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  • Sahar Abdulaziz

Book Review:The Art of Falling


The Art of Falling by author Kathryn Craft delves seamlessly into the critical topic of body image as well as the societal pressures to conform to an unrealistic ideal. Her writing deftly challenges the concept of beauty, which for the majority of women, is simply unattainable. She explores the vicious and malicious body shaming as well as the propagation of stereotypes often used as a weapon to coerce women to adopt dangerously unhealthy and extreme methods to attain the so-called ‘ideal body type’. Lastly, this powerful story shows how many can fall victim to this mindset, and as a result, develop serious eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.

In this intriguing novel, Kathryn Craft not only entertains, but also enlightens as she guides the reader on a commanding journey of regeneration. Her main character, Penelope Sparrow, is a highly talented dancer and a naturally talented choreographer who sadly views herself in inches and pounds as opposed to the ‘weight’ of talent she actually possesses. Through Penny, one begins to recognize the emotional turmoil and undue pressure the dance world places on its artists who then become susceptible to unnatural and highly dangerous means to maintain a certain body size and shape in an attempt to meet the strict mandates of their chosen field; usually to their physical and emotional detriment.

Penny Sparrow’s dance career comes to a screeching halt after she miraculously survives a 14-floor fall off her apartment building. During recovery, painful memories begin to reveal in spurts and stops as a host of mixed emotions, self-loathing, and insecurities haunt and disrupt. To regain movement and unleash buried painful memories, this once graceful body is now forced to face many a challenge on the long road to revitalization, healing, and self-acceptance. Penny must learn to reevaluate her life and priorities, her relationships with those that she loves, and the true meaning of unconditional friendship.

As with any healing, it is also a time of unspeakable grief, despair and pain. With the friendship of Angela, a cystic fibrosis-suffer, Penny finally begins to learn to accept and celebrate her imperfections, and celebrate the beauty within while attempting to regain her place in a dance world that never fully embraced her exceptionality.

As a woman who has fought all her life not to be objectified physically and recognized for my character, I highly recommend this book; for as much as I have fought the good fight, societal pressures continue to loom large and strong, and every woman, including myself has felt the sharp vicious sting of scrutiny and self-doubt.

Brava Kathryn Craft!

Available on Amazon.com


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