Don't Think, Dear: On Loving and Leaving Ballet

Product Details
$29.99  $27.89
Mariner Books
Publish Date
6.25 X 9.25 X 1.0 inches | 1.08 pounds

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About the Author

Alice Robb has written for Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The New Republic, among other publications. Her first book, Why We Dream was recommended by The New Yorker, The New York Times, Today, Vogue, TIME and The Guardian, and has been translated into seventeen languages.


"I don't think I've ever felt so seen by an author: Alice Robb says aloud the conundrums I've been wrestling with since adolescence but wasn't able to put into words. Her storytelling prowess and sharp analysis help contextualize my own experience in the ballet in a way I didn't realize I needed. I wouldn't trust anyone but Alice Robb in handling a subject so close to my heart." -- Sophie Flack, author of Bunheads and former dancer with the New York City Ballet

"Don't Think, Dear is an enlightening, perceptive and, ultimately, sad book. Ms. Robb evokes the romance of ballet while revealing its dark side and asks tough questions that have no clear answers." -- Wall Street Journal

"Don't Think, Dear is a feminist interrogation of ballet. It's also, in its way, hopeful." -- Washington Post

"A rigorous yet loving examination of a childhood passion told through a feminist lens. Don't Think, Dear is full of clarity, even about questions that will never get completely clear answers." -- Rebecca Traister, New York Times bestselling author of Good and Mad

"At once a tribute to the art form that shaped her and an exploration of a 'beautiful pain cult, ' this engaging book will appeal to dance lovers and anyone interested in the entangled nature of patriarchy, race, and ballet. An elegantly incisive, meditative work." -- Kirkus Reviews

"A beautiful, difficult, and compelling memoir." -- Vanity Fair

"Don't Think, Dear is powered by a fundamental love of the art form while exposing the toxic culture that runs through it." -- The Guardian

"[Robb's] timely book is a critical yet personal examination of classical ballet - a performing art highly dependent on the talent of women - filtered through the lens of 21st-century feminism... she brings a welcome academic rigour to a subject clearly born of deeply held emotions." -- The Times (UK)

"Insightful... Robb provides searing glimpses of life behind the curtain, and captures her appreciation for ballet's "hyperfeminine trappings." This will deepen readers' understanding of the insular world of ballet." -- Publishers Weekly

"Don't Think Dear - the title is a saying of Balanchine's - is part memoir, part investigation, and enthralling whether or not you have any knowledge of ballet." -- New Statesman

"Robb brings analysis, intelligence and a feminist lens to this insightful book." -- Pointe Magazine

"[Robb] captures ballet's romance as well as its dark and traumatic side." -- Library Journal

"Expertly choreographed and long overdue, this is the nuanced reckoning ballet needs, ballerinas deserve, and all feminists should note." -- Oprah Daily

"Nuanced, intimate." -- The Guardian

"A study of an obsession remarkable for its nuance and insight...succeeds in conveying, in a refreshingly unromantic way, what is still valuable about the art form." -- Times Literary Supplement (London)

"If you ever dreamed of dancing, Robb's book will allow you to unpack your own past, undoing the self-censorship learned in a culture that rarely takes the aspirations and ambitions of girlhood seriously." -- New Republic

"This riveting memoir-meets-critical-appraisal examines classical ballet, revealing it to be less career, more cult -- and as psychologically and physically brutal as it is beautiful" -- Daily Mail (UK)

"Neither romanticizing or decrying the dance world, Robb beautifully explores the push-pull of masochism and perfectionism--preoccupations not just relevant to aspiring dancers, but to anyone who's ever pursued an almost-impossible dream." -- Ada Calhoun, New York Times bestselling author of Why We Can't Sleep and Also a Poet

"Alice Robb has written an enlightening and deeply readable book about the world of professional ballet -- and through it the way young women in general shape their bodies and psyches to meet the expectations of an unforgiving world. Robb, who carries her reporting lightly, is a born storyteller, one of those writers who grab your interest and keep it." -- Daphne Merkin, author of 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love

"Don't Think, Dear is an extraordinary book full of poignant storytelling and profound insights. Robb masterfully weaves memoir, reportage, and criticism into a superbly crafted meditation on ballet and its broader cultural impact." -- Marisa Meltzer, author of Glossy and This is Big

"Here is a memoir, a love letter, a cultural history, and a long-awaited reckoning of the most iconic feminine ideal. Robb's intimate and frank examination of ballet's legacy--both in and outside of studios and performance halls--shows us all the many ways it continues to shape our lives and bodies. Chapter to chapter, this book is both brutal and beautiful, like its subject." -- Sarah Gerard, author of Sunshine State and True Love