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In Greta Gleissner’s gripping Something Spectacular, the former Rockette reflects on one of the darkest periods of her life, during which she struggled with bulimia while simultaneously attempting to project joy, energy, and lighthearted youthfulness as a member of one of the most iconic dance troupes of all time. Gleissner tracks her own journey through illness and back up the long path to recovery, commenting the whole way on the perceptions and expectations that led her to develop such a destructive disorder.
Actor Dina Pearlman’s strong voice telegraphs empathy and respect as she performs this deeply affecting memoir. Pearlman’s pacing and enunciation are clear and conscientious, and she deftly cements listeners’ affection for this audiobook’s remarkable author.
Greta Gleissner, a longtime professional dancer, dreamed her whole life of becoming a Rockette. Then she became one and she fell into the grips of a powerful eating disorder that began poison her life from the inside out. Something Spectacular is Gleissner's raw, personal chronicle of the devastating effects bulimia exacts upon her life during her time as a Rockette. As her disorder takes over, she begins to lead a dual life: happy-go-lucky on the outside; tortured by obsessive, self-destructive voices on the inside.
Immersed in an environment in which even talent is secondary to appearance, Gleissner hides her disorder by any means necessary lying, cheating, and stealing with no regard for the consequences of her actions until she hits rock bottom and is forced to face the truths behind her disease. Her intensive odyssey of self-discovery ultimately gives her the strength to reshape her self-image, embrace her sexuality, and break free of the malignant hold bulimia has on her life. The first book to give voice to the pervasive but often unaddressed problem of eating disorders in the dance industry, Something Spectacular is a gripping expos of the insidious nature of eating-related diseases and a profound account of one woman's journey toward self-acceptance and recovery.
Would you try another book from Greta Gleissner and/or Dina Pearlman?
The author is a fan of assigning odd action verbs to inanimate objects - "funneling thoughts" for example, and it got to the point that I had to give up. Could not even listen to what could have been an interesting story.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
Never got there.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The book itself was compelling - eye-opening, heartbreaking, honest, and, ultimately, hopeful. But the narrator was not a good fit at all. It almost ruined the book for me.
The narrator sounded like a midwestern 90s soccer mom, but the book was about a young woman in her 20s. It just was not a good match. The narrator also had a bad habit of inserting mirthless chuckles into the reading. Like a short, humorless laugh. It was weird and it happened a lot. By the end of the book, it was driving me crazy.
Ultimately, I’d say listen to the sample before buying. You can hear the narrator’s quirks and decide if it’s something you can get past. I got past it, but barely.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Cannot believe all she went through. This book is scary. The author suffered so much. Some of it is hard to listen to. It does not romanticize; it scares the reader away from these behaviors. But the insights into life as a dancer are interesting.
What other book might you compare Something Spectacular to and why?
I have read a lot of eating disorder memoirs, but none revealed to me the pain and suffering of the disorder as vividly as this, or frightened me as much.
true to life story......have walked same journey same journey with with my own daughter. bulimia is a horriid monster
Excellent book for anyone with an eating disorder or loves someone with this. The author knows what she's talking about.
Greta Gleissner doesn’t pull any punches describing the experience of Bulimia, from the daily junk food shopping frenzy to techniques of “purging” and hiding the evidence. I was horrified, and spellbound listening to this.
I learned quite a bit from this book about the similarities of eating disorders and addiction, and the psychological toll of the quest for perfection and love.
Gleissner goes deep in to her background and you can see how something like this would develop long before she was a dancer. Critical mom, unintentionally cruel dad, depression. coming to learn that when she was sick, people paid attention and that “sick equals love.” BOY
Dina Pearlman really sinks her teeth into this reading, like all these worlds are the thoughts scrolling through her head in real time.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Something Spectacular in three words, what would they be?
Therapeutic, Open, fluid
Who was your favorite character and why?
I wouldn't say character simply because the book is about someone's life, but I definitely felt like I had so much in common with Greta, it takes so much to be able to bare yourself open specially when dealing with an addiction.
Which character – as performed by Dina Pearlman – was your favorite?
I personally LOVED Dina Pearlman's narration of the story, it really gave life to the narration.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Definitely the closing chapter, I felt very moved by her remarks.
Any additional comments?
I recommend this book to anyone going through any sort of addiction, is very relatable, very honest, and certainly taught me a few things about dealing with bulimia.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about Something Spectacular?
I find stories on eating disorders very fascinating and I loved how Gretta weaved the story of her life around her bulimia. I thought the way that she perfectly described the anxiety of an ED and the control it has over someone's life was very impactful.
What did you like best about this story?
I liked that it told you the truth in a very bare way. Also, it was written in a way that made it feel like a gripping novel instead of an autobiography. Gretta knows how to tell her story as if it was playing out like a movie.
What does Dina Pearlman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
So much characterisation, every person featured in the book had a different voice which helped flesh out the story. The drama she brought to the words was so effective, it was like listening to a secret radio play at times.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Not one sitting, but I don't know many books I could read in one sitting. I couldn't wait to listen to it before and after work though and I would listen to it whilst getting ready for bed in the evening.
Any additional comments?
If you're interested in the subject matter, the book will be thoroughly enjoyable. The whole thing is about her bulimia, but it is the story of her fascinating life, so it's never dull and always exciting to listen to. If you don't really have an interest in eating disorders and their effects, I would give this one a miss as you might not become engrossed in the story.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful