Book Review: The Turnout by Megan Abbott

Read Dates:

July 26-29, 2021 (DNF)

Star Rating:



The Durant sisters run a ballet school in partnership with older sister Dara’s husband, Charlie. Younger sister Marie starts a fling (and becomes obsessed) with the school’s contractor, Derek, who was hired to repair one of the studios after it was destroyed in an accidental fire. That’s it – 60% in, 208 overly sexualized pages, and that’s pretty much all you can expect.

Full Review:

DNF! I made it as far as I could, but this book was such a slog. Two sisters run a ballet school with the older sister’s husband. There’s definitely a strange relationship among the 3 of them and 60% into the book you still don’t really know whether there was ever anything going on with the husband, Charlie, and the younger sister, Marie. When a contractor enters the picture to repair one of their ballet studios after a fire, an affair ensues between him and Marie, much to older sister Dara’s dismay. There’s definitely something weird about him too but he just seems like a scam artist who should have been fired after his first perverted comment insinuating that Dara is basically a pedophile. I can’t stand when bad things happen to people in books just because the author has neglected to make them behave like any other person would (and Dara is a very “take charge,” no-nonsense character so I doubt she’d stand for his crap).

The issues I had with this book were numerous. The sexual innuendo was SO over the top. Abott couldn’t get through one scene without adding some tawdry, perverse element to it, which became tiring honestly. If I had to read about the wet crotch of a leotard one more time I would scream. Then there’s the characters. My god they were ALL insufferable. There isn’t one character I could relate to or even trust. And finally the pacing was just agonizing. Nothing really happens in this book to keep you hooked and it began to feel like a chore.

So I admit – I gave up. But I read 208 pages (and this is a large book so it seems more like 300 pages) and it felt like a test of my patience and endurance so I’m counting this book as read.

The only slightly redeeming quality is that Abott does know ballet. As a former dancer myself, she clearly did her research or has a background in ballet. But I despised the overwrought sexualizing of just about every aspect of ballet throughout this book.

Bottom line:

Unless you want to feel like you’re in an intensely sexual fever dream that leads no where – don’t bother.

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