TBR Pile Tuesday: Mini Review
This is a new feature where I finally get a chance to review those books that have been sitting on my bookshelves for far too long!
~ The Blurb ~
As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.
But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?
~ My Thoughts ~
Bunheads is a beautifully written story about the grace, determination and sacrifice that go hand in hand with being a part of the professional ballet world. Sophia Flack not only captures the glamour and prestige that comes from performing in a professional ballet but also the struggle and turmoil the come from dedicating one’s life so fully to the pursuit. Flack’s time spent training as a professional dancer gave Hannah’s voice and authenticity that for many would be difficult to achieve. Bunheads is both powerfully emotional and full of lighthearted fun, it is a debut novel that is guaranteed to make you a fan begging for another novel by this author.
Having danced my entire childhood I knew that I would easily fall in love with the subject matter of Bunheads, but what I didn’t expect was to fall in love so deeply with the main character Hannah and become so emotionally involved in her struggles and triumphs with the Manhattan Ballet Company. This is not a novel that is about any one major event, or centered on a deep romance. It is rather about the daily struggles, both physical and emotional, that wear on Hannah. The pressure to perform, constant need to compare yourself to co-workers (ie. Other company members), the completely isolation from the outside world, not to mention the physical stress caused by such a rigid schedule are the main themes in Bunheads. I found the way that Flack was able to get the reader inside Hannah’s head to be incredible and rarely do I feel so emotionally connected to a character as I did with Hannah because every bit of self-doubt, envy, hurt, or feeling of self-consciousness was there for the reader to experience.
I completely lost myself in this novel and finished it over two very short sittings. I initially thought that my connection to this novel was solely from my own personal connection to dance, but as I continued to read it became blaringly obvious to me that this novel was about so much more than the dance itself. More than anything it follows Hannah’s conflicted emotional journey as she discovers what she is willing to give up in life to pursue her career, and what experiences are simply not worth missing. It is a story of growing up and gaining perspective and it is executed brilliantly.