Kirjailijakuva

Peter BoalKirja-arvosteluja

Teoksen Illusions of Camelot tekijä

1 Work 26 jäsentä 21 arvostelua

Kirja-arvosteluja

Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
I loved this book! It follows a student and teacher of ballet. I went in not having any prior knowledge of ballet other than it's limited to those people with access to money. Mr. Baol's family fit that mold perfectly. From there I assumed that the only problems the family would have would be unrelatable to an average family. That was not the case. From bullying to drug use, alcohol consumption to theft; this book covered all of it. The writing was amazing and kept me wanting to read.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Reader1999 | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 24, 2024 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to relate to, or appreciate, Illusions of Camelot: A Memoir by Peter Boal. I know nothing about ballet, nor has my life been anything like the author's. But, I was interested because I’ve been loving memoirs recently and I have appreciated reading about subjects I know nothing about. Boal quickly pulled me in and I enjoyed this book.
I have found that if a memoir is well-written, you don’t have to “know” the author or industry—the author introduces you to it. Boal succeeded. This is a memoir about HIM, not about ballet. Well done.
Boal grew up more than privileged; he grew up rich. He recognizes that and he doesn’t boast about what he “had” or where he lived. He details and explains, but there’s no bragging involved. A majority of the book recounts his childhood, and he makes the reader part of it. I felt like I knew his family. Boal brought me into his joy, pain, sadness, love, and torment. I love reading childhood memoirs. I can only hope that the adult expresses emotion and thought as experienced while a child… not how the adult has processed them.
My marketing criticism: in my opinion, the book description and cover don’t match the book content. They made me think this was going to be centered around Boal as a dancer; however, it’s a memoir about a privileged white boy who is also an exceptional dancer. If you’re a person who likes memoirs of an individual’s childhood and the forces that developed the adult, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you want a memoir about Boal’s life as a dancer, you may be disappointed. I may have missed it, but I have no idea what the book title refers to or why it was chosen.
My editing criticism: I found a few moments confusing as they were out of chronological order, but it wasn’t explained that “we’re jumping back/forward a bit”.
I enjoyed this book and recommend it to people (like I stated) who like memoirs about the person, not so much about the person’s success, or for people who want to learn more about Peter Boal’s life.
My appreciation to Peter Boal and Beaufort Books for the LibraryThing Early Reviewers printed copy.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Crazinss | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 31, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
I requested this book as an Early Reviewer and was quite pleased to receive it as I too grew up in Bedford, albeit 20 years earlier. And I suppose Bedford has changed; after all Martha Stewart now lives there. Nevertheless, there were mansions then, and rich people, but I grew very tired of his generalizations about the town and its residents, and his continued emphasis on wealth. For example: "The money crowd was small at Fox Lane [my high school], but they found each other by their BMWs . . ." I wonder how he knows, given that he went to Rippowam (yes, a ritzy private school).

This is all carping, and feels ungenerous, but it does capture the annoyance I felt. Some scrupulous editing would have helped greatly. I realize it was written as a series of short stories, which is fine, but they should have been rearranged to cut out the repetition and to make the whole book less disjointed. And, as many reviewers have written, we all wanted to hear more about dance. The focus on the difficulties of growing up with an alcoholic father is understandable - it shaped his life. But how did dance, which after all began when he was just nine? Was it an escape? Was the control required the opposite of what he witnessed each night with his father?

I watched some short videos of Boal's dancing and it was exquisite. I just wish his writing could have measured up.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
bobbieharv | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 14, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
A heartfelt memoir about the life of Peter Boal, the former principal dancer of the New York City Ballet. Rather than chronological order, this book is written in short vignettes and, for the most part, encompasses his life from early childhood to young adult as part of a privileged but imperfect family.

Beautifully written, but left me wanting to know more about his dance career. Perhaps a sequel will be forthcoming.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
pinklady60 | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 5, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
although well written, I couldn't finish this book. I didn't have much interest in the childhood of a privileged white kid growing up in a priveleged nieghborhood,
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
martingayle | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 19, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Memoir from a former principal dancer for the New York City Ballet. I was a little disappointed at first that it did not cover more about his dance training and career. That said, it was a beautiful coming of age story, as the author describes his privileged youth and his relationship with his family and especially his father. These early influences shaped his later career.½
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
dianne47 | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 11, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
This memoir was a complete disappointment. I was excited to receive this book from the publisher as an Early Reviewer because my sister and I both spent our childhoods in a ballet academy and now my niece is also a very skilled dancer. The author, Peter Boal was a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet and is the artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet. The picture on the cover shows a male dancer (one could assume to be Peter Boal since it is his memoir) in an emotive pose. On the back of the book it states, "Peter's journey starts with a storied career as a dancer and leaves readers with insights into the life of an artist . . ." but the book starts with him winning a bike when he's two. And continues to talk about building a macaroni tower in school. This book doesn't share insights, and barely mentions dance, and definitely doesn't talk about his career in any meaningful way. This memoir is a good lesson for writers about knowing your audience, and audience expectation: A writer needs to fulfill the promise made to the reader.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
mariaberg | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 6, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Illusions of Camelot is one of those books you don't want to put down.

