49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful look into the ballet
Bunheads by Sophie Flack follows Hannah a dancer in the Corps of the Manhattan Ballet. Sophie's life is the ballet, she goes to rehearsal and class and performances every night and hopes to become a soloist. When she meets a guy outside of the ballet she finds herself struggling to find the time to see him and starts questioning her priorities. Is the life of a...
Published on September 28, 2011 by S. Power
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where 'Bunheads' really shines is in setting the scene for Hannah and her world.
Nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward is not a ballerina, not yet anyway. A dancer with the Manhattan Ballet Company, Hannah knows this is her year to finally land a coveted promotion from corps dancer to soloist. It has to be. Recruited by the Company when she was fourteen, Hannah has been working toward this singular goal for her entire life.
On a rare night off,...
Published on February 20, 2012 by Miss Print
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5.0 out of 5 stars An important book!,
I worked with a ballet company in Europe and this book gives a very good 'close up' on what is happening on the inside. I highly recommend that this book be a must read for all young dancers in the performing arts schools. That way a conversation can be started about life in the ballet world.
I was a model when I was younger and I always wanted to make a book ,mostly in photography , of the day of a model. The early pick up, the bag of shoes, hair and make up, the show event and the after eating and throwing up.
What struck me the most in my experience was the low self esteem of the beautiful people.
I had the same experience with the ballet company. It is important for them to claim a life and stop only regarding themselves as the image insisted on by the company. This is a good book and should be used as a teaching tool to young artists!
4.0 out of 5 stars What an Intense Career,
I enjoyed reading this book while on vacation. I though medical school and residency were hard, but this takes hard work to a whole new level. I enjoyed learning how the ballet world worked. It would be interesting to read a book on a principal dancer's journey, but I learned a lot about the corp de ballet.
4.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet!,
I really liked this book; the hidden life of a ballet dancer was so intriguing to me (as someone who can barely make it across the room without tripping). The politics of the Manhattan Ballet corps and the pressures the dancers faced felt very real. The main character has her flaws, but is nonetheless extremely likeable and believable. If there is a sequel, I would definitely read it.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not compelling,
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand I enjoyed reading about the lives of these young dancers, their drive to succeed, and the toll on their lives. Unfortunately that was best part of the book. I understand what the author was trying to convey - a young girl's struggle with the decision of whether to abandon her dream but something was missing. I never felt any connection to Hanna or any of the other characters. I wasn't engaged in her struggle. And by the end of the book I didn't care what she decided to do - about her career, her love interest, anything. I didn't dislike her, I just didn't care about her. And that's unfortunate because the story had potential, if only the author has spent fewer words describing how hard everyone worked and how tired they all were and more time helping the reader get to know the dancers.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good!,
This was book good. Nothing fantastic or spectacular. If you're looking for a book to read on a trip by car or airplane, this is it!
3.0 out of 5 stars I Wish This Book Were As Exciting as I Hoped,
Hannah is a nineteen year old dancer, living every ballerina's dream as a member of the Manhattan Ballet. Bunheads take the reader backstage and into the life of what it is really like to be a professional dancer consumed by her art. Hannah continuously struggles with this consumption. When she meets Jacob, a normal, everyday college student, her lifelong dreams of ballerina stardom suddenly become not so important. Hannah fluctuates between nearly leaving the company and throwing herself so hard into her dancing that she has literally no time for anything else in her life. Finally, she makes a decision and takes her life down a path in one solid direction.
While Bunheads did have some interesting moments, in general it was a pretty slow read. Hannah goes back and forth between having a career and having a life multiple times, and in the end it gets a little redundant. Hannah and Jacob are both a little flat, as are the other dancers Hannah surrounds herself with. Many of the other dancers are thinly drawn stereotypes. I found myself not caring much one way or the other about Hannah's struggles. In fact, by the end, I kind of wanted her to stop whining and just make a solid decision already.
The best parts of the novel are the descriptions of life backstage at the ballet. It is interesting to read about the practices, traditions, and superstitions of the dance world, especially if you have any involvement in the arts yourself. Since I am a theater nerd, I could identify with a lot of the descriptions of Hannah's dance world. Some of the things the dancers put themselves through were a little scary, but it made those moments of the novel much more realistic. Given that Flack was a longtime member of the New York City Ballet, these moments have a realness and depth that the rest of the book is lacking. While there are certain similarities shared between Hannah and Flack, the characters do not have the same roundness as the ballet itself.
Bottom line: If you are someone who is interested in the dance or theater world, this is probably a worthwhile read. If you are not, you may find yourself bored by the lackluster plot line.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review from Words at Home Blog,
Review originally posted to Words at Home blog January 15, 2013: [...]
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars well written,
This review is from: Bunheads (Hardcover)
This is one of my favorite books. It helped me personally when I was going through a huge debate in my head over whether or not to change careers. I don't want to give any spoilers. Basically, its a great book and the message is helpful. I highly recommend.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book.,
I've read hundreds of books in my life, and honestly this is probably my favourite!
I do ballet and love learning about the world of professional dance. Sophie Flack is an excellent author; Hannah's voice is real and very easy to connect with. Lovely!
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!!,
I was lucky enough to win this book from a giveaway run by Bliss Magazine.
I know nothing about ballet and have to admit that this is not a book I would've picked up from the shelves of a bookshop. I had no idea if I would enjoy it and wasn't too sure what to expect from it, so it came as a very pleasant surprise to find myself completely engrossed in this story and unable to stop reading!
There was a quick introduction to Hannah's life, then I was thrown straight into the world of a ballet dancer in the corps de ballet - something which seemed to be far more unglamorous than it first sounded. The girls put themselves through a lot of physical and psychological stress in their aim to get to the top, this was something I struggled to understand (but then for me exercise is like a form of torture which I avoid as often as I can) but I was intrigued by it nonetheless. Another part that was difficult for me to grasp was how the girls were friends but also very competitive, and sometimes nasty, with each other - I could understand why but I suppose I felt like they weren't true friendships.
Hannah had lived quite a sheltered life because of her dedication to ballet so when she met Jacob she was definitely out of her comfort zone, I found this interesting to read because it seemed to awaken something in her and make her think about life outside of ballet.
The backstage goings-on were brilliant to read about - I was amazed by what went on before a show, particularly the footwear beating! It was beautifully written so that during the show itself I actually felt like I was on stage with them.
The whole book had a young, fresh feel and I'm so glad I got the chance to read it because it really was a great read, it left me with a big smile on my face.
This was a fascinating book that I couldn't put down (yes it was another one-day read). I would recommend this even if, like me, you know nothing about ballet.
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Bunheads by Sophie Flack (Hardcover - October 10, 2011)