The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
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.Publishes in US: Aug 28th 2012
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.
Sethie is obsessed about her weight and her body, and it comes across in this powerful novel about body image, eating disorders and friendship.
This hit home on a personal level because I dealt with eating disorders in high school and to this day I still struggle with body image. I think that Sethie's attitudes towards food and how she saw herself was very realistic.
I really liked Ben in this book, and I respected his mannerisms towards Sethie. I think that he was all that she needed even when she didn't get what she wanted. On the other hand, Shaw irritated me so badly, I just wanted to smack some sense into him. That said, I think that he is like so many guys out there, and I don't at all blame Sethie for seeing what she wanted to in their relationship.
The friendship element of this story also kept me glued to the pages. Jane is the type of friend that someone struggling needs. I admit, she did help along the eating disorder without really realizing how deep Sethie was, and later admits that she was only trying to impress her. How she kept calling and kept making the effort with Sethie really impressed me and I wish that I had someone like that in my corner when I was dealing with eds. It wasn't perfect, we also saw them hurting one another, mistrust, and other issues, but ultimately it came down to a nice friendship.
The only thing that I wished was that it was written in first person, because I didn't feel quite as connected to Sethie as I wanted to, and I think that if it weren't in third person, that would have been achieved. Don't get me wrong, I still felt for her and I think the emotion and the obsession definitely came through, I just think it could've been a bit stronger.
NOTE: Not only does this novel deal with eating disorders, it also has drug use, sex, and language. I recommend to mature teens or adults.
Bottom Line: Gritty and realistic novel about eating disorders that I wish was in 1st person to make even more powerful.
Have you ever had or known someone who struggled with an eating disorder?