I enjoyed reading about Peter Boal's upbringing and struggles in a wealthy area of New York along with the his dysfunctional family.

I wish that there was more written about his life in the New York City ballet, but overall a good read.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
parking | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 4, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
A very engaging book, flows nicely. He also sets scenes well, "visually" and emotionally (which is probably part of the comfortable flow while reading). I never knew of this dancer, but am glad to have met him in his own words.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
KatyLL | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 1, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
If you come to this book expecting a takedown of the ballet world then you will be disappointed but stay though because you will be awarded with a wonderful coming of age story and how Peter Boal adult life was shaped by it. Its an engaging memoir from the beginning till the end. You will have a hard time putting it down.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
CryBel | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 25, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
This memoir was unexpected in a disappointing way in the beginning, but as I got further along I began to appreciate how it told the story of his life, which is what led him to became the dancer he is. It's an origin story, delving into Peter Boal's childhood, both good and bad.

It gives the reader a chance to step back and fully admire what he has accomplished through the hardship of his youth. I am not sure why, but I went into the book expecting a sort of reality take on the Ballet world (even though the description clearly conveys that it is a memoir from his childhood to early adulthood), but the memoir is so engaging that it didn't take me long to get over it.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
AMidnightSoul | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 24, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Though there are variations, the basic arabesque, said to be one of the most graceful of all ballet positions, requires the dancer to support one’s body weight on one leg, while the other is extended in back with the knee straight.

On a warm afternoon in late May, 2015, my wife and I took our young granddaughters, budding dancers, to see a performance of the New York City Ballet. While waiting outside the theater in the cooling mists of the Lincoln Center fountain, we met two older women, one of whom said to the girls, “You look like dancers.”

We were off and conversing. Turned out both of the women had danced in the chorus of the New York City Ballet. I mentioned that we knew the mother of a dancer who had performed with the company, who now was the artistic director of the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle.

“Peter Boal?”

“Yes, Peter Boal.”

“He wasn’t just a dancer. He was a principal! He was amazing! It was always said that he had the best arabesque of anyone.”

One Village Voice review of a Boal performance cited, “… the Apollonian elegance and good taste that inform his dancing, as well as with the verve and drama he brings to roles in Balanchine’s Prodigal Son and the “Rubies” section of Jewels.”

You’ll find no such boasting in Boal’s memoir, Illusions of Camelot, and surprisingly, not a great deal about his career at all, which may come as a disappointment for those expecting more ballet, and less about Boal’s childhood in the wealthy enclave of Bedford, New York.

But there are key moments. Though Boal was indifferent to the few performances he attended in his earliest years, he was nine when, he writes, “During a performance of Coppelia, in the middle of the villagers’ romp, I suddenly realized I wanted to try ballet lessons. I tugged on my mom’s sleeve and whispered, “I want to try that.” ¶“Try what?” ¶”Ballet. Can I try ballet?”

He did, and progressed rapidly, appearing in a production of The Nutcracker later that year. By age 14 he was living on his own in New York City, studying at the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center and performing regularly. In various portions of the book well-known names from the ballet world are dropped, albeit with restraint, and there’s an incisive chapter about a visit to George Balanchine in the hospital shortly before the ballet master’s death.

The grief over Balanchine is mirrored by other losses in the book; there’s also the death from AIDS of John Bass, a fellow dancer from the NYCB company, whom Boal was in a relationship with (though he has now been in a 30-plus-year marriage with Kelly Cass Boal, with three children).

And Boal keeps sounding the leitmotif of his family’s constant grappling with his father’s alcoholism, an ongoing struggle that was, in the end, doomed.

Lest this sound overly lugubrious, it should be noted that there’s a great deal of humor in the book, as it’s largely about Boal’s younger years, and the typical shenanigans and excesses of youth. If taking place in the privileged environs of Bedford and in its private school, horse-riding stable and country club, Boal is convincing enough that it was decidedly not Camelot.

So there are incidents of bullying (by twin girls), bad actors in grade school, teen parties where the drinking gets out of hand, disastrous family meals, unruly dogs and truculent neighbors, related in prose rich in detail and dialogue (though Boal cheerfully admits that, “… some dialogue has been recreated using the author’s best recollections”).

