE: I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program

This Vine selection is a bit of a departure for me (nonfiction biography), but the "story" really called to me.
Zippora Karz is a ballerina with the New York Company Ballet. At the age of twenty-one, she is diagnosed with diabetes. The book details her childhood, her growing love for ballet, her early life with the NYCB, and her struggle with diabetes.

I Liked:
Jun 09, 2010 Denise rated it really liked it
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and fascinating autobiography of a prima ballerina, November 25, 2009

This review is from: The Sugarless Plum (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What's this?)
This memoir of her career as a ballerina with the New York City Ballet is an insightful and moving look inside the life of Zippora Karz. Her association with this famed company began at age 18 in the corps de ballet and continued for the next sixteen years as she was noticed and groomed fo
Haley Mathiot
Jan 04, 2010 Haley Mathiot rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-bookshelf
Zippora’s memoir is touching, inspirational, dramatic, and profound. I felt 100% in her shoes through her story, not just because I am a dancer and can relate to a lot of the experiences, but because of the way she has written it. She writes like the whole thing is magic—because Ballet is magic. I just can’t think of words to describe how much I loved this book.

There was a lot of information about Diabetes in the text, and I did skip over a paragraph occasionally. But for the most part it all f
jennifer ochs
Oct 19, 2009 jennifer ochs rated it it was amazing
Title: The Sugarless Plum: A Ballerina's Triumph Over Diabetes
Author: Zippora Karz
ISBN: 978-0373892037
Publisher: Harlequin
List Price: $22.95

From a young age, Zippora Karz desired to achieve her dream of becoming a ballerina. By the time Karz had reached the age of 20, she had attained professional status and had obtained work with the New York City Ballet.

The Sugarless Plum: A Ballerina's Triumph Over Diabetes is a debut memoir written by Zippora Karz, a former soloist ballerina of the New Yor
This is an inspiring memoir of a type 1 diabetic ballerina; Zippora Karz,as she progresses in the world of ballet and how her diagnosis stunts her for a while. Her support system failing her. Her medical care team not doing what its supposed to. Being in denial for a long time and struggling with the reality of the situation after. Diabetes having its toll on her professional career and her relationships. She went through all of that and still be called a success story. Her life gives us all ...more
Christine (booktumbling)
Author Zippora Karz offers an insightful look at her struggle to manage diabetes as a solo ballerina in her memoir The Sugarless Plum: A Ballerina’s Triumph Over Diabetes. Ms. Karz’s love of dance started at an early age and with the encouragement of her family and ballet teacher, she was able to earn a place in the New York City Ballet company at the age of eighteen.

Ms. Karz’s dedication and diligent work ethic earned her many solos including the lead as the Sugar Plum Fairy in numerous product
Dec 29, 2009 Morris rated it really liked it
This books delivers a fascinating, scary and inspirational story of a young person's life. Zippora Karz provides us a unique perspective into the life of a professional ballerina. The dedication and physical demands are sometimes overwhelming in contrast to the beauty and grace of the performance. While not the primary focus of the book, the inside story of the New York City Ballet is very interesting.

Reading the book, I could share the fear Zippora must have felt when she finally returned her d
Miki Garrison
Mar 29, 2010 Miki Garrison rated it it was amazing
This is a great memoir, focusing mainly on the professional ballet career of Zippora Karz, in the years leading up to her diagnosis with diabetes, and especially with her struggles in progressing in the world of ballet while also dealing with misdiagnoses, out of control blood sugars, conflicting advice, and more than a little bit of initial denial about the seriousness of the disease.

I love the idea of memoirs like these, but all too often I pick them up only to find that they are poorly writt
Oct 12, 2009 Renee rated it really liked it
In recent years I've met multiple moms whose children have been diagnosed with diabetes - the preschool daughter of a longtime friend, the school age son of a neighbor, a high school boy in our church youth group as well as a school age girl in our preteen youth group - the list seems to keep growing. When The Sugarless Plum was available for reviewing, I knew I had to read it and I'm glad I did.
I was surprised to find out that Karz is a contemporary of mine since I can't remember knowing any te
Claire Fullerton
This book reminded me of why I love to read a memoir. It is written in such a fast-paced, straight forward, conversational way that not only did I feel as if I know the author personally, I couldn't put it down. And, since I think there is an inner ballerina in most women, to read the inspirational memoir of a New York City Ballet soloist who climbed the ranks of ballet's secret, insular world enthralled me at every turn.

Zippora Karz was a part of NYCB when its seminal template existed: Balanc
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Jan 28, 2010 Holly (2 Kids and Tired) rated it liked it
Shelves: health
This was a memoir I thoroughly enjoyed. I love ballet and while it's not a "tell all" book, the insiders look into the world of the New York City Ballet was fascinating. Zippora's account of the perseverance it took to become a prima ballerina is inspiring: the hard work and hours of practice; the pressure to not only excel, but succeed to the expectations of greats like George Balanchine.

