Sunday, April 06, 2014

Review: Ballerina by Edward Stewart

I always feel a little guilty writing a bad review of a book, but I didn't like this book very much.  The characters who get the most attention are all bad people, Anna's constant lying and manipulation and the way the director of one of the ballet companies worked to destroy the most talented dancers.  These people are evil.  Anna ruined her life, her husband's life and she'd doing everything she can to destroy her daughter as well.  The director - his name I can't remember right off - was such a gross person, cruel to the dancers, wanting them to fail so he could have his way.

It seemed as if only bad things happened to any of these people.  They get hurt, lied to, beat up.  Nothing good ever happened.  I began to feel depressed reading about all the bad things the characters in this book did or went through.  I kept waiting for the revenge or the comeback, the hope and inspiration that should result from all this ugliness, and it never really happened. 

I never felt any sort of emotional connection to these people.  It was like I was observing what happened from a distance, without every really knowing how anyone felt or what they wanted.

This book was originally published in 1979, and I think the reissue should have included dates or some sort of explanation to explain the time period in which the story is taking place.  Otherwise the story feels very dated.  Someone who bought this ebook, thinking it was new might be very confused. 

I recently read a really great book about ballerinas in New York City - Cranes Dance - and reading this so soon afterwards might have affected my opinion of the book.  While Cranes Dance explored the emotional world of dancing and the intensity and devotion required, Ballerina presented dancing as cold and filled with horrible experiences. 

I'm glad I read the book, because I'm trying to gather as much information on ballet as I can because of one of my own projects, but I can't say I actually enjoyed the experience of reading this book. 

I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

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