As mentioned, his mother, Lyndall, a scion of England’s Cadbury chocolate company, is a friend, and I’m happy to say she comes off as stalwart. As do housekeeper Vivian Wilson and nanny Mrs. Hattie (Lindsay), clearly women indelible in Boal’s upbringing and warmly captured here.

“These memories were pieced together like a mosaic,” writes the author. The short chapters certainly stand on their own and add up to a comprehensive whole, though there are disjunctions of chronology that will keep readers on their toes. But in a book by a ballet master, that seems apt enough.

[A version of this review, with illustration, is at http://theaposition.com/tombedell/golf/lifestyle/9453/dancing-through-childhood
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
tombedell | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 22, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
In his acknowledgments Peter Boal states "These memories were pieced together like a mosaic. Stories, like objects, were created, collected, polished and placed in different configurations until a greater whole emerged." The result is somewhat disjointed and not always chronological. Boal was born in 1965 in very wealthy, very Republican, Bedford New York where his family is somewhat on the fringes of "society." The family is somewhat dysfunctional (the father is an alcoholic) but is supportive of his desire to study dance. Boal has a successful career as a dancer and artistic director but this book is more a series of very personal impressions of events he lived through or witnessed: his parents being blackballed by a country club, his intro to porn, studying with Jerome Robbins, meeting Balanchine, AIDS, drugs, the death of John Lennon. I read this right after I finished Bald Eagles, Bear Cubs, and Hermit Bill: Memories of a Wildlife Biologist in Maine by Ronald Joseph (also an Early Reviewer win) and couldn't help contrasting the very different lives of these two men who both grew up in the Northeastern USA. While Joseph(b. 1952) is only about thirteen years Older than Boal, it feels as if they grew up in different centuries and countries. But what the both have is a passion for what they do

½
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
seeword | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 21, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Publication date: May 23, 2023. Illusions of Camelot: A Memoir, by Peter Boal, recounts the author's privileged upbringing in a family that sounds like the American dream but, as in all dreams, faced obstacles of being human. The author's memories of important events in his life are honestly and unapologetically recounted. This is a fascinating account and I hope that similar writing follows with more of his fascinating life. Well written and highly recommended.

My thanks to the author, Peter Boal; the publisher, Beaufort Books; and LibraryThing through whom I received my ARC of this book.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
KimberlyGG | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 1, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Memoir from a dancer with the New York City Ballet. From an affluent family that lived in a mansion, sent their kids to private school, owned horses, belong to an exclusive Club, etc. Insider story about what it was like to grow up in those circumstances. A lot of it sounded pretty posh to me, but yes there were struggles and kids teasing each other and an argumentative, dysfuncational family and a father with alcoholism that only got more severe as the years went on. The author describes how his family was always a fan of the ballet, and took him to see performances at a young age, and he was so enthralled, turned to his parents and said: that’s what I want to do. And he did it. Starting at twelve. Taking the train into the city for ballet lessons after classes all through middle school, traveling with the company half of his high school years! Sounds like he had a natural talent, strength and flexibility- almost immediately singled out by instructors and mentors. I don’t know a lot about ballet (having only read a few fictional accounts of children in classes) so I was hoping for more, but feel like I just got the bare bones. All the ballet stuff was sketched over, or breezed through with technical terms I couldn’t follow, frequently mentioning big names, how he met certain people, how much he admired them- but not a lot of the details that get a reader to really sink into a story. Really more of the narrative was about his family life, travels, incidents and politics in his hometown. I did admire his family’s stance on certain things, and liked the stories from his childhood, but going into this book thinking it was mostly about the ballet, it came across as a disappointment. Also a tad disjointed- it skips around quite a bit. More or less chronological, but then events fall out of order again. You’ve read all through his childhood and teen years into adult, and then suddenly the last few chapters tell about the pony he had as a kid, and how his sister got into competitive riding. I realized why when I read the acknowledgements at the end- seems like much of this book was originally written as short stories, which he then pieced together. So that makes sense to me now, but when I was reading it before knowing that, it kept throwing me off.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
jeane | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 24, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
I received Illusions of Camelot: A Memoir as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme.

Peter Boal's journey to dance is told through photos and snippets of memories of his childhood and challenges he faced.

I only wish there was more information about his dance life. But overall it was an interesting read.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
GrrlLovesBooks | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 1, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Peter Boal reflects on his life. He doesn't always stick to chronological order. He tells of his childhood and his troubled relationship with his father. I would have liked more focus on his time in the ballet.½
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
nx74defiant | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 14, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
**I received this book as an Early Reviewer Giveaway.**

I was super excited to be chosen for this giveaway because I am a dancer in Seattle, where Boal serves as Artistic Director of PNB. Overall, this book was well-written and shared moments of the author's upbringing that, while some felt tangential to me, clearly stuck in his brain and impacted his life. Memoirs, to me, are about sharing what you deem to be key moments. Although I have criticisms, I still feel this book was well written and that Boal's story is interesting and worth reading. The ending (Ch. 33 and the Epilogue) was gorgeous. Flawless way to end this book. Also, it was fun to see my former ballet teacher's name, Galina Panova, pop up unexpectedly.

