Sunday, July 8, 2012

Heresy on the High Beam: Confessions of an Unbalanced Jewess by Dvora Meyers.....

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I would be willing to bet my next paycheck (and I only get two more, so you know I'm confident) that almost no one reading this blog will also read this book. Now don't go seek it out and read it just to get my next paycheck, because due to the wonder of direct deposit, that ain't happening.

I read a comment about this book on one of the many gazillion several gymnastics blogs I keep up with, and just the title was intriguing enough for me to pay $2.99 to download it to my iPad. The write is an admittedly obsessed gymnastics fan, and that means we have something in common already.

The similarities pretty much end there. Unlike me, the author of this book actually DID gymnastics, although she says she wasn't very good at it. She writes about the conflicts between her practices and competitions and her family's orthodox practice of Judaism, so I learned a lot more about that religion than I did when I dated a (mostly unorthodox) Jewish guy in college. (His family WAS orthodox enough that his mother hated me, so there's that.)

Dvora Meyers has a good sense of humor and is adept at interjecting it into her writing. (Is that redundant?) I laughed out loud a few times while reading this book. Her descriptions of turning dolls into gymnasts and "competing" them until they completely tore apart (some would say the same is true of actual elite gymnasts under Marta Karolyi these days) were particularly humorous, as were her episodes with her mother.

A couple of things disappointed me, but not so much that I cast the book aside unfinished. For one thing, I would have liked to read about her personal experiences with gymnastics. I would like to know which skills she mastered, which gave her fits, what skills made up her routines (if she progressed that far - in the early stages of gymnastics training, every girl's routine is exactly the same). I would have liked to read about her personal triumphs and failures and what made her stop doing gymnastics. She jumped from a section on streaming gymnastics videos online (she compared it to people who watch porn, something else to which I could relate and that made me laugh out loud) to her experiences with break dancing, during which she also broke away from her orthodox observation of Judaism and began competing and practicing on the Sabbath. Either she left out the connection or I missed it completely, although I can see how the two activities would be related.

I also caught several grammatical errors, which may have slipped through because I believe this book was an electronic-only publication, and it may not have been held to the same strict standards as a print book would have been. She misused the verb "to lie" on two occasions ("laying on my bed..." and one other similar error), and the word "it's" was used in the possessive where it should NOT have had an apostrophe. These are two of my pet peeves, and if she considers herself a writer to the point she chooses poverty in order to pursue it (according to the afterword or whatever it's called at the end of her book), then she needs to pay closer attention to details like that one. The other one I can almost forgive, because she misspelled a gymnast's injury as "tendonitis" when it should be spelled "tendinitis." I realize it's a tenDON, but for some reason the "o" changes to an "i" when it becomes inflamed. I wouldn't know that if I hadn't had a job as a medical transcriptionist at a veterinary college, where a physician's dictionary was my very best friend. But if I know it, and I'm a lowly blog writer with as many as three devoted followers, she should know it too.

This was a light and easy read, something to give the brain a rest from the heavier stuff I've read lately. At least this one didn't have any killing in it. Even the Barbie dolls (barely) survived.


Julie said...

Thank goodness you were never my teacher, I would have been a complete fail. I think I missed the week curriculum covered commas and semi colons, they confound me to this day. Although I'm also a little nit picky about grammatical errors in published literature. I hope you're incorrect about the editing being more slipshod for electronic publication. Yikes! the coming generation isn't going to know how to write or spell.

Dvora Meyers said...

Thanks for the honest review!