Title: Various Positions
Author: Martha Schabas
Release Date: June 2011
Published By: Doubleday Canada
Goodreads Rating: 3.09 stars
Review: Shy and introverted Georgia is only relaxed when she's dancing, and when she's accepted into the most prestigious ballet school in Canada, she thinks she's found the perfect escape. As the famous and notoriously frightening director, Roderick, shows more and more interest in her as a star, she obsesses over becoming his perfect student. But a disturbing incident along with the disintegration of her parents' marriage leads her to reassess her physical boundaries in a way that threatens both Roderick's future and her own.
VARIOUS POSITIONS has received quite a few one-star reviews on Goodreads, and that proves my next point: this is most certainly not a book for everyone. It's disturbing and uncomfortable, and it is not a book about ballet but one about a fourteen-year-old's disquieting struggle with the interpersonal relationships in her life and her warped, twisted, and corrupted views on sex. Georgia is not a character most people can relate to because she cannot forge a normal and healthy relationship with anyone, and it can be very, very hard to read this book from her perspective, which is why many did not like this book.
I can't exactly say I liked or enjoyed this book given the difficult subject matter, but I can say that it is a great and well-written novel that unflinchingly tackles very sensitive issues. Many readers did not like the vaguely sick feeling the story can give you, which is why it's not for everyone, but that added to the painfully realistic story and made this the emotional struggle it was.
The one aspect I wasn't a big fan of was the unclear resolution. I understand that in real life these kinds of situations don't necessarily have a resolution and I'm not asking for a big wrapped-up happy ending complete with a bright red ribbon or something, but I did wish there was more of a sense of completeness at the ending. I don't mind ambiguous endings that much so long as they feel like endings.
All in all, VARIOUS POSITIONS was a difficult but touching read that is definitely not for you if it's hard for you to read about issues like child-adult sexual relationships. If you can, though, this book is absolutely worth the read. There's a beautifully horrifying story under all the grit, one that will stay with you for a long time to come.