Review Blog

Feb 07 2012

Various positions by Martha Schabas

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Text, 2012. ISBN 9781921758898.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. This first novel by Martha Schabas deals with the difficulty of becoming a ballerina. Georgia, aged 13/14, is selected to attend the best ballet school in Toronto. She is determined to work hard and has talent, so what could go wrong? As the movie Black Swan showed, dancers must have psychological resilience as well as strong bodies. Georgia can push her body but cannot control those around her. Furthermore she is not ready for the nuances of adult sexual relationships. Georgia's parents are drifting towards divorce, and Georgia is shocked to discover that their relationship began when her mother was her father's student. Georgia's friend, Chantal, is overweight, and, on Georgia's advice, starts dieting with near catastrophic results. Georgia discovers her own sexuality and takes inappropriate photos of herself. Her male teacher is brutal in his assessments of his pupils. Georgia, however, believes that he is in love with her and attempts to seduce him by leaving the photographs on his desk. They are discovered and as he is also blamed for Chantal's anorexia, he is forced to resign. Georgia must face what she has done, and start again in another school. The book covers a number of themes, sexual manipulation, eating disorders, teacher-student relationships and the growing awareness of adolescence. Told in the first person and quite simply written, it is convincing and readable. It is recommended for mature readers.
Jenny Hamilton

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