The Art of Falling
Penelope Sparrow wakes up in a hospital room, frustrated that no matter how hard she concentrates, she just can’t get her body to respond. As a dancer, her life was all about motion. The thought of being unable to move was simply incomprehensible. Control of her movement returns with astonishing speed, especially since her hospital stay was from a fourteen-story fall. In the hospital, she meets Marty, the baker whose car she landed on, and Angela, her first hospital roommate, who suffers from cystic fibrosis.
Then there’s Margaret MacArthur, a dance critic who seems very insistent on using Penny’s story to highlight the dangers of dancers’ extreme focus on body image. MacArthur, and most everyone around, seems to believe that Penny jumped from that balcony because of a failing career, but Penny herself can’t remember exactly what happened.
This story explores relationships, old and new, recovery, physical and mental, and yes, there’s quite a lot on body image here. I’m no dancer, but I do relate to body image problems and the strain it can put on all sorts of relationships. This powerful story drew me in like a train wreck—hard to watch, but impossible to turn away.
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