Gail Amendt's Reviews > Various Positions

Various Positions by Martha Schabas
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Nov 12, 2011

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Read from November 12 to 15, 2011

This was a very disturbing look into the world of ballet, in particular the elite ballet academies that train dancers for professional careers. It is not what I normally read, but I was curious as my daughters are dancers, and I was pressured to have my youngest daughter audition for a ballet boarding school such as the one depicted in this book at the tender age of ten. If this book is any indication of what the world of ballet school is like, I am so glad we decided against having her audition.

The story follows the life of fourteen year old Georgia as she auditions for and is accepted into an elite ballet academy. She enters a "dog eat dog" world filled with pressure to be the perfect dancer and have the perfect body, along with the usual teenage pressures. Add a less than perfect family life and Georgia's life begins to unravel. The author has done a really good job of getting inside the head of a fourteen year old girl, with the peer pressure, angst and sexual confusion that goes with that age. It brought back memories of my teen years that I had long since forgotten. I found the story too predictable, though. I always seemed to know what was coming next, and that was a disappointment. I was also disappointed with the OCD part of the story. It was very obvious at the beginning with Georgia's obsession with the positioning of a paper clip, that the author was portraying her as suffering from OCD. As the mother of an OCD son, I instantly recognized that as classic OCD behavior. That is almost the last we see of it, however. It is almost as if the author didn't know what to do with that part of the story line after that. I can say from my own experience with my son, that as the pressure in Georgia's life mounted, her OCD would have gotten progressively worse. Yes, her obsession with her teacher Roderick has an OCD component to it, but she should also have been exhibiting ritualistic behavior with untreated OCD given the amount of stress she was under. I think this inconsistency ruined the story for me. There is so much that could have been done with this idea with a little bit of research. As it is, I think it would have been better if the author had left the OCD out entirely.

Having said all that, I think this was a good first novel. It would have been made better by a little more research, but the dance part of the story was great. The author obviously knows the world of dance and wisely chose to write about what she knows. And the other stuff made me so glad I never have to be fourteen again!

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message 1: by Sara (new) - rated it 1 star

Sara Read bunheads if you want a book that details the life of a dancer in a realistic manner. This book didn't do that.

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