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Balancing Acts

3.01  ·  Rating Details ·  621 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
A poignant debut novel about the transformative powers of yoga and friendship for four women on the verge of realizing their dreams

With beauty, brains, and a high-paying Wall Street position, Charlie was a woman who seemed to have it all—until she turned thirty and took stock of her life, or lack thereof. She left it all behind to pursue yoga, and now, two years later, sh
Paperback, 365 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published 2010)
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Breathe by Kate BishopTales from the Yoga Studio by Rain MitchellDownward Dog, Upward Fog by Meryl Davids LandauA Killer Retreat by Tracy WeberMurder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber
Novels about yoga
9th out of 34 books — 53 voters
Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Silver Chair by C.S. LewisA Room of One's Own by Virginia WoolfThe Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di LampedusaExistentialism Is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre
Chairs on Covers
124th out of 150 books — 39 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,329)
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Jul 24, 2011 Melissa rated it did not like it
I'm both a fan of yoga and, i'm not usually embarrassed to say, "chick lit" (though I despise the reference). Therefore, I must say, I had high hopes for this book that looked to marry the two. However, I was sorely disappointed. The book was a quick read which is great for summer but mostly the ability to turn page after page was due to the fact that it lacked any depth whatsoever. To say that this book carried on for almost 400 pages on the most surface levels would be an understatement.

Jul 06, 2010 Andrea rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, yoga, fiction
A story about four single women in NYC who meet up at their 10-year college reunion (they were only acquaintances in college, not real friends) and decide to bond during a 6-week intro to yoga class.

It's like Sex & the City meets the Friday Night Knitting Club. Only, with yoga mats instead of yarn. Charlie quit her fast-paced Wall Street job to teach yoga and open a yoga studio in Brooklyn; the others include a lapsed-photographer single mom; a romance novel editor who's a lapsed writer; an
Mar 10, 2010 Jonita rated it really liked it
Charlie used to dominate Wall Street, but has changed paths and now runs a yoga studio with two fellow yoga-lovers; the reason behind her sudden switch from her old, fast-paced life to yoga remains mysterious. Naomi used to love to be behind the camera, but her life changed when she got pregnant with her son, Noah, now 8. Now she's trying to deal with the fact that Noah's once-absent father (and her ex) wants back into her son's life after years of being uninterested. Sabine is the editor of rom ...more
I should create a new shelf, “Debut Novels,” because I am so drawn to them in my local library’s “new fiction” section. While much of the inner thinking of the four reconnected friends has been shared in other novels, there are a few aspects that intrigued me. The yoga studio and classes served as a clean structure allowing the four friends to come together and find new strength and understanding about themselves. As a fledgling yoga student, I was interested in this. The idea of how challenging ...more
Nov 12, 2010 Kristin rated it did not like it
This book was awful. I mean, AWFUL. As in, I can't honestly believe that someone agreed to publish it awful.
The basic story is ok. Four women meet at their ten-year college reunion and bond by taking the same yoga class. The problem is, the writing is just terrible. The dialogue is forced, the word choice is often awkward, and many of the characters are silly caricatures (a gay guy who works in a yoga studio and named his bulldogs George and Michael? REALLY? I think I actually rolled my eyes.) I
Jun 10, 2010 Karen rated it did not like it
Poorly written version of every other knitting/book/writing club book out there. Obnoxious dialogue, poorly developed characters, overdone premise.

I wasn't going to finish this book, but I was bored, and had no other new books to read. It was as awful as I feared. The same story - right down to the health crisis that strikes one member of the group... ugh. NO originality here. PLUS, they all start noticing how fit and whatever they are getting... really? from one day of yoga a week for 6 weeks?
Karen White
Aug 10, 2012 Karen White rated it did not like it
Shelves: just-for-fun
I SO loved Fishman's SAVING ZOE, but this was a very disappointing freshman effort. It is so formulaic, like she is trying to fit into the chick-lit-struggling-young-women-in-NYC thing and it just doesn't work. And the yoga thing is forced as well.
I normally don't write negative reviews, but I want to say don't judge Fishman's writing by THIS book. Saving Zoe Saving Ruth: A Novel is far and away a better novel.
Jul 12, 2010 Valerie rated it really liked it
QUICK QUICK read. I enjoyed this book. But, it's pretty much like most of the other women friend books I've read. Nothing stands out to make me say, "Wow, this book is fantastic." But, it was a great beach read and kept my attention.
May 18, 2010 Kerri rated it really liked it
My kind of book! Not too deep, fun, great timing for the point in my life where I'm at. The journey of life is definitely all about balancing your goals and dreams with reality, but finding a way to make them come alive!
Jun 01, 2015 Dale rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I was very disappointed in this book. It is a perfect example of buying a book because of its cover and the write up on the back. I like romance, yoga, etc. I thought the premise was solid but the writing was very teenage like. I became so tired of the constant clichés that I began to keep track of them. The story is about 4 woman in their 30's who go back to college for their 10 year reunion and reunite through a yoga class. From the cover, you would think they were best friends in college, but ...more
Jan 01, 2012 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it
Finding a balance in their lives is a common theme for the four women in "Balancing Acts: A Novel."

