Friday, August 1, 2014

A Time to Dance

A Time to Dance
(image from its goodreads page)
Padma Venkatraman

(Trigger warnings for the book- amputation, injury, blood, death)

Veda is a dance prodigy, used to applause and attention. After an accident, however, her dreams are shattered with her leg. A below-the-knee amputation has to be preformed, making Veda's once graceful movements slow and clumsy. But instead of giving up, she tenaciously chases her dream, entering beginner dance classes to relearn balance and flexibility. There she meets Govinda, a young dance teacher who believes in dance as a spiritual pursuit. With him, Veda's view of the world changes, and she finds what dancing means to her.

*Reads my summary* *Reads the book's summary* *Realizes I sound like a 6th grader when told to write about something 'in their own words'* *Laughs, but nervously*

Anyway, this book had the perfect set up to be the bane of my existence. A novel in verse (Is it poetry? Is it a novel? WHO KNOWS.), spiritual, inspirational... I mean, nearly everything I don't like was there. Yet this book was so good.

Veda was such a great character. It was amazing, seeing the world through her eyes. Despite one of the reasons I don't like novels in verse being they suck the life out of characters, she warded off the voice-vampire like a PRO. I think we need more Vedas in fiction.

The descriptions were A++. Even the kind of weird or disturbing ones, such as the phantom limb sensation or the time at the beginning of the book when Veda can't find her crutches and collapses in the bathroom. Despite accentuating that kind of thing, it made the beautiful scenes ten times more beautiful. It was great.

I kind of wish there was more just about dance at the end, because Govinda sorta took over for a bit. The dance scenes that were near the end were fab, though.

The spiritual bits, which usually just make me feel weird about myself, were actually pretty darn great to read. Instead of having a preachy tone of, "This should be you. This character is so religious. They're getting the nice afterlife. You? You're getting a second-rate death. Hah." it didn't push its boundaries as fiction. It felt more comforting than imposing. Remember, if you're going to write a book with spiritual themes, TAKE AFTER THIS BOOK.

Ah, romance. The way romance was handled never dipped into "intolerable" zones.  It always stayed tolerable or better. This sounds like a half insult. It's actually a full compliment. Her crush on Jim brought out a really realistic side. Because, like, at least half of readers out there have a crush they really regret now. You think I'm not talking to you. I am. When Govinda showed, he was perfect love interest material. He's cool. It's nice to not be stuck with 'dark and brooding lovey dovey interest winterest'. Very, very nice.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone.

(Thank Squid for the 31st, or you guys might not have gotten this)

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