The Sugarless Plum - Zippora Karz "I could not let my excuses, my fears, even if they were valid, interfere"
NOTE: I received this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program

This Vine selection is a bit of a departure for me (nonfiction biography), but the "story" really called to me.
Zippora Karz is a ballerina with the New York Company Ballet. At the age of twenty-one, she is diagnosed with diabetes. The book details her childhood, her growing love for ballet, her early life with the NYCB, and her struggle with diabetes.

I Liked:
My knowledge of diabetes: 0.1
My knowledge of ballet: 0.01
Days it took me to read: 2
I know the book is only 268 hardcover, but I almost never finish a book that quickly.
So, even though there are ballet terms I have no idea what they are, I still found the book delightful to read and fairly easy to understand (i.e. not overburdened with copious esoteric ballet references). Karz makes sure to explain some of the more important steps and positions in ballet, giving a reader a better idea of what they are (I still looked them up on Wikipedia and YouTube, but her descriptions were pretty good). Also, she does an excellent job explaining diabetes and the differences between type 1 and type 2.
Karz may be a gifted ballerina, but I would like to also admit, she is a talented writer. It isn't easy to tell a story like this one, about intimate personal battles and make them real. It isn't easy to tell your audience, who may be unfamiliar with your subject, about ballet and diabetes--and the medical advances of the eighties. But Karz was able to do so in a very enjoyable manner, not hindering the flow of her story.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons I read this so quickly was how Karz was able to make me constantly wonder "What next?" Her story is so interesting, so personal, so real that I just couldn't help but want to take one more peek.

I Didn't Like:
The book is very short and sometimes really skimps on the descriptions. I understand memory fades with time. I've considered writing a memoirs of my own, and wondered how I would, knowing I had forgotten so much (and the childhood diaries I had would be inadequate, as they tended to be those whiny "My life sucks" type). Here, I can see how Karz circumvented that problem by being brief everywhere, flying through years, sometimes going back and forth in a kinda confusing pattern (particularly in the early years with her mother's boyfriend, Dave).
The opening chapter is a little confusing, written in a first person present format. Not to mention, the reader is thrown into the world of ballet with very little to grab onto. For a person who is new to this world, it is very confusing (as is the mentioning of so many names).

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Sparse swear words. It is an autobiography, so I am not too surprised.
At one point, Karz almost lets a doctor sleep with her. Partying and sexual relations with boyfriends are mentioned but not explicit.
Ballet dancing is harmful to one's health. Plus, Karz was in a car accident, broke her foot, and fell off a horse besides numerous other ballet accidents.

At the end, I must say, this was a most enjoyable book to read. Karz is gifted with a pleasing writing style and an interesting, inspiring story. And while it has faults, none of those are so heavy to destroy the ultimate message. Plus, this is the first book in years I've finished in two days.