6 Jun


I read this book in one day. It hooked me completely. I felt Zippora Karz conveyed her story with simplicity and elegance. I do have an intense interest in its major subject areas: ballet and diabetes. I was in love with ballet as a young person. Karz brought me back to the world of dance. I could even hear the music my teacher used to play. The Sugarless Plum beautifully illustrates the tensions and competition of the high end of dance. The book reads like a “Who’s Who” of the ballet world, with luminaries mentioned on every page. Through the author’s words, I got the sense of the ferocious drive and discipline a dancer must have to reach the heights.

Her treatment of her diabetes was just as compelling. Juvenile diabetes took my cousin’s life. After witnessing my cousin having a low sugar episode, I thought, “How could anyone live with that?” I was most interested in reading about a dancer living the grueling life demanded by her profession AND coping with diabetes.

I found her initial journey from doctor to doctor and brush with an unscrupulous practitioner riveting. Having known several people with cancer who went into denial in their own ways, I appreciated the courage with which Karz discussed her own denial and how it could have cost her life. Finding adequate medical treatment, even in a sophisticated place like NYC, proved difficult. She thought she was getting good medical advice, but it turned out not to be. The fact that she persevered until she got a correct diagnosis, then went on to dance as long as she did, is inspiring and magnificent. I felt her authenticity throughout the book.

Karz writes about her life in a clear, elegant fashion which I found very satisfactory and professional. She does not dish gossip or dirt about anyone, especially major figures in the ballet world. I found this absolutely appropriate.


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