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Published by Viking Juvenile March 9, 2009/288 pages
Young Adult Fiction/For grades 8th and up
If I were to use only a list of verbs to review this book they would be:
This book is not for the faint of heart, or the overly sensitive, nor should it be read on a day you are feeling depressed. This is one of the hardest books I've ever read, not because it is poorly written, nor because it is not a profoundly affecting read; but because it has a strong bite to it. It bites and shreds your tender soul until you cry in pain---for the main character Lia.
Lia age 18 is a senior in high school living in Amoskeag, New Hampshire. She is living with her dad and step-mother Jennifer and their daughter Emma age 8. Lia's mother is a physician living in the same town.
In the opening pages Lia's best friend Cassie has been found dead. Lia and Cassie have the same gut gnawing
compulsion, they are anorexic nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Add to this Lia cuts herself. Lia's family is toxic in their behavior with each other and in how they respond to Lia's serious problem.
This is not a book where I respond by saying---I loved this book! There is nothing at all to love about this book except the education that I received from reading it, and of course my ability to have greater empathy with the people that have these eating disorders.
It is scary, frightening, to know there are young women that are so deeply troubled, lost, empty emotionally, that they starve themselves until they disappear. When they see themselves in a mirror it is not with reality that they see themselves, but with a distorted image that peers back at them mocking and terrorizing them.
Lia obsesses about calories, every single tid-bit that goes in her mouth or could go in her mouth, she thinks of the calories.
She obsesses about her pounds and the "perfect" number, which gets smaller and smaller.
The distorted image she has of herself widens to include all areas of her life, she sees nothing as it really is. Plus, she has forgotten was normal is.
The books main focus is on her eating disorders and cutting; but her tangled disjointed dysfunctional family is explored.
Often Lia is impersonal speaking of herself in the 3rd person; isn't this called depersonalization disorder?
Neurosis is present in her throughout most of the book.
This book was borrowed from the library for reading/reviewing.