[Review] Sophie Flack - Bunheads
Author: Sophie Flack
My rating: 4/5 stars
Author: Sophie Flack
My rating: 4/5 stars
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?
I love the cover so much. Isn't it beautiful? I stared at the cover long before reading the book, trying to imagine how it's like to be a ballerina. Truth is, I don't know a single thing about being a ballerina other than what I've learned from Bunheads (both this book and the TV series with the same name).
Sophie Flack had danced with New York City Ballet from 2000 until 2009.
That quote from her bio on Goodreads makes me wonder whether or not this book is her autobiography. Because of her experience, I think it's a pretty realistic book about people who work behind ballet performance. There are ballerina (the star of the dance), the corps de ballet (those who dance in unison at the back of the stage, her words not mine), stagehands, dresser, the physical therapist, costume maker, and etc. OH, and there's also balletomanes, those die hard fan of ballet who watched ballet performances so often I first thought they're stalker (Too many Criminal Minds episodes *sigh*).
I didn't actually think I'll enjoy this book as much as I did when I first started it. This book starts off pretty slow, there's no big events or twists. But after several chapter, I was taken away. I didn't give much efforts to imagine how Hannah's world look like. Her way with words are not that enchanting but it didn't give me a hard time, though.
My favorite character would be Harry the stagehands and his daughter Mattie. I like their names because they remind me of Harry Potter and Matilda, both my favorite children's lit. And I love how they were described in this book. So pedestrians, if I may use Zoe's words.
“Hannah, you on next?” a low, gruff voice asks.
It’s Harry, one of the stagehands, lingering in the backstage area where I wait for my entrance. He’s about six foot three and probably weighs almost three hundred pounds, with kind eyes and no visible neck. Harry has worked at this theater longer than I've been alive. His grandfather and his father were stagehands, too. At this point in his career, Harry knows as much about ballet as anyone I can think of.
“Hey, you,” I say, rolling my neck to give the muscles a final stretch. “I’m on in a few minutes.”
“Break a leg.” Harry smiles. His nine-year-old daughter, Matilda, appears from out of nowhere, wearing a half-torn tutu and a battered pair of Nikes.
“Hannah!” she says breathlessly, her chubby cheeks bright pink with excitement.
Matilda doesn't come around the theater often—backstage isn't the best place for a kid—so I’m always surprised that she remembers my name and that she seems so excited to see me. I guess she’s what they call precocious.
“Hey,” I say, “I see you've got your tutu on. Are you dancing in one of the ballets tonight?”
She giggles. “I wish! But I have a recital coming up. Do you know the Delancey Dance Academy? That’s where I take lessons.” Her voice is proud, and her little chest puffs out.
Harry ruffles his daughter’s curly dark hair. “Mattie wants to be a ballerina, too, when she grows up.”
I look down at this smiling little girl in her pigtails and dirty tutu. Her face shines with delight. The theater must seem like a magical world to her—I know it did to me. When I first became an apprentice, I wanted to sleep on the stage, under the rows of lights that glittered like far-off planets. Sometimes when no one was around, I’d sit on the edge with my legs dangling into the orchestra pit and look out in awe at the vast, empty house with its carved, gilded ceiling and crystal chandeliers.
“I want to dance in Swan Lake,” Mattie informs me.
“Good for you,” I say.