In Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson, we are taken into the very heart of dance as seen through the eyes of Mira Able, a gifted and mentored young dancer. Beginning quite young, Mira is able to focus and pull her substance from deep inside. She seems to transcend many of the issues the other young girls face, yet she strives for even more.
Her life at home is difficult. Her mother is trying to find herself and often embarrasses her. Her father is sometimes overwhelmed by it all. When they split up, Mira learns that she is different than most children her age. When her mom’s new boyfriend makes a move, she is somewhat flattered, but always honest, letting both her parents know.
That is when the family finally comes to an end, and within a very short time, her life changes one more time. Her father meets and marries a woman who is intrigued with Mira, and dance. She becomes a champion of her training and performances. Mira is appreciative, yet is now lonelier than ever.
It is during this time that she meets a man who is knowledgeable and kind. He becomes her mentor and, while her family is unaware of this relationship, she grows through his instruction and conversation. Yet she finds that she is entranced by him, and though he is old, she loves him.
As Mira moves ahead, we begin to follow the shadow of her life, and suddenly we move forward in time and meet a young woman, and dance professor named Kate. She is struggling with her own demons, and the fate of both is entwined in a strange array of life choices.
Wilson gives us a serious and provoking look at dance and takes us into the background of the theater and stage. The lives of those who dance is different than that most children and the lure of dance is in their blood. Dropping out is not an option; those that leave do not always leave on their own but because they do not make the cut. They each strive to be the best. Yet all is not in harmony and the danger is sometimes overlooked. Each strives to do his or her best, and become the greatest.
This is a deep and sad story of love and loss, as well as darkness and tragedy. We see the beauty and grace of the dancers, but also watch the unimaginable unfold into a secret that changes everything.
If you enjoy novels of gripping and challenging situations you will love this work. It is full of interest, and takes you into the background of dance, making you aware in a way that creates and understanding of how such a profession can change lives. A novel of love, hate, loss and poignancy, you will find it hard to set aside until you reach the very end.
This would be a great book for a book club or reading group. The discussion would be quite lively.