Thursday, April 30, 2015

Only in Spain-Nellie Bennett

Only in Spain-Nellie Bennett
the facts
satisfaction: side/down
pages: 293
gender: F
nationality: Australia
year: 2014
non fiction. Memoir.
Nellie escapes her superficial shopgirl life in Australia for a life dancing flamenco in Spain.
Maybe it's because I am Spanish and danced flamenco for most of my life but. but.

In the end, I could not stand this memoir. Maybe I just found it naive. There are so many stereotypes and archetypes in here that I found myself wondering when Bennett was going to leave her own head. Ok, so the flamenco teacher in Sevilla is dark eyed and kisses her. The 'gypsys' in Madrid are dangerous but alluring (please see the entire canon of English folk songs about this very topic). The Latin American housemates are always having fun. No, no, no I shall not go on (I could). There is so much on the struggles of Bennett's life (and I can empathize, teaching English to survive is...no, it's never fun) but she also is on a quest for what she thinks flamenco and flamenco dancing should be. I'm more astounded that she found that idea in person but then, she probably interpreted much of the events according to this vision, this narrative she constructed about what the flamenco life is. And this, I think, is what I cannot forgive her. This is not a personal attack, I doubt that in real life this was what she and her life was like but this was clearly a narrative that was constructed out of that reality. A narrative that conforms to all the stereotypes and archetypes that foreigners ascribe to flamenco. 

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