I’m actually really excited about Misty’s new book Ballerina Body but need to save up or see if my local library will have a copy so I figured I’d repost my review of her memoir from 2014.
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Like some reviewers I was struck by the tone of Misty’s narrative. The way she talks about her skills is not particularly self-effacing. But I felt it was actually a positive aspect that she did not attempt to suggest that she is only one of many talented dancers who happened to luck out. The fact that she told her story unapologetically was a large part of the book’s charm because frankly, readers will decide if they are curious about her story or not. And she does address critics a bit in the later portion of the book, I suspect the fact that her body is under constant scrutiny contributes to her proud tone because I am unsure that she could continue to thrive in dance if she didn’t work to appreciate and speak about her own strengths.
What surprised me was her openness about her family background as well as her honesty about how she felt about the various people involved. To do that at her age and at this point in her career was a definite risk but it provided a fairly uncensored view of the humanity behind the perfection associated with a ballet dancer. So many artists never allow a glimpse at the difficulties they work through which is a real detriment for those whose challenges make quitting a more sane option than pushing through. I felt that her tone reflected this necessity to connect with others whose background is prohibitive to a dancer’s life but who could benefit greatly from the discipline of the dancing experience.
Bottom line: The book is about Misty’s experiences. If you read the first chapter and are hooked it is a great ride. I found it easy to connect with Misty’s struggles, embarrassments and was excited to find her tenacious through it all. If you’re looking for an elegant and poetic book that hides the dark spots favoring an edited view–this isn’t that book.
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