Wednesday 3 November 2010

One Perfect Pirouette

One Perfect Pirouette by Sherryl Clark (UQP)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 978-070223841-3
Reviewed by Jo Burnell

One Perfect Pirouette is about so much more than just ballet. I’m not into tutus and frills, but I believe in pursuing your dream. Brynna relentlessly pursues hers, but she is painfully aware that her ambition comes at an enormous cost to her family. Just how far would you go to achieve your dream?

You don’t have to be rich to achieve your goals, but toughness and persistence are ‘must haves’. Friendships are lost as progress is made, but what about enemies? Should you let others walk all over you just to keep the peace? The consequences can be more devastating than you could ever imagine.

Sheryl Clark always does her research and then makes the nitty gritty details a seamless part of the story. Apart from tortuous hours of boring repetition, the artistic demands of a ballerina’s schedule were brought to life. However, the height of perfection is possible only for a very small number. There are many who resent not making it. I wasn’t prepared for the lengths people could go to, just to stop others from achieving their dream.

I walked away from One Perfect Pirouette with a deep awareness of the trials faced when working to develop elite skills – not only in ballet. In this politically correct world of report cards that outline abilities but not weaknesses, Sheryl’s clear depiction of rejection is a revelation. What happens when your dream crumbles and years of practice lead to a dead end? It was something I’d never considered.

As always, Sheryl Clark’s tale has layers of meaning hidden between the pages. Some of these insights take time to surface. A week after finishing reading, I realised that just like Brynna, there are many things my parents never told me.

Anyone with a burning desire to achieve their dream will love One Perfect Pirouette, even if they aren’t into ballet. However, be warned. There is so much more hidden between these pages than you will have bargained for.

Speech Pathologist Jo Burnell is passionate about igniting a love of reading, especially in struggling and reluctant readers. 

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