Title: Fat Ballet
Author: T.R. Whittier
Pages: Paperback; 230
Release Date: June 25, 2015
Genre: Contemporary / Humor
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy books that are sweet, light-hearted, and still deal with real world characters.
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It’s not easy being Olga Dolovich. Orphaned at a time when she had only just begun to appreciate her parents, tormented by her beautiful-but-bitchy sex goddess of a sister, and doomed to clean the world’s dirtiest bathroom, Olga doesn’t exactly lead a charmed life. But worst of all, at least in her tortured mind, is the fact that she’s fat. Too fat for comfort. Too fat for beauty. And much, much too fat to be a ballerina.
But ballet, unfortunately, is what Olga lives and breathes for. What’s a poor, plump, bathroom cleaner with artistic ambitions to do? Under normal circumstances, she’d have no choice but to watch as her dreams got washed down the drain. But when Harold Pinsky, the eccentric heir to a toilet paper fortune, dances into her life, circumstances become anything but normal. Harold, like Olga, has the right kind of talent, but the wrong kind of body to be a professional ballet dancer. Unlike Olga, however, he’s not about to let some stupid societal convention stand in the way of their happiness.
With the help of a few equally imperfect friends, plus one extremely unexpected supporter, they start The Fat Ballet Company – a dance troupe dedicated to breaking down barriers, crushing conventionalism, and squashing stereotypes. But is the world ready for such an enlightened art form? And is Olga ready to come to terms with her less-than-flawless self? FAT BALLET – Dance Without Discrimination!
*Please note: this novel contains bad language and bawdy humor*
Ballet. Lithe men and women flitting across the stage. Beautiful costumes and music. Everyone stick thin, especially the prima ballerina. There's a stigma that comes with professional ballet, and it's one that haunts our poor protagonist. See, Olga isn't exactly what you'd call thin. For that matter, she's the exact opposite. Olga's world revolves around the dreaded "F-word", and her shame over the way others view her. What do you do when you have a ton of passion and talent for ballet, but aren't given the body to match? According to T.R. Whittier's light-hearted story, you make your own way.
Fat Ballet is definitely best described as light-hearted. It deals with a lot of hot button topics, but it does it in a way that is adorable and funny. Olga is fat. Harold is weak. Fiona is wheel-chair bound. Yet none of these things defines who they are, or what they love. It was nice to see a story that took characters with characteristics that are normally considered taboo to discuss, and put them out there in a situation where they could shine. I loved watching Harold pull Olga out of her shell. Loved seeing her in the spotlight. The word "fat" is always used in such a negative way. I enjoyed the fact that Fat Ballet was trying to embrace that, and change it.
Overall, this story was a quick and rather fun read. I think where it fell short was simply the length. No pun intended. Truly, if there had been more time to dive into Olga's background, and her relationship with her new found friends, it would have been an even better experience. As it stands, this book flies by. This calls for a bit of insta-love, some very quick reconciliations, and a bit of suspended disbelief. Still, if you take it for the ride that it is, this book is a great way to spend an hour or so.
Are you looking for something outside of the norm? Something that embraces passion and talent, despite the outer wrappings of the people it deals with? This is a book for you. Happy reading!