Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft

Title: The Art of Falling
Author: Kathryn Craft
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publish Date: January 28, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You like memorable characters.
What's the Story?:

From "One wrong step could send her over the edge.

All Penny has ever wanted to do is dance—and when that chance is taken from her, it pushes her to the brink of despair, from which she might never return. When she wakes up after a traumatic fall, bruised and battered but miraculously alive, Penny must confront the memories that have haunted her for years, using her love of movement to pick up the pieces of her shattered life.

Kathryn Craft’s lyrical debut novel is a masterful portrayal of a young woman trying to come to terms with her body and the artistic world that has repeatedly rejected her. The Art of Falling expresses the beauty of movement, the stasis of despair, and the unlimited possibilities that come with a new beginning."

My Two Cents:

"The Art of Falling" is the story of Penny, a young woman whose whole life has revolved around dance. She lives and breathes dance and when it looks like she may not be able to live those dreams anymore, she doesn't know what to do and decides to end it. Luckily, she's given a second chance, which is really where this story picks up. We get to see as Penny realizes that it is up to her to take control over her life and turn it into something that she wants.

Penny was not my favorite character in the beginning. She was sort of mopey and didn't seem to want to make things better for herself when she really could be much worse off than she was. But through the people that she meets, she begins to see that she needs to really appreciate what she has and what she can do. I really liked seeing this transition. I think transitions in characters can be really difficult to write and really make believable but that definitely happens in this book. The secondary characters in the book were also standout for me. I appreciated that you really got to know them as well.

I don't know a lot about the world of dance besides the fact that 1. I have no dancing talent whatsoever and 2. I thoroughly appreciate people who do have that talent because it is absolutely amazing. This book gives you a peek into the professional dance world. It explores a lot of issues such as body image and how difficult it can be to find a job in that realm.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one.

Guest Post:

I am very excited to welcome author Kathryn Craft here to A Bookish Affair today.

Which character do you relate to the most?
My heart beats within each of the characters in The Art of Falling. The one I relate to the most though is Margaret MacArthur, the dance critic. The woman is clearly misunderstood.
The protagonist, Penelope Sparrow, sees her as someone who is there to judge. To make or break her. As a dance critic for nineteen years, I understand what it’s like to have one’s motivations misconstrued—and if I’d seen judgment as my role I never would have had the nerve to publish a single review.
1) Critics are avid fans. First and foremost, they are writers who want to share their love and appreciation for their chosen art form. They have to love the medium if they are going to engage with it over and over again! While advocates, however, they don’t love everything. They advocate excellence—and this can make them appear judgmental.
2) Critics are quintessential audience members. Because they attend everything, they aren’t easily manipulated. Their depth and breadth of experience in the art form allows them to expose deeper layers of the work to viewers easily wowed by spectacle.
3) Critics have honed their analytical skills. My reviews were always about effectiveness, not judgment. Did the artist accomplish what he set out to do? Could I even guess what that was—and in the end, did it even matter? How and why did it move me, or what stood in the way of my connection to it? These are highly individual determinations. Critics speak for themselves. Period.
4) Critics can serve as interpreters. Their specialized knowledge of an art form can help give audience members a way to discuss what they saw. This is especially important in the dance world—the performance is both non-verbal and ephemeral. Most audience members will have one chance to absorb what they experienced, and can’t revisit the work later. By exchanging movement for words, the critic can extend the significance of the experience.
5) Critics can add perspective. Works of art are influenced by so many aspects of our culture, and by what has come before in that art from. Commentary can help the audience understand the place of this work within the larger context of our world.
Margaret MacArthur was not judging Penelope, or trying to break her. She served her in a critically important way: by extending a bridge between the specialized world of dance and the world of the average viewer.


I am excited to be able to give away a copy of The Art of Falling, compliments of the publisher (open to U.S. and CAN only). Just answer the following question below. I will choose a random winner after a week from all of the correct answers using

Which American choreographer won the Best Director Oscar for the film version of West Side Story?



  1. Hi Meg, thanks for featuring The Art of Falling today. I loved the question you posed for my guest post!

  2. Thanks for this great giveaway. Jerome Robbins. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Thanks for the giveaway! Mcstone84 (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. This is the first I've heard of The Art of Falling, sounds very good. Thanks for the intro. WSS was choreographed by the great Jerome Robbins who created the original choreo on Broadway and took most of it to the movie version as well. Even today in most performances of WSS big chunks of his choreography are still used.

  5. Jerome Robbins won the Oscar for West Side Story. The Art of Falling sounds like a book I would really like. Thanks for the giveaway.

    tmrtini at gmail (dot) com

  6. It was Jerome Robbins
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  7. Jerome Robbins won the Best Director Oscar for West Side Story.
    Would like to read The Art of Falling. Seems intriguing and sensitive.
    florry_20 @

  8. jerome robbins...thanks for this opportunity! cheers -- Kara

    shamy at post dot harvard dot edu


Hi! Welcome to A Bookish Affair. If you leave a comment, I will try to either reply here or on your site!

As of 6/6/2011, this book is now an awards free zone. While I appreciate the awards, I would rather stick to reviewing more great books for you than trying to fill the requirements.

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