They met years before in college, and at a reunion, they reconnect and decide to join a basic yoga class for six weeks on Saturday mornings.

A Brooklyn neighborhood is at the centerpiece of this story, and sets the stage for the lifestyle action that follows. I could relate to the women, even though I've never lived in New York; and enjoyed reading about their journey toward finding their balance. W
Feb 15, 2012 April rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-reads
I had really high hopes for this book, a book I would have never picked up a year ago. Having recently discovered the true magic of yoga, I immediately fell in love with the synopsis on the back cover.

Charlie worked herself to the bone to succeed at her lucrative, high-paying Wall Street job. She studied instead of partied during her college years. Always. Which is why everyone is shocked to hear she left it all behind for yoga as they huddle at their ten year college reunion. She meets up with
Stephanie  from Books Paradise
Freundschaft, Yoga und die Kraft der Liebe... Es kommt anders als man vom Klappentext her erwartet: Charlie ist ist jung und risikofreudig. Nach ihrem Beziehungsaus hat sie ihre erfolgreiche Karriere an der Wall Street einfach an den Nagel gehängt und ein neues Leben begonnen. Das Ganze ist jetzt vier Jahre her, aber Charlie hat die Trennung immer noch nicht überwunden. Vor einiger Zeit hat sie zusammen mit zwei guten Freunden ein eigenes Yogastudio, das Prana, eröffnet. Auf sie nun auf einem Kl ...more
Silvia Liotta
Dec 04, 2012 Silvia Liotta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alla fine del college Charlie sognava di diventare una famosa broker in un mondo maschilista
come quello di Wall Street, Naomi pensava che il suo amore per la fotografia le avrebbe
fatto girare il mondo, Sabine invece sarebbe diventata una famosa autrice di best seller mentre
Bess sognava di scrivere per il New York Times. A dieci anni di distanza queste quattro donne,
come quasi sempre succede, si ritrovano a fare dei lavori distanti anni luce da quelli che hanno
sempre sognato e per cui hanno impie
Mar 29, 2010 Meg rated it really liked it
Zoe Fishman's Balancing Acts was an inspirational, surprisingly upbeat novel centering around the complicated lives of four people -- all women who, by the close of the novel, felt like friends. Fishman does a fantastic job of giving us enough information about each woman to allow us to relate to their predicaments without the story breaking into cliches or random information. I saw a bit of myself in each character, especially Sabine, and could definitely relate to their problems and attempts t ...more
Lydia Presley
May 09, 2010 Lydia Presley rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, chick-stuff, 2010
Let me just say - if you are going to write about four women and their paths toward fulfilling their dreams - at least try to be somewhat unique about it. As I was reading through this book I couldn't get over how similar this book was to books like The Friday Night Knitting Club, The School of Essential Ingredients, and even the story that Balancing Acts mocks in its pages, Carrie Bradshaw and Sex in the City.

Like these books we look at things from all the characters points of view. I saw the s
Mar 21, 2010 Alea added it
Shelves: read-for-review
Balancing Acts came into my life at precisely the right time, I started yoga about 2 months ago and have been loving it. Balancing Acts was the perfect meld of yoga and the type of book I love to read, I just loved it.

