Author: JJ Johnson
Genre: YA Contemporary/Fictional-Bio
Length: 464 Pages
Release: September 2015
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I expected this to be a very emotional novel and I was right. It follows Jennifer as she deals with Bulimarexia (a combination of bulimia and anorexia) in the 1980s. The story is a novelization of the authors own experiences with an eating disorder, so it makes it even more real. Just be ware that it does deal with very real issues surrounding eating disorders.
One thing that was really interesting about this novel was what Jennifer thought in comparison to reality. She seeks help and is admitted to a hospital for her eating disorder expecting it to be similar to what she's seen on movies. Her expectations are quickly thrown aside as reality sets in and she realizes that things are not always as bright as presented in the movies. It was refreshing to see the harsher side of treatment instead of a sugar coated version.
Jennifer's experiences through the different stages of treatment were very real and very emotional. She makes friends in the hospital who help her along, attends therapy sessions where she traces her eating disorder back to its roots, has family therapy where she realizes that her view of her family has been severely skewed. Her time in the hospital is made even more difficult by a nurse who seems to hate her, but brightened by one who loves her.
There's no focus on weight, other than becoming a healthy size. It never mentions how much Jennifer weighs at any point in her process of recovery, taking the focus away from the numbers and putting it on the feelings and healthy aspect. Toward the beginning Jennifer almost seems like she's walking through a dream and as the novel progresses she begins to wake up. It's a wonderful transformation.
There were some things that I didn't particularly enjoy about this. The first section was told in third person while the rest was in first, which I found rather confusing at first. And while I felt that the raised issues were all very important, it was a bit overwhelming at times, with too much being opened without enough time to explore it. Obviously not everything needs explaining or exploration and some things need to be left open. It just felt like to many hard hitting topics were touched and then left alone, leaving me feeling not quite satisfied.
Overall I found this to be very interesting and definitely eye opening. While I've never been hospitalized for any reason, this seems to present a more realistic version than many popular movies, books, and TV shows.