Day two of a ton of book reviews for you- hopefully you'll find a few you want to add to your to-read lists!
Girl Through Glass - Sari Wilson
An enthralling literary debut that tells the story of a young girl’s coming of age in the cutthroat world of New York City ballet—a story of obsession and the quest for perfection, trust and betrayal, beauty and lost innocence.
In the roiling summer of 1977, eleven-year-old Mira is an aspiring ballerina in the romantic, highly competitive world of New York City ballet. Enduring the mess of her parent’s divorce, she finds escape in dance—the rigorous hours of practice, the exquisite beauty, the precision of movement, the obsessive perfectionism. Ballet offers her control, power, and the promise of glory. It also introduces her to forty-seven-year-old Maurice DuPont, a reclusive, charismatic balletomane who becomes her mentor.
Over the course of three years, Mira is accepted into the prestigious School of American Ballet run by the legendary George Balanchine, and eventually becomes one of “Mr. B’s girls”—a dancer of rare talent chosen for greatness. As she ascends higher in the ballet world, her relationship with Maurice intensifies, touching dark places within herself and sparking unexpected desires that will upend both their lives.
In the present day, Kate, a professor of dance at a Midwestern college, embarks on a risky affair with a student that threatens to obliterate her career and capsizes the new life she has painstakingly created for her reinvented self. When she receives a letter from a man she’s long thought dead, Kate is hurled back into the dramas of a past she thought she had left behind.
Told in interweaving narratives that move between past and present, Girl Through Glass illuminates the costs of ambition, secrets, and the desire for beauty, and reveals how the sacrifices we make for an ideal can destroy—or save—us.
Right off the bat, I have to be honest and tell you I know next to nothing about ballet other than the fact it screws your feet up and that is the main reason I never wanted to do it. I have a thing about jacked up feet so you will never even see me encourage my daughters into ballet because, no. Secondly I've only seen a ballet once and I really am not that person that can understand a story with no words. I see people flitting about and twirling and I'm not getting the emotions they are supposed to be conveying and I get bored. All this to say that if you are not a fan of ballet, you are probably not going to enjoy this book at all because it all centers around ballet and the emotions on and off stage and how you never really leave any of it behind despite best efforts.
I don't want to give it away but I figured out the Mira/Kate connection almost immediately and I've talked to two other reviewers who said they didn't get it until the end. I'm not a super smart person, but come on, now. So for me, I think that was supposed to be a little bit of a suspense element but I figured it out in the first third of the book so if you're hoping that will hold you through, maybe don't count on it especially if you are an avid reader of suspense or mysteries.
I have to say the book is written very well. You can tell the author has extensive experience in ballet and knows her stuff, almost to the point it goes over a regular reader's head. I can't picture what these girls are doing because I have no idea what the technical terms in ballet are, but I appreciate the education and time that went into writing this book. I have to be honest though, and I have seen a few documentaries on ballet and dance in general, but the Maurice character is beyond creepy and wholly inappropriate. I get that these are some of the real life people these young women (and men) encounter and sometimes they are so wrapped up into the art of ballet and what it means to really emote with everything except your voice but man. It made me feel uncomfortable and to be honest, I almost didn't finish the book because of it.
Overall? I'd give this book 3/5 stars. It wasn't bad, it was just a solid OK for me. I didn't know what to expect going in, and it is better than I thought it would be because the writing is exceptional and I really adored Mira. Mira just... she's just that little kid with crap parent(s) and you just want the best for her but life choices lead you to different paths. It makes you wonder where she would be had she made different choices all together. It's just a really interesting book, but not one where I'd say you couldn't put it down. In fact, I put it down and started another book mid way through it, and then came back to it. But I think people are loving this because the writing is just... it's really beautiful and so well done.
You can purchase Girl Through Glass on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, of course. In the meantime, you can connect with Sari Wilson on her website and Twitter!