Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

Pointe  Seventeen-year-old Theo is an aspiring ballerina with a lot on her mind.  She is one of the few African-Americans in the mostly lily white world of ballet and in her smallish Chicago suburb.  She has issues with food and control.  Her best friend Donovan was kidnapped when they were 13-years-old and has just recently been found and returned home.  When Theo was 13 she dated a guy who talked her into doing things she wasn’t ready for and then he left and she can’t understand why he left her when he said he loved her.  Four years later Theo is dating a guy who has a girlfriend and they can’t tell anyone about their relationship because the guy can’t find the right time to break up with his girlfriend.

In trying to describe Pointe the first adjective that comes to mind is ambitious.  It tackles a lot of issues, maybe too many.  This caught my attention because the main character is an African-American woman who dances ballet and I love ballet and want to see more people of color in the ballet world.  Ballet, however, was just the appetizer and not the main course.  What’s the story really revolves around is self-esteem, abuse, and the different shapes both can take.

I liked it but had some problems with it.  For one, I am not sure if Donovan’s story really worked.  There is a lot of talk around the edges of the kidnapping but we don’t really get to it until the end.  Even then, it is still all about Theo.  Perhaps that is why Donovan felt like a two dimensional character.  I would have liked to know more about him, although perhaps in another book.  Theo’s experiences at age 13 would have been enough to explore the issues Colbert tackles in this book. 

Theo was an inconsistent character and I cannot decide if that is realistic or bad writing.  Ballet is supposedly the most important thing in Theo’s life.  She puts in extra time at the barre, dancing till her feet bleed in preparation for upcoming auditions for a spot in one of the ballet world’s prestigious, career starting summer programs.  Then in her spare time Theo smokes and drinks.  She has issues with food but apparently is not fazed by the calories in alcohol.  I get that most teenagers might try smoking and drinking but it didn’t seem to match up with someone who is otherwise so controlled.  

On the upside, with the exception of Donovan, some of the secondary characters were interesting and well-drawn.  They had issues of their own to deal with and were neither all good or all bad.  Even the kids that seemed bad at first turned out to have more going on in their heads and hearts than might first be apparent.

Pointe is Brandy Colbert debut novel.  Even though I did not completely connect with this one, I would be interested to see what she writes next.  Further, although I can think of people of varying ages who might enjoy this I would recommend Pointe to teenage girls in particular.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I look forward to your comments. Tell me about the books you're reading.