This is definite chick lit. It is designed so that on some level a reader can recognise themselves or a woman close to them within the pages. Either the dance teacher with a past Angelica, working mother Katie, young excited soon to be married Lauren, secret-keeping Bridget or possibly stay at home mother Jo. There are some real issues in play, adulthood, marriage, gender roles, self-perception, young pregnancy, adoption. All are dealt with in a classy manner and with no disrespect to those who are or have living or lived the events. Though it is a book it is a book that plays on gender roles and stereotypes. Katie and Ross have theirs. Lauren has openly said gaming is a blokes thing. Even is 2008 I'm pretty sure we were aware that wasn't the case.
Alright so this review is about one character, in particular, Katie, because she is the reason I had so many problems with The Ballroom Class, the reason the book is rated so low. Katie is a woman in a man's world. She comes off as a heartless, selfish cow with no empathy. 2008 was well before the current wave of feminist and I have no doubt have would struggle to with work-life balance but she doesn't come across as trying. Admittedly I am from a female dominated industry that is ahead of the ball on the allowance for families. She does have a couple of redemptive scenes, her conversation with Chris is brilliant, it's honest and a bit endearing. A tip if you start finding this and are finding Katie intolerable stop reading. Katie and Ross' story is the core of The Ballroom Class almost exclusively from Katie's perspective. I personally wanted to slap her most of the time. She was only just readable. Yes I am aware of the stereotypes in play, her position but her way of dealing with it is not pleasant to read.
This was a reread. I read The Ballroom Class for the first time in 2008 or 2009. It's a reread I regret a bit, to be honest. I think the reason I had such fond memories of The Ballroom Class is largely due to a single scene. The Tango Argentino scene. I have a serious love of tangos, put a tango in a film and I'm there. Also film rec, if you're reading this and haven't seen Take the Lead go watch it some of the best use of dance and one of the better three-way tangos I've ever seen.
The plot is enjoyable. I just don't like Katie and because so much time is spent with her it makes the book hard to really like. I loved the ending though. It feels realistic, romantic but still realistic. It pulls everything together and left me satisfied. If the blurb appeals to you try it but it might be a better library or discount bin book.
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