Friday, May 17, 2013

4 stars: Skinny by Donna Cooner

It's day five of Bout of Books! And yay, I finished a book! That feels so good after making hardly any progress yesterday.

"Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies’s head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she’ll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it.

But there is another voice: Ever’s singing voice, which is beautiful but has been silenced by Skinny. Partly in the hopes of trying out for the school musical—and partly to try and save her own life—Ever decides to undergo a risky surgery that may help her lose weight and start over.

With the support of her best friend, Ever begins the uphill battle toward change. But demons, she finds, are not so easy to shake, not even as she sheds pounds. Because Skinny is still around. And Ever will have to confront that voice before she can truly find her own."

Published October 1st 2012 by Point. 

This was not an easy read, and by that I mean that some parts really had me cringing. The story is about 302 pound Ever who decides to get weight loss surgery. For the first half of the book, she's really mopey, even after her surgery. Plus, she has this voice in her head named Skinny who is really cruel to her. Reading this book was like listening to a friend who is never in a good mood and is always negative. Plus, the author put in all the pre-op and post-op details of the surgery, and I just couldn't take it.

But then things changed. Ever got more self esteem, and she became happier and finally started to like herself. That changed the whole tone of the book, and I caught myself tearing up a lot while reading (mainly out of happiness for Ever). It was like reading a completely different book.

It turns out that the author actually went through some of the same experiences as Ever (having a chair break in a crowded room while she was sitting on it). She even got the surgery! That sheds (HA!) a lot of light on how real Ever's negative thoughts and surgery details were. So the writing is very realistic, but it's so hard to read, because it's not an escape from reality, and is instead the journey through a very tough circumstance. 

The end of this book was absolutely brilliant. It reminded me of the movie Penelope, because at first  it seems like the story is very anti-feminist and that all it takes is a man to love you in order to be beautiful and happy. Then it turns out that the character just has to love herself, and that leads to beauty and happiness. YAY! Well done.

I feel like this story actually helped me. A lot of us have a "Skinny"--it's that voice that says our biggest fears and that stops us from doing certain things and enjoying life. While that voice might never go away, we all need to learn to ignore it. I realize that my own "Skinny" might be holding me back too. 

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