Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stone Girl ~ Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Title: The Stone Girl
Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Pub Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
224 pages
Author Website: www.alyssasheinmel.com
Author Q&A for The Stone Girl: http://www.alyssasheinmel.com/StoneGirl_AuthorQA_WEB.pdf 
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley

From GoodReads: She feels like a creature out of a fairy tale; a girl who discovers that her bones are really made out of stone, that her skin is really as thin as glass, that her hair is brittle as straw, that her tears have dried up so that she cries only salt. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t hurt when she presses hard enough to begin bleeding: it doesn’t hurt, because she’s not real anymore.

Sethie Weiss is hungry, a mean, angry kind of hunger that feels like a piece of glass in her belly. She’s managed to get down to 111 pounds and knows that with a little more hard work—a few more meals skipped, a few more snacks vomited away—she can force the number on the scale even lower. She will work on her body the same way she worked to get her perfect grades, to finish her college applications early, to get her first kiss from Shaw, the boy she loves, the boy who isn’t quite her boyfriend.

Sethie will not allow herself one slip, not one bad day, not one break in concentration. Her body is there for her to work on when everything and everyone else—her best friend, her schoolwork, and Shaw—are gone.

This was not one of my favorites. I didn't think it was even one of the best eating disorder books I've read. Nonetheless I still feel it is an important book. 

My chief complaint with the book is the POV. As third person we are told what happens: "Sethie gets good grades." "Sethie smokes a lot of pot." "Her fingers smell like vomit." Throughout this perspective it was extremely hard for me to connect with ANY of the characters, let alone the protagonist! I could not sympathize with her, I had 0 emotion for her or any of her friends. Because there was a lack of first person knowledge, Sethie felt like an article on the nurse's wall. There was a story, but no depth. Unless I missed it, we are never told why she does this to herself. As a reader, i would have liked to know why she began starving herself.

One thing I did appreciate about the book was the different angle on eating disorders. Sethie doesn't consider herself anorexic. In fact, she even calls someone else anorexic! Sethie just watches what she eats! I thought this was interesting, and I wonder how many other people with eating disorders have that perspective as well. 

There was just not enough explanation in the book.Then it suddenly stops with a quote-and I could not understand exactly how it fit in. I interpreted it a certain way, but I'm still a little confused.

"...work it out your own way. Have good luck at your age." -Ernest Hemingway Lines to a Girl 5 Days After Her 21st Birthday

After you've read the book, or if you have already, what did you think of the final quote in the book?

In the end, if you're looking to just fill out an Eating Disorder reading list, give it a whirl, otherwise pick up a different one. 

Brief Resource Guide. Note, this is not a complete list, or even comprehensive. I am in no way, shape, or form an expert. Instead I want to offer some pathways to help if it is needed. If I have missed a resource that you feel should be included, please email or comment below and I will be more than happy to add to this list!

  •  Anorexia Nervosa and Associate Disorders (ANAD) 1-847-831-3438 http://www.anad.org Referrals to treatment and Information 
  • The Renfrew Center http://renfrewcenter.com/ 1-800-RENFREW (1-800-736-3739) Referrals

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