Zippora's story is honest and unembellished. As she reaches her professional goals, her health declines and
May 15, 2011 Kasia rated it really liked it
I always knew that ballet is a very difficult art to master, it requires a lot of sacrifices, discipline and asks to move our bodies in the most unnatural but beautiful way. The lives of ballet dancers are as mysterious to an average person as the chasms of the deepest ocean, but this book provides fascinating and cringe worthy look behind the velvet curtain. These people are intense athletes and with this story Zippora Karz not only exposes her hardships as a dancer but also as a diabetic. Her ...more
Jun 12, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs, adult
Having a daughter with Type I diabetes means that you read all about it, even in novels. So I interlibrary loaned this adult memoir about a professional ballet dancer who discovered she had Type I diabetes in her early 20's. What stands out about her story is that her doctors were STUPID. They really thought that a young dancer in wonderful physical shape could have developed Type II diabetes--the kind that overweight and out of shape people get. WHAT????? So she was mistreated for years. She ...more
Anne Marsh
Feb 06, 2011 Anne Marsh rated it really liked it
I'm always a sucker for behind-the-scenes stories of the ballet world-- and Balanchine's ballet school and ABT are every bit as colorful and larger-than-life as I had hoped. Zippora makes a fabulous heroine-- she's not afraid to acknowledge both strengths and weaknesses, and her decision to take charge of both her health and her dancing are an inspirational lesson for everyone. The balance between her creative growth and struggles as a dancer and her diabetes is handled beautifully -- the book ...more
Aug 09, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing
Outstanding memoir about the life of a dancer with the New York City Ballet. Zippora Karz started ballet as a young girl and was chosen to attnd NYCB summer camps. By age 18 she was a member of their Corps de Ballet. But at 21 she developed Type 1 (children's) diabetes. the book covers both her experince as a dancer and her trials and tribulations as she worked to get her diabetes under control.

I enjoyed the book very much. I think that readers who have an interest in either or both ballet and
Dec 02, 2009 Susan rated it liked it
This is an okay book, but it is published by Harlequin and is a harlequin reading level. I loved reading the first half about how Zippora got to be a professional ballet dancer in New York. It requires a tremendous amount of self discipline and hard work. After her diagnosis of diabetes, she works just as hard only has to balance her disease and her work. Overcoming some terrible odd she gets things under control and continues as a soloist for the next 7 years.
Nera Mujezinovic
Mar 21, 2011 Nera Mujezinovic rated it it was amazing
This book inspired me because i do ballet also. She had an illness which was diabetes type 1 and overcame it while dancing for new york city ballet. She was determined to continue what she loved doing regardless of this horrible obstacle she had to overcome but she did it. This is one of my favorite books of all time.
Nov 05, 2010 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The Sugarless Plum, by Zippora Karz, was a great book that showed that determination will pay off in the long-run. It was a great book for dancers and told the story of a talented member of the School of American Ballet and later the New York City Ballet, who struggled with diabetes. This was such an inspiring story and may of it's lessons will stick with me for life.
Briana R
Jun 27, 2014 Briana R rated it really liked it
As a dancer and being interested in health care, I found this book to be very interesting. I love learning how Zippora dealt with her diabetes, and the mistakes she made while first taking the road that had diabetes. It's nice to see that she progressed as a person with such an ailment, and to see that she surpassed her illness and kept on dancing.
Jodi Johnson
Mar 01, 2010 Jodi Johnson rated it it was amazing
This was a great read! Not only does Zippora give you an inside look at SAB and NYC ballet but her personal struggles and triumphs as well. She did not skim over her denial stage while writing this book she embraced it and shared her experience. A great read for anyone who wants to read an inspirational story.
Jan 21, 2013 Lindsay rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really loved this book. I was involved with dance my whole childhood, 5-18, so I loved revisiting memories of that time. I'd definately reccomend this more to people who have experience dancing, because I'm sure all the terms could be confusing for those who have never heard them before.
Melanie Stinson
Aug 31, 2016 Melanie Stinson rated it really liked it
I recommend this book to anyone interested in ballet, anyone training to be a professional ballet dancer, and anyone struggling with diabetes. It is an engaging read and well-written. Ms. Karz learned a great deal about herself and this disease - diabetes - and was called to write about it.
Jan 16, 2013 Colleen rated it it was amazing
As a type 1 diabetic, and former ballerina, I loved this book. I found this book to be not only accurate, but encouraging, heart-breaking, beautifully written, and amazing. Despite difficulties, always live your dreams to the fullest.
Mar 23, 2010 Stacy rated it liked it
Although I skimmed the first half, I actually really enjoyed this book. It talked about ballet - a lot - too much detail for me honestly. But I enjoyed the diabetes part of it so it redeemed itself. I'd only recommend if you have diabetes.
Savannah Helmer
Sep 20, 2014 Savannah Helmer rated it really liked it
This was a very good book, explaining the life of a dancer and all of the different difficulties they go through. I enjoyed almost all of it, except at one point it got a little to sexual than what I was comfortable with. But, I highly recommend this book for dancers and also non-dancers.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Winter Season: A Dancer's Journal
  • Once a Dancer: An Autobiography
  • White Swan, Black Swan
  • I Was a Dancer
  • The Pointe Book: Shoes, Training & Technique
  • Nureyev: The Life
  • Dancing on My Grave
  • I, Maya Plisetskaya
  • The Ballet Companion: A Dancer's Guide to the Technique, Traditions, and Joys of Ballet
  • George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker
  • Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina
  • The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky
  • Ballerina: Sex, Scandal, and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection
  • Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear: Inside the Land of Ballet
  • Holding On to the Air
  • The Two Kinds of Decay
  • Margot Fonteyn
  • The Melting Season

Share This Book