Aug 202012
 

The Stone Girl by Alyssa B Sheinmel
Source: review copy from Alfred A. Knopf BFYR via Netgalley
Links: Amazon, Goodreads, Author’s website

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 is definitely an “issue” story. Sethie has a serious eating problem, something between bulimia and anorexia that progresses and worsens as the story moves forward. It’s a very slow slide for Sethie, one that she doesn’t really recognize as happening as it does.

Sethie is easy to feel bad for. She has normal body issues in the beginning, that seem to get out of control. She is naive when it comes to guys and her “boyfriend” Shaw. I use quotes because he’s a jerk and while Sethie knows something doesn’t make sense in their relationship, she really doesn’t get it until someone tells her point blank.

The last scene of the book is so sad. Be prepared to cry. It’s touching and poignant, and I won’t spoil it by saying anything else.

This was a very disturbing read. Sethie and her friends are only 17, and yet the book is full of drinking, smoking, sex, and heavier drugs, including a usage of cocaine. There is a severe lack of parents, and an overly casual party atmosphere.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, even if it was uncomfortable, because that’s what it was meant to be. It focussed on eating disorders, and the slow way they can take over your life. It’s sad and yet has a glimmer of hope for everyone.

Challenges read for:

2012 Ebook Challenge

  2 Responses to “The Stone Girl”

  1. Always sad to read about characters getting sucked into a downward spiral, but I’m happy to hear there’s hope. Some books are gratuitous about violence, sex and drugs, but it sounds from your review that the author used these points to highlight the plight of Sethie – her naivety and the slow/ insidious way destructive behaviours can ruin lives.
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  2. Reading your review, it reminded me of this book called But I Love Him, by Amanda Grace. Even though it isn’t about sicknesses, it is about an abusive relationship, and the cycles of one. If you liked this book and how sad it is, I think you would really like But I Love Him.

    Lisa
    Lisa
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