Sunday, February 12, 2012

Various Positions by Martha Schabas

by:  Martha Schabas
published by:  Farrar, Straus, Giroux
publish date:  Feb 14, 2012

Trapped between the hormone-driven world of her friends and the discontent of her dysfunctional family, fourteen-year-old Georgia is only completely at ease when she's dancing. When she is accepted into Canada's preeminent ballet school, Georgia thinks it is the perfect escape. Artistic Director Roderick Allen singles her out as a star, subjecting her to increasingly intensive training, and Georgia obsesses about becoming the perfect, disciplined student. But as she spends more and more time with Roderick, it's not so clear exactly what their relationship means. Is he her teacher and mentor, or is there something more? These blurred lines will threaten both Roderick's future at the academy and Georgia's ambitions as a ballerina.

This is one of those kinds of books that I think needs a big fat WARNING label on it.  Maybe even some kind of alarm that starts blaring when you open the cover just in case you missed the warning label on the front.  It made me feel really sad for ballerinas.  It made me feel worried for teenage girls.  It made me feel disgusted for actually finishing it. 

Georgia is a FOURTEEN-year-old ballerina, who becomes one of few new students at a prestigious ballet academy.  She goes through a sexual awakening spurred on by the crazy rantings of her mother.  Does she become fixated on boys her age?  No, it's men, like her father's age.  Strange men on the subway.  Her teacher.  She becomes obsessed with her teacher.  There's internet porn and naked pictures.  Her mother buys her lingerie.  How many moms buy their 14 year old daughters lingerie??

Maybe you're thinking Georgia is the only whackadoo in Grade Nine at the ballet'd be sadly mistaken.   They all have their own special brand of crazy.  Is it having that many girls in one place that brings it out?  Is it the pressure of ballet? 

Needless to say, this one needs a parental warning label on it.  It's not appropriate for younger YA at all...maybe not even older YA. 


Unknown said...

I love dance and ballet I did classical ballet for a lot of years so I was interested by this book but not after reading your post. This book seems really weird...

Unknown said...

I'm not sure what was with this book. I feel like there was a really good plot (with the body image/sexualization stuff) under all the crazy all-the-time-let's-think-about-sex-and-nakedness-and-look-at-porn, etc.

This book was not what I was expecting (and not in a good way, either . . .

Great review, though

Autumn said...

I agree. I had really expected something else out of this book because I thought it had good potential, but it was just kinda sad for me.