30 November 2007

Book Thoughts--Feeling for Bones by Bethany Pierce

This book is about a teenaged girl struggling with anorexia while her family struggles to survive after he father's been fired.

Olivia grew up as a pastor's kid until her father was fired. Now, her father, is disillusioned by the church, her mother is trying to keep a semblence of a happy home on a budget and growing tired of her husband's unemployment, and her sister runs away feeling neglected. And to make things worse, they've been planted in the middle of a small town, and you know what people say about small towns!

Olivia's walls are papered with magazine cutouts of beautiful women--women she desperately desires to model, and women with whom she'll never be able to compete.

But's it's not just about body image, for even when Olivia realizes that her eating habits are a disorder, it's not so easy to fix. Still, every night she counts the calories and fat grams and makes sure everything fits into the food pyramid. The counting soothes her and gives her a sense of control in a helpless situation.

New beginnings. That's what it's really about.

This book is excellently written with real characters that get up and walk around us. While I wouldn't use the word "quirky", each characters has their own quirks that makes you think, "That's just crazy enough to be true!" Pierce gets inside Olivia's head and creates a cast of sympathetic and flawed characters.

It has one of the best conversion scenes I've seen, although I think for me there was still a sense of, wow, so everything's just fixed now? at the end.

Lessons as a writer: watch catch words. Pierce made a habit out of "retorted." Olivia and her sister often retorted, and it began to get on my nerves.

Also, Olivia's narration sometimes felt pedantic. "This is how I felt. This is what I was thinking." I knew that already because Pierce did an excellent job of showing that, so I didn't need that, and those parts sludged for me.

But a good book. If you like Lisa Samson, I think you'll like this book.

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