Monday, October 24, 2011


Bunheads by Sophie Flack (Little, Brown - Poppy) is a grownup version of Drina and all of those other books you read when you were me and you were little wherein a young girl became a ballerina or a gymnast or some other thing she'd always wanted to be. Always something that perhaps required a certain body type or degree of natural talent, yet something that seemed achievable with enough hard work and access to coaching. The stuff of dreams for most of us.

It's Hannah's dream, and she's there, a nineteen-year-old in the corps of the Manhattan Ballet Company.

I'm going to jump to the part I didn't like first. First, this was just one in a long line of books with teen girl protagonists wherein it seems like everything is about the teen not following her dreams. Life is going to come along and kick most of us in the butt long before we're famous, so why the predominance of the "give up, because only a few people get to be great" stories? Why, so often, is it the boyfriend that can't handle it when his girl has a life outside of falling in love?

So, once: if he likes you, he'll deal with your heavy schedule. You'll enjoy those moments together all the more because they're special; you'll have more to share when you do catch up. And, sometimes, people need to find ways to enjoy short stretches of time together, to appreciate that we can have lives beyond the moments of romance.

It sounds like I didn't like this book very much, but I did. I adored the inside look at a dancer's life--the excitement and boredom behind the scenes. I could almost smell the particular smell of dance equipment behind the curtain, the paint, the powder, that sharp and cloying smell of sweat. And I did like that the book addressed "What if I'm good enough, but still not the top? Do I still want to do this?" Even those of us talented at one thing or another have to decide if it's enough, so it's interesting to see the struggle in YA books.

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