author’s website: Ibi Kaslik
release date: September 19, 2006
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Contemporary / Body Image
length: 256 pages
publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
overall rating: 2.5 Stars
body image & self perception issue: anorexia
*the inside flap*
Holly’s older sister, Giselle, is self-destructing. Haunted by her love-deprived relationship with her late father, Giselle is fighting an all-consuming battle with anorexia. As a track star, Holly struggles to keep her own life in balance while coping with the mental and physical deterioration of her beloved sister. Once a strong role model and top medical student, Giselle is spiraling out of control. And, together, they are holding on for dear life.
This honest look at the special bond between sisters is told from both girls’ perspectives as they narrate alternating chapters. Gritty and often wryly funny, Skinny explores family relationships, love, pain and the hunger for acceptance that drives us all.
I had a lot of trouble getting into this book. I picked it up expecting to read a story about two sisters and how they dealt with one of them having an eating disorder. While the book does have the story of two sisters and of how one has an eating disorder, I thought that it talked about so many more topics that I would almost categorize it as a book about self exploration, not just an eating disorder.
The book is told by both Giselle and Holly, and since the girls are very different ages (22 and eighth grade respectively), they do have very different perspectives, which enhances the story. The chapters alternate the narrator, but they aren’t labeled, and it was sometimes difficult to tell who was narrating, especially if you are just picking it up again after a break from reading. It was interesting to read about the girls different explorations as this book progressed. Giselle tells about many of her explorations as memories, and does touch on topics of bisexuality, drug use, drinking, and her history and experiences at medical school. Holly is experiencing things quite differently because she is younger and is trying to discover herself (although she doesn’t say that is what she is doing, and she may not even recognize that is what she is doing, but it is interesting to read). Holly deals with peer pressure in terms of athletics, drinking, drugs, her own body, and boys. Some of these topics lead to some rather explicit explanations, and while the descriptions may be true to topic, they may also be inappropriate for younger readers of YA books.
This book is written in a kind of “stream of consciousness” style that I didn’t care for. There was especially a lot of this when Giselle narrated. She had an interesting internal struggle with a very different version of herself. It was almost as if her intellect was arguing with the disease, but it was difficult to follow sometimes. Even when I was reading and enjoying certain parts of the story, I wasn’t drawn to pick it up. The book dealt with a number of issues that can be important to teenagers, and may appeal to others, but I didn’t care for it.
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