Criticism 1: There were 2 moments of typos or simple editing errors. On pg. 184, the author mentions "Scott Adams." In the next sentence, it's "Scott Abrams," and a few sentences later, "Scott Adams," again. Another formatting error occurred on pg. 306 when "Sri Lanka" jumps to a new line, but seems to be indented for "Lanka."

Criticism 2: Every sentence on the back cover talks about dance, and I feel as though this book has been marketed as a book about Boal's history specifically in the dance world. However, it feels like there was minimal inclusion about the author's life in dance. I think it's fine to have your memoir focus on the journey to where you're at now, but perhaps the description should reflect that and be less dance-centered.

Criticism 3: Stepping into this book with a thorough telling of a privileged upbringing with many stories that seem tangential to the book's purpose except to say, "We were rich and our family wasn't perfect," made it difficult to relate to.

Criticism 4: There were moments that felt weirdly out-of-order, which I found distracting. Namely, I felt Ch. 21 jumped into the future, when we would soon after hear living stories about someone we just discussed dying, and Ch. 32 jumped into the past, whereas I feel it would have belonged better in a place more chronologically fitting.

As stated above, this book is still a worthwhile read, but I do believe the marketing should paint it more as a memoir of a person who works in dance, rather than the dance-centered route it seems to be taking.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
bridgetisrad | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 7, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
I enjoyed this wonderful memoir that brilliantly combined the personal story of a somewhat dysfunctional family, at least from the paternal presence, and an amazing career of a professional ballet dancer. What made the book so special was the ability of the author to share both interesting personal and professional events that were touching and relatable to this reader. His gradual realization of his sexual identity was handled with grace as was his fortunate rise in his career as a ballet dancer. Some highlights included details about the development of his ballet persona as well as intimate moments with stars like Jerome Robbins and others not so well known to the general public. His sensitive way of handling the impact of his father's alcoholism on his family was touching as well. Overall the narrative of his life kept me reading with interest and pleasure.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
jwhenderson | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 17, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Truthfully, I was disappointed in this book but not all of the reason why is the author’s fault. The memoir is marketed as being that of a principal ballet dancer but three-quarters of the book focuses on his childhood growing up in WASP-y, white Bedford, New York. Indeed, the first two prologues and twelve chapters focus entirely on his life in Bedford. Then the narrative is interrupted by one chapter focused on Jerome Robbins—a jarring switch of time, place, tone, all without introduction. The final quarter does cover his first few years as a dancer, with many references to other dancers, choreographers, and works. But nowhere did Boal reveal what it feels like to dance, what drew him to it, what it means to him. I expected—and wanted—to see the world of ballet from inside it. There were some exceptions, like the acknowledgement that “As professional dancers, we became adults before our time and yet in Saratoga [a summer dance destination], we felt like adults for the first time.”
I also found editing lapses that were the equivalent of continuity errors in filmmaking such as a character mentioned in numerous scenes before finally being introduced and explained after the fact. In the meantime, I was madly flipping pages, wondering what I had missed: who is this guy? Why is he living in their house? A relative?
That said, there were lovely passages and touching anecdotes, primarily about his lover who died of AIDS-related cancer, and his alcoholic father. Indeed, the memoir truly centers around the troubled relationship between father and son.
I wish that the editor and marketers of this memoir (and first-time author) had given it a fairer shake by helping to shape it better and presenting it to the reading public more faithfully. Although the back cover copy promises to leave “readers with insights into the life of an artist shaped by environment, circumstance, and family,” there was insufficient insight into what makes Peter Boal an artist, not just another memoirist of childhood and dysfunctional family.
1 ääni
Merkitty asiattomaksi
AnaraGuard | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 11, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
Most enjoyable memoir of one of the big names in the ballet world, consisting of vignettes from the author's boyhood, well, toddlerhood, to his developing a lifelong affair with ballet, from his start at 7 years of age, through his descriptions of his ballet classes, various companies he performed with, various choreographers, until finally ending up as artistic director of a ballet company in the northwest. We meet his upper middle-class family from a privileged neighborhood, his Black nanny/family housekeeper and others who influenced his life in one way or another. These sketches follow no particular timeline. Some have flashes of humor; others are sad. All in all, a quick, informative read.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
janerawoof | 20 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 10, 2023 |