Harlequin, $14.95, 277 pages
The Sugarless Plum is a memoir of the life of a very intense, courageous woman, Zippora Karz, who studied ballet and finally became a featured dancer for the New York City Ballet. In the midst of her training, she developed type 1 diabetes. This was in 1983. Type 1 diabetes developed in adulthood was still not understood at that time. If it developed in your childhood or teens, you were assumed to be type 1 (Juvenile Diabetes, insulin-dependent) but if you were an adult, even a young adult as Zippora at age 21, you were assumed to be type 2 (Adult Onset Diabetes, non insulin-dependent). So for several years, during her rigorous physical training for the ballet, she was incorrectly treated. While the early part of the book concerns her formative years and how she came to be the highly determined, unusually self-disciplined person she is, the story of how Zippora Karz survived and prevailed under these circumstances is truly wonderful and amazing! This book is an excellent read for anyone interested in ballet, diabetes, or in fact in the combination of any chronic illness combined with a demanding career.
Reviewed by Rosalie West