I'm instantly attracted to books that are told in rotating perspective and Balancing Acts happens to explore these 4 women's journeys through each of their 4 voices. I loved all four of their voices with Bess just coming in slightly behind the other 3 women because of her initial m
Apr 21, 2010 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: tbr-pile-at-home
Balancing Acts portrays four New York women in their early thirties who reaquaint themselves at their ten year college reunion and agree to take a yoga class from one of the members who has since done a 180 in her career and opened a yoga studio called Prana Yoga. The majority of the book is set in a six week period as they take the class, although we do get to see a slice of their lives three months after the class has finished. We meet Sabine, Naomi, Bess, and Charlie as they struggle with the ...more
Jan 28, 2014 Katrina rated it it was ok
This was a debut novel for this author and although a reasonable, albeit light, read I would not likely read another. As I mentioned in my progress report, it was not a very deep story, but mildly entertaining. One of my biggest criticisms was more of an editing complaint. There were at least three occasions where the wrong persons name was in the dialogue requiring me to read back and forth to figure out who was actually involved in the conversation. Also, on one occasion, the person did someth ...more
Apr 15, 2014 Leanora rated it liked it
The book started out strong to the point I couldn't put it down. I love books that are told from different points of view, and I was curious to see where each character's story was going. After a while, the book just seemed to drag on a bit and there were a few elements that didn't seem realistic (or necessary) to me. All that said, I am more curious about yoga courses than I was before =)
Dixie Keyes
May 25, 2014 Dixie Keyes rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book: a fun pleasure read, esp for someone like me who started yoga later in life. This book brings four busy 30 something women together in a yoga class , and depicts how each balances her busy life, attempts at love, and inner harmony. I laughed and cried and felt often what they did. Excellent beach or holiday read.
Apr 03, 2010 Jessica rated it it was ok
I picked up this book to read over spring break - my "trashy novels" choice. It definitely fits in with that moniker. The premise of the book is that four friends from college get back together after their 10 year reunion, and are convinced to enroll in a special Saturday morning yoga class. Through this class, they learn about themselves and grow. All in 6 classes. I know! Amazing. Also, not very believable. The characters were interesting (albeit caricatures), although they seemed to change ch ...more
Kristen Macgregor
Sep 30, 2014 Kristen Macgregor rated it liked it
This was an easy, quick read. Lighthearted, and a tiny bit sex & the city meets grown up life. The characters were easy to each relate to in some way. I'd definitely give a Zoe Fishman novel another chance. Recommend as a summertime beach read!
Phea Anderson
May 06, 2014 Phea Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Initially, I thought there were too many characters. But they made the book more interesting. I enjoyed the book, although I think it is better suited to women in their thirties.
Apr 23, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
I didn't really know what to expect when I got the book. I had read the reviews and it seemed all over the place. At first I was bored, but then once I had some time, I jumped into the book and didn't come out until I finished!

I thought it was 1,000 times better than the "Friday Night Knitting Club", it was a lot more realistic, and it was the first time in a long time that I actually liked the ending of the book.

I am really thinking of trying yoga now after having read the book. I wish the au
Feb 21, 2011 Jackie rated it liked it
Overall an enjoyable read. I liked hearing the perspective of four different women, but do think in doing so it lacked some depth. I myself am a beginner with yoga and so was attracted to this book and how it integrated the transformative power of yoga. However - please! yoga once a week is not going to transform your life, it's not going to get you in great physical shape, and you won't be popping up into wheel after 4 weeks or a handstand after 6 week. Did the author even have a yoga teacher r ...more
Sera Goldsmith
Mar 23, 2010 Sera Goldsmith rated it liked it
I read this book as part of a book blog tour, and I'll be posting my official review of it on March 29th. I found the dialogue to be a bit choppy - didn't flow super well, and I wasn't crazy about the overall style of writing, although there were some really funny parts. As far as chick lit is concerned, it was cute, and I liked the fact that there was a focus on yoga - that, in itself, set it apart from some other chick lit stories. As I got closer to the end, I was really wanting to know how t ...more
Mandy Stewart
Jul 18, 2016 Mandy Stewart rated it it was amazing
I loved this book.It was interesting from start to finish.The author had great story lines for each character.She really captured the struggle women go through balancing it all sometimes.Truly an inspirational book.
Feb 03, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
easy to read and made me want to get up and go to a yoga class - fun reading about 4 women and their struggles and achievements
Het verhaal over vier vrouwen is geen hoogstaande literatuur maar wel perfect voor je verstand op nul te zetten en rustig te lezen. Als je niets tegen chicklit en yoga hebt, kan je er gerust aan beginnen.
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