Review: Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati

Dancing in the Dark

Ditty Cohen is passionate about ballet--she loves how it feels to stand en pointe, to rise and spin across the room. But her Orthodox Jewish parents want Ditty to focus on the teachings of the Torah and to marry at a young age according to their religious tradition. Although her parents forbid her to take dance lessons, Ditty secretly signs up for ballet and becomes entangled in a web of deceit. As one lie leads to another and another, Ditty knows she must stop dancing, but she can't abandon the one thing that gives her freedom. She begins to question her faith and everything her parents have taught her, realizing just how much is at stake as her two worlds collide.

This is one of those times where I didn't read the blurb because the cover was just too pretty, I love that cover but I had thought that this book was a paranormal because that book just does not scream contemporary at me. I had to adjust when I first started this book because it wasn't what I was expecting, but when I did adjust I quite enjoyed the book.

In terms of pacing of this book I felt a little let down, the book seemed quite repetitive and whilst I enjoyed it there were no parts that particularly gripped me or had me wanting more, I was able to put this book down and pick it up a few days later and I didn't feel the urge to read more of it when I was away. I never had to force myself to read it, but it was a little bit 'meh' to me.

When Ditty started to question her upbringing and the adults in her life I started to get more into the book, I was hoping for a happy ending with Ditty's parents supporting her dancing and whilst we do see a little bit of that at the end it did seem a little pointless to give Ditty this inner struggle and not see a complete resolution of the problem, but maybe that's just me.

I also question the way that religion is put across in this book - yes I understand that Haredi Jews are strict but they seemed almost cult-like in this book. I was a little put off by the way that the Haredi community is portrayed as this 1970s-era community that basically came across as 'religion is brainwashing'. The modern orthodox cousin, Linda, is portrayed as s**t-like and the extremes didn't really work for me.

Look, I didn't hate this book, I really did enjoy certain parts of it but I can't really say much else other than that overall it was a bit of a 'meh' read. I'm very sorry!

Book released 8th February 2013 by Flux Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (NetGalley)

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