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Dancing With Ghosts

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Freshman year of university was supposed to mean freedom.

It was supposed to be her escape from parents who didn’t understand her – who turned Patricia away every time she reached out for help. New city, new school, new friends, fresh start – wasn’t that how it’s supposed to work?

Instead, when Patricia moves from her small, isolating hometown to the bustling, sprawling city
Paperback, 258 pages
Published March 2017 by Leaping Lion Books
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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Tasha Barbour
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dancing With Ghosts explores a wide range of themes, from consent, abuse, identity, and of course mental health and the broken system through which so many of us have to navigate. This story dissects and debunks the romanticized ideals of mental illness and abusive relationships, while the reader bears witness to Patricia as she tries to keep from drowning in human cruelty, apathy, and as she battles her own mind. As she springs from the pages of the book to both confront the reader and to bring ...more
Tashfin Awal
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways and have chosen to give my honest opinion about it.
Very real and relatable (even though the story is completely unique), the characters are lovable (especially Patricia), I would definitely recommend this! And the use of setting was phenomenal, loved this book.
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a raw, but very real depiction of the struggles faced everyday by young adults. Touching on the topics of love, relationships, mental health, abuse, and societal standards, "Dancing With Ghosts" gives a voice to the reader's who are not able to raise theirs.
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
While I appreciate the complexity of the emotions and the seriousness of the issues this book touches on, I found it very hard to get into at first. I'm glad I stuck with it and finished it, I felt portions of it a bit lacking. There are some graphic details in it so it's not for the feint of heart - but it really adds to the "realness" of the storey and is a very important component so do not let it discourage you. I won this through a Goodreads giveaway and now that I've finished it, I'm inclu ...more
Denny Reese
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
As I began this story I drew upon the quiet strength of the words.

The main character reminds me of myself during the university period of my life. I like how her voice breaks down the elements of life, dull and questioning and how she contemplates matters of sanity, normalcy, and purpose; asking the things that cannot easily be shared. This story is a glimpse into the feelings of emptiness and anxiety that plague teens starting into our young adult years.

I recommend this book to struggling teens
Lisa Wegner
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emily Gillespie's novel Dancing With Ghosts is an intense, raw, authentic read. I read it in the tub, I read it in the yard and I carried it around. I chose to read it slowly and take it out of the library twice.

This gorgeously written story tells the truth about the horrific mental health services in Toronto, and as someone who has tried to access mental health services, it made me feel normal to realize others had similar experiences. The main character Patricia rings true and after finishing
Geoffrey Huck
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a brave and often searing book. The issue of consent or the lack thereof between women and the men they date is very much with us today, but the psychological damage of sexual abuse to the abused is frequently glossed over. Ms. Gillespie takes us into the fragile psyche of Patricia, a well-meaning university student with an interest in sexual exploration, and graphically depicts not only the disintegration of the fabric that holds her world together but also the failings of the mental he ...more
Gisela Schwenk
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is written by a very talented writer. I did not want to skip a single word. The life and experience the main character had with Derrick was horrible and disgusting but also had some beautiful moments. The insight on mental illness was an eye opener.This book is raw and very graphic with an air of authenticity.Even though the sexual activities are very crude and cruel you can't help but want to continue reading because it is written with class and honesty. A shocking story beautifully e ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it

What a great first novel from this author! I just finished it and I was very much impressed. She tackled so many difficult topics in such a relatable way. I started reading 50 Shades back when it was popular and I was so pissed off that I had to stop. Thank you Emily for recognizing abuse for what it is. Plus you hit the nail on the head regarding our mental health system. Congrats on your first novel. You did an amazing job.
Celeste Lucidity
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I just finished your book. I feel different.
Your raw, unfettered, throw-it-out-there style (can't find another word just now) is grating and ripe, potent and real, again RAW and reveals the tumultuous, ice cream on the sidewalk, beetle on it's back effect of feeling isolated and left behind. Very powerful.
Thank you for your great work, for your commitment to this painful story, for seeing it through.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It felt more like a memoir than a work of fiction. It was that honest and that real. The main character/narrator and her story had me angry & sobbing at different parts of the story. I could personally identity with many of the mental health issues in the book. Highly, HIGHLY RECOMMEND! ...more
Ramona Kiyoshk
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
DANCING WITH GHOSTS by Emily Gillespie 2017
(Reviewed by Ramona Kiyoshk)
February 25, 2017.

Emily Gillespie's first outing as a novelist meets all the items on the check-off list. She has a first-hand knowledge of the topic she has chosen to explore. She crashes through barriers and dogmas that seek to define and oppress today's women. Her targets are bullying, loneliness, abuse and their ensuing damage to physical, emotional and spiritual health. Her voice is vibrant and fearless, often brutal, as
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Emily Gillespie is an author, disability activist and professional daydreamer. Her work explores the themes of memory, identity and mental health journeys. Emily enjoys working in community spaces and examining individual and collective experiences. She views storytelling as a tool for resisting predominant social narratives. Emily has a BA in English, and an MA in Critical Disability Studies fro ...more

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