A book review for parents
This drama by Natasha Friend is published by Milkweed Editions and is written for kids ages 12 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Isabelle's mother thinks everything is "fine." The truth is, the death of Isabelle's dad has taken its toll on all of them — and it has manifested itself in Isabelle as an eating disorder. When her mother discovers Isabelle is bulimic, she sends her daughter to an eating disorder and body image therapy group. Isabelle bonds with Ashley Barnum, a girl from her school she has always admired. Rather than helping each other get well, the two binge and purge together. Ultimately, and after some one-on-one therapy, Isabelle realizes she wants to work through her problem, and she takes positive steps toward getting better.
Isabelle's counselor, Trish, is patient and respectful as she helps Isabelle come to terms with her grief and learn to overcome her eating disorder. Isabelle's Aunt Weezy checks in on her and her mother frequently.
Other Belief Systems
Isabelle and her sister decide to celebrate Hanukkah — something they haven't done since their father died. At first, their mother is chagrined, but it proves to help her break through some of her grief.
God's name is used in vain.
Young Adult Winner of the Golden Sower Award, 2007; Milkweed Prize for Children's Literature, 2004
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Isabelle was bulimic for about two years before getting help. For many people, serious, irreparable damage and even death can occur in that amount of time. Parents may want to provide additional information about the devastating consequences of eating disorders. They may also wish to ask their teens, particularly those who have experienced broken homes, the loss of loved ones or other significant life stressors, if they feel they could benefit from talking to someone about their struggles.
- Isabelle's mother's unresolved grief hurt her daughters. Teens who are struggling may need to hear not only that these processes are difficult and lengthy but also that their family is behind them every step of the way.
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.