“Have you ever had an addiction? An obsession? Have you ever wanted something so much that you can’t imagine your life without it? For me, that’s dance.”Synopsis sourced from Goodreads.
This is a story about never giving up on your dreams, no matter what life throws at you.
Chloe Bayliss was born to perform and thanks to a lot of hard work and determination, she’s on her way to being a ballerina. At sixteen, she gets accepted into an international dance school and everything she dreamed of is about to come true.
But then overnight a mystery illness takes Chloe from starring in Swan Lake to clinging to life in a hospital bed.
Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined the hurdles she would face – but also how she would eventually triumph. Against all odds, she finds a whole new way to flourish, and despite the challenges she faces, Chloe never stops dreaming big.
En Pointe is the real-life story of how an aspiring ballerina became an inspiring young actor after overcoming a life-threatening illness.
Miracles really can happen, even if they’re not the ones you asked for.
(Ink Stains are an equivalent to stars in any other form of rating, ranging from the standard 1 to 5)
I don’t usually read non-fiction of the biographical sense – I steer towards the science (weird, I know). But En Pointe was something that I knew was out of my own comfort zone. Like, completely and utterly outside my comfort zone.
Not only was it a non-science non-fiction book, but our author, Chloe, is a dancer, a performer.
Then there’s me, the one who gets anxious talking in front of a classroom of ten people and abhors public speaking.
First point I’d like to make about this book is that it really doesn’t read as non-fiction. I read it over two days and found that the writing style itself, though based on real events, read like some sort of young adult contemporary novel without a plotline. Not that I’m saying that there was no plotline, as non-fiction rarely have a plot to begin with, but this was a recollection of Bayliss’ very own childhood and life.
The pacing was phenomenal, in my opinion. I read it so quickly. Albeit, I found some scenes lacking; in the beginning, and throughout the book, a journal was spoken about and I suppose some of the journal entries were used to recreate some of these book scenes but I think having direct snippets from the source material would have been interesting to see. Something that was real and not-so-adapted for a narrative.
I also would have to say that it was incredibly quick for me to read because I absolutely did not want to read the hospital scenes and procedures in too much detail. Now, do not misinterpret me, they are not gross or graphic or in any way unable to be read by any old person. It’s just myself personally have had experiences at the hospital with two close family members where I was part of the family who was sitting and waiting in that ICU waiting room, or by that hospital bed; I’ve spoken about it before. I do not like to remember that time very much and when confronted with it, I intentionally avoid it as much as possible.
Now, that’s not to say that the flow of this book was hindered in anyway. Bayliss manages to bring her story to life by having little scenes of conversation or actions with family and friends that really root the story back down into it’s non-fictional narrativity. I did find some points were mentioned, only to never be returned to again or fleshed out properly (or maybe I just picked up on the little things and wanted to know more).
And it was that, I think, that made me think that maybe there could have been more to this story. Because as I closed the book on the train, I sat back and wondered what was missing; it’s really all that I could think about. And eventually I began to wonder about the way the book started, and what my expectations of it had been; a story of a girl who discovered she had an illness that meant she could no longer dance, who then turned to drama and the art of acting and found a love there that became her new motivation.
I don’t want to give spoilers for anyone who is genuinely interested in the mystery Bayliss writes around her story here (hint: don’t assume one diagnosis is always the final diagnosis!) but I do want to use this post to plug the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Donating blood, plasma or platelets is extremely important for any patient in basically any ward of any hospital; in particular, emergency rooms and the ICU (Intensive Care Unit; a kind of morbid place that is mostly full of beeping machines, tubes and a place I would never wish anyone to ever be admitted).
I’ve been donating blood since I was 16 and have recently found that I have still only maintained one or two donations a year. This, of course, helps; but a healthy adult can donate blood every 3 months, and plasma or platelets every fortnight, without any issues. You get to sit in a comfy chair, watch TV, eat food and leave the centre with a smile on your face because you did something. You. Did. Something.
I think that was the motivation behind Bayliss, growing up. Her writing, her book, discusses the need to have a motivation. For her, it was her dancing which was something that she made goals with to motivate her to get better on her own terms, battle her own demons and learn to live with those changes. She did something.
And sometimes, even just a little something is all we can ever ask for.
Have you read En Pointe? What did you think of it?
*Current stock at Booktopia is signed [26/09/19]
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This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.