Showing posts with label anorexia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anorexia. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Recommendation: Paperweight - Meg Haston: Eating Disorders and Treatment Centers


In PAPERWEIGHT, Stevie's dad signs her up for sixty days of treatment for her eating disorder. But she plans to be dead by the twenty-seventh day, the day of her anniversary that she killed her brother.

What intrigued me: I was in the mood for a dark read.

Brutally Honest

PAPERWEIGHT is neither a light, nor happy-go-lucky type of story. It's a brutally honest story of a girl with an eating disorder. It's a raw emotional journey to read this and if you're looking for a thrilling read with plot twists or even a side of epic romance, this is the wrong pick. It's a minimalist story that's hard to read because it's so unapologetic. PAPERWEIGHT is a story that deserves to be read, but certainly won't be for everyone.

PAPERWEIGHT absolutely isn't romanticizing anything. If at all, it's doing the exact opposite. There are no euphemisms, no glorification, it's absolutely clear to the reader at all times that what Stevie is doing is wrong, that her motives are irrelevant, and that her experience isn't pleasant in the slightest. She isn't the most likeable protagonist, but that contributes to the credibility of the story and Stevie's actions. PAPERWEIGHT wants to make you uncomfortable and that's part of why I loved it so much.

Refreshing and Real

Stevie's narration alternates between her days in the clinic and her treatment with therapist Anna, and the past, through which we learn more about her family. The therapist plays a vital role in PAPERWEIGHT which I found refreshing. The present storyline is very straightforward and minimalist, but filled with fantastically well-developed side characters that absolutely make up for the lack of thrilling action. What had me clinging to the pages the most are actually the flashbacks and solving the mystery surrounding Stevie's brother and her best friend Eden, for whom Stevie developed more than just platonic feelings.

There are so many refreshing things about PAPERWEIGHT, at no point you'll feel like this story is told to influence the reader, to make them like the protagonist or to add any unnecessary drama to the story. It almost reads like an autobiography, which is even more admirable when you read the author's bio and realize that this an #ownvoices novel by someone who has first-hand experience with eating disorders. 

If you want an honest read that chronicles mental illness the way it is, read PAPERWEIGHT.
If you struggle to understand eating disorders and learn more about them, read PAPERWEIGHT.
If you want a dark literary read and want to be emotionally invested, read PAPERWEIGHT.




Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

PAPERWEIGHT is a brutally honest and fantastic novel that chronicles the story of a girl with anorexia. If you want to learn about anorexia or love YA that's on the darker side, PAPERWEIGHT is the perfect pick. A total page-turner.

Proceed with caution if you plan on picking this novel up, PAPERWEIGHT may be a very triggering read for anyone who has/has had first-hand experience with an eating disorder and/or self harm. 

Highlight following text for a full list of trigger warnings and possible triggering content:

alcoholism, anorexia, bulimia, cutting, death, eating disorders, PTSD, self harm/self mutilation, suicidal thoughts, suicide



Additional Info

Published: July 13th 2015
Pages: 320
Publisher: Thienemann
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9783522202152

Synopsis:
"Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn't plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read books about eating disorders?

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

[Review] Solitaire - Alice Oseman


For 16-year-old Tori, school is just an annoying necessity. She doesn't have a lot of friends, and she doesn't really care about anything.

When teenage anarchist bloggers under the pseudonym Solitaire start terrorizing her school and a new guy called Michael Holden appears in her life, she is forced to leabe her comfort zone and start acting.


Diversity: How not to do it

I'm not surprised that this is yet another inaccurate representation of mental illness. I'm yet to find a novel that doesn't make my toes curl. 16-year-old teenager Tori is probably the first cliché character that comes to your mind when thinking about depression. 

She's apathetic, she has no interest in anything, and she thinks the world revolves around her. The thing about mental illness is that it affects people differently. Oseman chose the most common portrayal of depression and wrote a novel that's very representative of that.

Not everyone is like Tori, not everyone shows clear symptoms, and to me this is one of the many mistakes this novel makes. There are a lot of diverse characters, gays, bisexuals, anorexics - and every single one of them is a walking cliché. I like that Oseman tried to incorporate diversity, but it just isn't realistic to make every character struggling with an illness or being super eccentric. It just feels like you're reading a bad fan fiction about characters with purple-hair, oddly colored eyes, and weird names. Coincidentally, you can find all of this in "Solitaire".

Very unlikable protagonist ruins the story

Oseman really hits the nail on the head in terms of character voice. Tori's voice and Oseman's writing are a nice match, so you really get how Tori feels, from her apathy to her disconnection from the world. However, I found this incredibly exhausting. There is no way to like Tori as a character. Maybe it's the whole point of her character to be a blank sheet and full of self-centered thoughts and to be living in her own little world where all she matters is her; but really, it's not fun to read about a character like that. You can have the best plot in the world, but it will be exhausting and boring if you narrate it in such an annoying, condescending character voice.

The writing style is very unique, and features a lot of short sentences and information dumps that are absolutely unnecessary. Whenever a new character is introduced, you can prepare for about three pages of backstory of a random memory Tori has of that character. What kept me reading were probably only the pop culture references. I love a novel that addresses the quirks of the 2010s, and the nods to tumblr and blogging here and there were pretty entertaining.

...

I've come across a lot of reviewers that consider "Solitaire" to be a truthful voice of our generation, a brutally honest manifesto of a teenager. Well, I think it's quite the opposite. I don't even think that Oseman intended to try to capture the high school experience. Tori has a very limited perception and is very judgmental. She picks out flaws in everyone and the world that Tori sees does not reflect reality. Everyone around her is irrelevant, nothing has a point for her, and nobody has a right to be happy about anything. Yes, you might say that's just the side effect of her depression, but I'm not a fan of that portrayal.

Rating: 
★★



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I thought it was very boring and exhausting to read. Oseman clearly is a talented writer, but the characters are not doing the novel a favor. I would have liked this more had it been told from the point-of-view of her best friend Becky. I also believe this would have worked better without Solitaire itself. It has potential to be a great character-driven novel, instead of a very badly executed mix between character -and plot-driven.

I wouldn't recommend this, because I think it's very offensive for people suffering from mental illness. Portrayals of depressed characters that just show the apathy and ignorance aren't very creative, and frankly inaccurate. I'd still pick up Oseman's next novel, simply because I believe she is a good writer and just chose terrible characters to write a mediocre story about.

And yeah, the synopsis isn't very accurate. "Solitaire" totally is a love story.



Additional Info

Original Title: "Solitaire"
Author: Alice Oseman
Published: 21st August 2015
Pages: 384
Medium: Hardcover
Publisher: dtv
Cover: dtv, 2015
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9783423761192

Synopsis:
"In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t."
(Source: Goodreads)

 Have you read "Solitaire"?


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