Source Suggests: Ruth Tenzer Feldman Reviews Amber J. Keyser | Book Talk | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Source Suggests: Ruth Tenzer Feldman Reviews Amber J. Keyser



Before you stroll the streets on First Fridays in downtown Bend, check out this monthly review featuring reading recommendations courtesy of the Source and Dudley's Bookshop Cafe. Then head down to the shop for a discount!

"Pointe, Claw" by Amber J. Keyser

For the Locals Issue, we asked one Oregon author, Ruth Tenzer Feldman ("Blue Thread," "The Ninth Day," and "Seven Stitches"), to review the latest work from another local author, Amber J. Keyser ("The Way Back From Broken," "The V-Word").

Amber J. Keyser's latest novel for older teens and adults turns the pas de deux of classical ballet inside out with a ferocity that demands focus on every step—and every misstep—in this compelling story. By turns fierce and bold, brave and tender, "Pointe, Claw" introduces us to two childhood friends who were wrenched apart years earlier and are now re-entering each other's lives.

Jessie, who tortures her body with the demands of ballet, is caught up in an animalistic production that shatters her self-image and threatens to unravel her dreams to become a professional ballerina. Dawn, a gifted student in science, faces unexplained episodes of "going dark" as her mind and body progressively blur the line between human and beast. Neither girl finds safety in our domesticated, body-conscious culture.

What does it take for Jessie and Dawn to heal what's fractured? Does either of them have the courage to craft, in the words of poet Mary Oliver, her "one wild and precious life?" Will they go it alone or together? And at what cost? Keyser's choreography will keep you swirling until the last satisfying paragraph.

About the author: In addition to "Pointe, Claw," Amber J. Keyser is the author of "The Way Back" from Broken (Carolrhoda Lab 2015), a heart-wrenching novel of loss and survival, and "The V-Word" (Beyond Words/Simon Pulse, 2016), an anthology of personal essays by women about first-time sexual experiences, among numerous other titles. Find out more at

About the reviewer: Ruth Tenzer Feldman is the author of three young adult novels, "Blue Thread," "The Ninth Day," and "Seven Stitches," as well as many works of history for teens. She lives and writes in Oregon. More at

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